July 1, 2015
In late June, images made their way around the world of four men as they were locked in a car and killed with a rocket-propelled grenade. They showed seven men, chained together with explosive necklaces, as they were blown up. And they provided evidence that five men had been locked in a metal cage and lowered into the water to drown. As we learned last week, 16 men in total were murdered in these brutal ways. We know this because the executioners with the group calling itself “Islamic State” wanted to film their victims as they were dying.
Any reporter who dared to enter Raqqa to investigate the situation there would be in the kind of mortal danger that no reputable news organization can justify. Those who go there anyway, like former German lawmaker and author Jürgen Todenhöfer — whose new book “Inside IS – 10 Days in the ‘Islamic State'” is currently at the top of the SPIEGEL non-fiction bestseller list — are at the mercy of their hosts and are only permitted to ask subservient questions. But there are other paths into the sinister realm, access through back doors and the underground. For example, not all telecommunications lines have been disconnected yet, and it is sometimes still possible to communicate by phone, Skype or text message.
Most importantly, there are groups of committed people who have made a point of documenting all IS activities, both virtual and tangible. There is opposition in the occupied areas, and there are courageous individuals who are determined, despite danger to life and limb, to keep the hope of a different life alive and, in the meantime, to use sound, images and text to record everyday life under IS. It is because of these people that SPIEGEL is able to provide the insights into daily life under IS that are described in this article.
https://christianmartyrwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/little-girl-crying-39-resized.jpg?w=300&h=200 From the Christian Martyr Files
We were able to establish contact with people in Mosul and Raqqa — in other words, people living inside the Islamic State. We remained in contact with them on a regular basis. Some kept diaries for us, and we compared their statements with the accounts of people who have managed to escape the terror zone, with video material and with documents.
https://christianmartyrwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/isis-child-victum.jpg?w=744 From the Christian martyr files
This article is based on conversations with IS militants captured and taken prisoner by Kurdish troops. We also listened to the accounts of Yazidi women in various refugee camps in Kurdish territory who had been kidnapped and enslaved by IS militants. We were able to speak with political activists with the campaign Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, who are risking their lives by publishing material from Raqqa and nearby villages.
We pursued this project in the knowledge that all information about IS is subject to considerable skepticism. When it came to documents that allegedly originated with IS itself, SPIEGEL consulted with experts from the London-based Quilliam Foundation and the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia to evaluate their quality and authenticity. Quite a few documents were eliminated as fakes.
From the Christian Mrtyr files
Surviving in Mosul, Iraq
When the Islamic State arrived in Mosul, many thought they would bring order to the Iraqi city. Instead, every aspect of life has become suffocated in the flood of prohibitions. The regime celebrates its power with draconian punishments and stages public executions with the sword like some everyday banality.
It is difficult for Ibrahim Aziz (whose name, like those of the Yazidis and the citizen journalist from Raqqa described in the following sections, has been changed) to frame this one sentence. Today, in the 12th month since IS seized power here with its black terror, it sounds so absurd, naïve and ambiguous. This is the sentence: “My wife and I, we welcomed the arrival of the Islamic State in Mosul.”
How about $500 million more to fund ISIS, Obama?
Aziz is a middle-aged technician, a family guy and a man of numbers, with only a moderate interest in politics. He has spent most of his life in Mosul, where he grew up during the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. But then he was reluctantly forced to learn to live with anarchy during the 12 years that have passed since the international coalition arrived. He had to come to terms with the everyday crime that spread across Iraq as the country disintegrated, with the muggings, blackmail and abductions, and the seemingly random murders in the streets of his city, which the police treated with indifference and severely tested Aziz’s faith.
The perpetual chaos, and the fear that a stray bullet or the whim of a heavily armed criminal could change his or his wife’s life forever demoralized Aziz over the years and transformed the murderous hordes of the Islamic State in June of last year into the lesser evil. Aziz ultimately welcomed them into his city.
