Four Shocking Truths about ISIS
If you think you’ve heard all the worst horrors about the Islamic State, think again.
There are other shocking truths that few outside of their controlled territories know about, some of which will have major consequences for American investors and the entire world.
Consider my friend Hamid, a 32-year-old Sunni Muslim, who teaches engineering in Mosul, the largest city in the world that’s controlled by the Islamic State.
I first met Hamid online in the summer of 2009, exactly five years before the Islamic State conquered his city in 2014.
He and I had just joined a Web platform for exchanging foreign languages and culture, and we talked via Skype regularly. In the following year, I helped him apply online for a Master’s program at a German university. But he missed getting in by a hair and eventually decided instead to settle down in Mosul, get married and start a family.
But now, with ISIS in control, he’s trapped. No one is allowed to leave. He can’t even get his sick father out of town for urgently needed surgery. And the horrors of life in Mosul under the Islamic State are well known:
Male adulterers are thrown from high buildings; females, stoned to death.
A widowed and impoverished mother of four recently told the Guardian she had her hand chopped off for stealing.
Even small infractions like smoking cigarettes are punished by public floggings.
Christianity is punishable by death. Thousands belonging to religious minorities have been raped and massacred. Even children in Mosul have been subjected to the same fate.
But what’s not well known is the environment under Islamic State that Hamid has been describing to me in recent months. In an ironic twist of fate, his stories can be even more frightening than some of the horrors …
The Islamic State as a Country
The Islamic State is not just a global revolutionary movement. It’s a country. It has a functional government, complete with Ministries of Education, Culture, Justice, Transportation, Energy and more.
|Mosul, despite Islamic State rule, remains a bustling metropolis on the Tigris River with Iraq’s second largest university.|
Mosul, which has been controlled by the Islamic State since June 10, 2014, is a modern, bustling metropolis larger than Philadelphia.
And here’s what’s so worrisome: Despite some grumbling and resistance, life in Mosul has taken on all the trappings of a new normal — on the streets and outdoor cafes; in schools, offices and factories.
Yes, in the early days of the Islamic State’s conquest last year, grandiose displays of military prowess and violence dominated city life. But now those are mostly gone and street life has taken on an air of regularity, even calm.
Its university, where Hamid teaches, remains one of the largest educational centers in the Middle East.
|Electronic Engineering College, Mosul, Iraq.|
Last year, the Islamic State authorities shut it down and Hamid was temporarily out of work. But a few months later, they reopened it with thoroughly revised Islamic curriculums for the College of Medicine, College of Sciences, College of Electronic Engineering, College of Arts, College of Law, College of Administration and Economy, and many more.
|All schools in Mosul were closed for two quarters and then reopened with an extremist revolutionary curriculum.|
Despite the hardships, he’s glad to have his job back, relieved his courses continue to exist.
The new government did the same with the city’s public schools, the local government counsels and departments, offices of private companies, and factories — brutally and consistently imposing an extremist revolutionary ideology.
Nevertheless, men drive to work in the morning. They go home to their families in the evening. They go to mosque on Friday. And they take their children to weekend outings by the Tigris River.
People struggle with power outages, as they did before the Islamic State. But they grumble less; complaints and resistance are promptly and severely punished. The crime rate has plunged.
Moreover, the majority Sunni population has largely accepted — and some have even welcomed — the new order.
This isn’t just Hamid’s version of the on-the-ground reality. It’s also corroborated by other sources.
One Mosul resident reports that “ISIS, with all its brutality, is more honest and merciful than the Shia government in Baghdad and its militias.”
Another told The Wall Street Journal “I have not in 30 years seen Mosul this clean, its streets and markets this orderly.”
Nor is this just a superficial veneer.
It goes to the heart of everything
that’s dead wrong about the
West’s theories, tactics and plans.
Whether the goal is to contain or destroy the Islamic State … whether the West launches one thousand bombing raids or ten thousand … whether Russia is opposed or aligned … and no matter who’s in power in Damascus or Baghdad … until this reality is recognized and addressed, the Islamic State will continue to grow and spread.
It will continue to dig its roots in a country that’s already larger than England.
Its revolutionary zeal will continue to electrify the masses of unemployed, disaffected youth in the Muslim world — and beyond.
That’s the first shocking — and little known — truth about the Islamic State. But there’s more …Its global attacks will continue to spread with increasing sophistication and destructive power.
What Happens When Extremists Take Power
Stephen M. Walt, a professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, explains this phenomenon in Foreign Affairs magazine. He writes …
“To many who have witnessed its brutal tactics and religious extremism, the Islamic State seems uniquely baffling and unusually dangerous. According to its leaders’ own statements, the group wants to eliminate infidels, impose sharia worldwide, and hasten the return of the Prophet. The Islamic State’s foot soldiers have pursued these goals with astonishing cruelty.
“Yet … the Islamic State has also sought to build the rudiments of a genuine state in the territory it controls. It has established clear lines of authority, tax and educational systems, and a sophisticated propaganda operation. … ISIS is a country now.”
The first time in history that terrorists have created a country? Not at all — the second shock to most observers.
“The group” Walt continues, “is strikingly similar in many ways to the regimes that emerged during the Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Cambodian, and Iranian revolutions. These movements were as hostile to prevailing international norms as the Islamic State is, and they also used ruthless violence to eliminate or intimidate rivals and demonstrate their power to a wider world. Read More: http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/four-shocking-truths-isis-74387#.VlS2AnarTRY