He and his wife had followed what had happened in Syria, and how the troops of Islamic State had behaved in the western part of the Nineveh Governorate as they advanced on Mosul, but they were so desperate that they ignored the barbarism and were determined to see only the supposedly positive aspects of IS: the new order they brought with them, and the peace and quiet they had sorely missed. Do you understand? Aziz asks. He says that he hopes this is a yearning that the Germans are not entirely unfamiliar with — the Germans, who once cheered and welcomed Hitler and his genocidal regime.
ISIS Beheads Four Christian Children in Iraq New FearChildren in Iraq
Today, after a year of living under the rules of Islamist tyrants, these hopes seem deeply grotesque to Aziz and his wife. Although chaos no longer prevails in the streets of the city, it has not been replaced by confidence but by a new fear. This time the fear is omnipresent, even during brief, insignificant encounters, on the street, in a café or while shopping.
Women to be sold as sex slaves
“I constantly wonder who I can say what to, who I can trust and how much,” Aziz writes. He asks himself questions like: Who is an informer? Who is trying to get in with the new rulers? Who believes he can settle old scores by offering his services as an informer, and passing on information about actions and opinions that are suddenly heretical and therefore subject to punishment? Things that were part of everyday life until recently are now on a long, absurd list of prohibitions set up by the Islamic State.
Displaced families from the minority Yazidi sect fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar arrive at Dohuk province, Aug. 4, 2014
Smoking is prohibited. Drinking alcohol is prohibited. Wearing hair gel is prohibited. Portraits on T-shirts and other articles of clothing are prohibited, whether they are of the Prophet Mohammed, Kurt Cobain or Donald Duck. Men are not allowed to be clean-shaven, while women are required to wear the niqab, the black face veil that covers everything but the eyes. Now secular music is also prohibited.
Being in favor of democracy and free elections is prohibited. Treating Shiites as orthodox Muslims and Yazidis as human beings is prohibited. The fewer Shiites and Yazidis that exist, the better it is for the world of the Islamic State. The same applies to Christians and Jews, who must either convert or pay protection money. Anyone who refuses to comply is killed. It is a civic duty to advocate multiple genocide in the new Islamic State, which aims to be a country of Sunni Muslims.
Aziz is forced to live in this impossible world, and he is still trying to get his bearings. Each day, he wonders how to behave to avoid ending up in a prison cell or before a Sharia court. What do you do, for example, when you walk around a corner and enter one of the city’s squares, where you encounter an executioner who is about to behead a kneeling victim? How are you supposed to react as a witness to a public execution?
Is it safe to simply leave? Or do you have to stay? Is it enough to stay, or do you have to watch? And is it enough to watch, or will you eventually be forced to chime in with the cheers of the executioner and his helpers? When you see the victim’s head lying on the street, must you praise God and his greatness, even if every fiber in your own body is screaming with horror at what you are seeing?
Apparently public executions take place daily in the Islamic State. They are primarily a demonstration of power and a deterrent. It would be logical to announce such executions, as a way of advertising the Islamic State, perhaps on the local radio station in Mosul, which normally airs nothing but tedious religious sermons and Islamist propaganda. But this doesn’t happen.
Executions in Mosul happen suddenly on public squares, in parks and in the streets. The routine manner in which they are performed is calculated, an expression of the contempt the Islamic State has for political enemies and religious sinners. In fact, executions conducted by IS are not meant to be a spectacle but rather a daily performance, something entirely banal, like a car accident during morning rush hour.
Often the executioner, his helpers and the victim arrive in an ordinary pickup truck. The vehicle stops, the perpetrators get out, and sometimes one of them is carrying a microphone connected to the stereo system or a loudspeaker mounted on the truck bed. The executioner is holding a sword.
He can’t count very well, can he?
The helpers drag the victim into the desired position and force him to his knees. The chin is pushed toward the chest so that the neck is exposed. The verdict is read quickly and the executioner raises his sword.
Executed prisoners–displayed on crosses
How do you cope with situations like this? Ibrahim Aziz has made a pragmatic decision. He tries to avoid the large squares in his city, so as to at least steer clear of these impositions. But there are plenty of others that he and the residents of Mosul cannot avoid quite as easily.
Wounded IS militants are given preferential treatment in hospitals, where reliable Islamists have been placed in charge. The same holds true of government offices, where loyalty to the new rulers is more important than competency.
Beheading innocent Ethiopian Christians
In some cases, the Islamists have increased salaries to keep experts in their jobs, at the city’s waterworks, for example, and yet the drinking water supply has not improved. There is only running water two or three days a week, there are constant power outages, gasoline is scarce and expensive, and basic food prices have increased significantly.
Masonic symbol on dead ISIS terrorist
At the city’s university, all departments that supposedly contradict Sharia were dissolved, including philosophy, art, music, law and political science. Many construction projects have come to a standstill because no one is being paid anymore. The city no longer has a mobile phone network. Anyone looking for reception has to drive to the city’s outskirts and hope for the best. For now, at least, it is still possible to access the Internet.
Members of the Hisbah morality police patrol the streets, driving their vehicles through neighborhoods to monitor whether shops are closed during prayer times, men are bearded, women are modestly dressed, and whether they are accompanied by a male relative or their husband. Like the armed militants at the city’s countless checkpoints, they are constantly checking mobile phones and digging through Facebook entries and text messages.
https://shariaunveiled.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/baby-jihad-3.jpg?w=627&h=471 And Daddy only gave us a .22
Anyone wishing to leave the city, even temporarily for a week or two, perhaps for a hospital stay or to attend a family celebration in Erbil or Baghdad, must give his house or his car, provided it is sufficiently valuable, as a deposit, or he must furnish the name of someone else who can do it for him.
Desire for Legitimation
Alleged or actual violations of the new rules of behavior lead to a fine at best, for which a receipt is always issued. In the worst case, those who have been warned are hauled before a judge, who imposes the punishment he believes is required under Sharia: a caning, the whip or the sword.
qhttps://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?=tbn:ANd9GcQrPvHHhw8I2eCA2kXnRUo47Th4VtJmwIxnHzKhLvNrCd-RSYI Yet another crucified Christian
This reign of terror is one of the columns supporting the power of the Islamic State. There is a second column, one that isn’t as crude and is in fact carefully carved, essentially the new rulers’ house regulations. The new “caliphate,” the godly state, also aims to be social and just in a very unique way. It’s a state based on rules meant to be understandable for anyone.
The desire for legitimation constantly leads to new documents, regulations and decrees, which leave the government offices and ministries on letterhead topped with the black flag of IS. Civilians and militants alike are exposed to a veritable flood of these documents. The Islamists’ regulatory mania is in no way inferior to their bloodlust.
A submission to the presidential committee of the Islamic State reads: “The recording and dissemination of scenes, or the publication of videos, in which IS soldiers behead or slaughter their enemies, in or outside of battle, in all official and unofficial channels or on private websites is prohibited. Except with the permission of the presidential committee. Those who do not comply will be brought to justice. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.”
Rules for the Treatment of Slaves
A document was found on a Twitter account that apparently regulates pressing questions on the treatment of female Yazidi sex slaves. The document was compiled by the Fatwa department of the Islamic State, the office that investigates controversial religious questions and declares enemies to be outlaws. It was published last fall by the IS’s publishing house, the Al-Himma Library.
The document consists of 27 questions and answers that address the proper religious treatment of sex slaves.
Question four reads: Is it permitted to have sex with a female prisoner who is an infidel? The answer reads: It is permissible to have sex with this type of prisoner.
Question five: Are you permitted to have sex with her as soon as you own her? Answer: It is permitted if she is still a virgin. If this is not the case, her uterus must be cleaned first.
Question eight: If two men buy a prisoner together, can they both have sex with her? Answer: No. Only the man who completely owns the prisoner may have sex with her. One of the men must transfer his ownership share to the other.
Question 10: What happens if the prisoner’s owner dies? Answer: She is distributed with the rest of his property.
Question 13: Is it permitted to have sex with a slave before she enters puberty? Answer: It is permitted if she is capable of doing so. If not, she may be used without intercourse.
A letter dated July 17, 2014 is addressed to the remaining Christians in Mosul. The letter is an ultimatum, giving the Christians two days to leave the city. After that, the document reads, “only the sword will stand between them and us.”
A document from Aleppo Province in Syria lists crimes and the corresponding punishments that will apply in the future. Blasphemy: death. Blaspheming against the Prophet Mohammed: death, even if the offender repents. Blaspheming against Islam: death. Homosexuality: Death, for both men. Stealing: amputation of one hand. Drinking alcohol: 80 lashes. Slander: 80 lashes. Spying in the service of infidels: death. Renunciation of Islam: death. Robbery: If robbery and murder are committed, death by crucifixion. If only robbery is committed, amputation of the right hand and the left foot.
On Jan. 8, 2015, a decree was signed that defines the conditions for the fighters of competing Islamist groups like the al-Nusra Front who are willing to repent: The individual must confess that he has fallen away from the true faith, submit to religious education, relinquish all information, hand over all weapons and, following military training, return to the front.
An ordinance dated Dec. 14, 2014, bans the use of devices made by computer manufacturer Apple. The ban is directed at fighters and applies to mobile phones and tablets, and is deemed necessary “for security reasons.” Militants are also instructed to deactivate the GPS function on devices from other manufacturers. Technicians in the individual districts who can do this are listed.
School education was also restructured. “Questions are not allowed on polytheism, democracy, the principles of nationalism and racism, usury and interest, pseudo-historic events and boundaries between countries, which contradict Sharia. This directive is binding. Anyone who violates it will be brought to justice.”
The new rule for garbage collection reads: “Garbage must be placed onto the street after evening prayers in a barrel, bucket or large, black plastic bag. The costs of garbage collection are 2,000 dinar a month per household, and 5,000 dinar per business. Delinquent payers will be brought to justice. In addition, livestock may not be kept within city limits. If this does occur, the livestock will be confiscated.”
A Droning Litany of Killings
The most extraordinary documents are probably the terrorist statements of account, which are published annually to convince fans, fighters and financiers of the Islamic State’s fervor and effectiveness. These reports, inventories of terror, primarily describe the civil war against the Shiites. The latest, a 410-page report, is organized by province and lists murders, attacks and assassinations in chronological order.
For readers with little time on their hands, the report begins with a full-page graphic that celebrates IS’s deeds in the last 12 months: 615 attacks with car bombs, of which 78 were carried out by suicide attackers. One-hundred-sixty attacks with explosive belts. Fourteen attacks with motorcycle bombs. Some 4,465 other bomb attacks. Three-hundred-thirty-six incidents in which buildings were stormed. Some 1,083 murders with small arms or thrusting weapons.
Six-hundred-seven artillery attacks. A full 1,015 attacks with explosive charges or through arson. It lists 30 attacks on checkpoints as well as 1,047 sniper operations. And, finally, control of eight cities through the murder of leading opposition politicians.
The details are provided in the ensuing pages. For the Nineveh Governorate, of which Mosul is the capital, the report includes 13 pages of murders and attacks for the weeks between May 11 and June 9, 2013. It is a droning litany of killings.
Detonation of explosives in a Shiite army car in the Rabia region. Detonation in front of the house of a criminal working for the Shiite army in the Arabi/Mosul neighborhood. Detonation of explosives in a Hummer military vehicle in the Tahrir/Mosul neighborhood. Detonation of explosives against a convoy of Shiite foot soldiers. Detonation of explosives in the car of a disloyal guard unit. Murder of a criminal officer working for the Shiite police with firearms. Attack with various weapons on the headquarters of the Shiite police in the village of Sheikh Hamad.
Detonation, murder, detonation.
Attacks and murders, proudly proclaimed, sometimes a dozen on a single day. At the end of the 30th day of a single month, the report documents exactly 300 attacks, with many more victims.
This is the world of the Islamic State, the world in which Ibrahim Aziz and about 10 million other men, women and children now live.
Months ago, Aziz sent his wife and children to Erbil in Kurdish territory. He remained in Mosul to watch the house and the family car. He has no money, his savings are almost gone, and he has sold all the furniture in the house. His only option now is to wait for what he expects will happen one day: the battle for Mosul.
The Slaves of Sinjar
IS believes that the Yazidis have no right to exist. Their women are abducted and abused by the bearded members of the self-proclaimed master race. There is already plenty of material for future war crimes trials.
The women are young and old, and they sit in tents, refugee camps and on blankets. They sit on the bare floor in half-finished new buildings. When the front got closer and closer at the end of last year, they found accommodation with friends and relatives or, for lack of alternatives, they became squatters, taking up residence in abandoned buildings together with their parents and children.
The women, who number in the hundreds, are not related to each other. They come from different backgrounds, but one experience unites them all: They were hostages of the Islamic State. They were all abducted because they are Yazidis. They were debased and treated as merchandise that can be bought and sold, traded and abused at a whim.
Many of them looked on as their fathers, husbands and brothers were murdered when their settlements were attacked, and many have no idea what happened to their sisters and mothers after they were separated from them. Perhaps they are dead, perhaps they were sold to the Syrian part of the Islamic State, or perhaps they are not far away, merely on the other side of a front that is only a two-hour drive away.
Many of the women are unwilling to talk about what happened to them, understandably so. But a few are prepared to speak, because they believe their silence would constitute yet another victory for their tormentors.
One of these women, Havin Ali, is in her early 20s, with dark eyes and a steady voice. She now lives as a refugee in a half-finished house on the outskirts of Dohuk. Its owners have fled. Steel reinforcement mats jut from concrete walls, there is no electricity or running water, and there are no windows. They use plastic tarps to protect against the heat of the day.
Havin, who is now sitting with her family, spent more than three weeks in the “caliphate.” One night, she managed to escape through a broken window in the house of the man who had bought her.
The village where Havin grew up is on the edge of the Sinjar Mountains. The IS militants, clad in black, captured the village late last year, after a short battle between unevenly matched forces, with the men from the village defending themselves against a superior adversary with their simple rifles. When the killing had ended, Havin and her sisters were dragged from the house and pushed onto a bus that already contained many women and girls. The destination was a sports club in Mosul, located near the Baghdad Hotel.
The Islamic State was using it as an interim storage facility for the new women, the new merchandise. Havin stayed there with her sister for seven days and nights, in a large building with hundreds of other women. The air was poor, as was the food, but the uncertainty was even worse. No one told them why they were there or what would happen to them. Few people spoke with them. They were treated like livestock.
At the end of the first week, they were loaded onto buses again and taken to a spacious wedding banquet hall called the “Galaxy,” also in Mosul. IS had repurposed it into a slave market. In the two-story building, Havin once again found herself among hundreds of women who were being closely guarded by IS militants.
“The very young girls were always sold quickly,” Havin recalls. Militants pulled them out of the crowd, seemingly at random, and dragged them into another room. Some men settled for one woman while other bought several. Two men bought 80 women and girls at once and loaded them into two buses they had brought along. There was a rumor that they were headed for the Syrian section of the Islamic State, to yet another slave market or a brothel.
When the rumor began to spread, says Havin, one girl committed suicide with a shard of glass. She believes that only one woman managed to escape this prison. She told the guards that she was pregnant, and she was examined by female doctors, who confirmed that she was. Then she was taken, but no one knew where.
On her fourth day in the “Galaxy,” it was Havin’s turn. A guard grabbed Havin and took her into an adjoining room, where she was placed on display. Men looked at her, some with amusement and some lustfully. A bearded, middle-aged man bought her, but Havin was never told what the purchase price was. The man had intended her as a present for one of his sons, and she was to be married to him. Havin says that the man who bought her treated her decently, apparently to avoid damaging the gift for his son.
In her owner’s household, Havin was ordered to help out in the kitchen, with cooking and in the courtyard. She worked alongside other women who were part of the family but were dismissive and spoke with her as little as possible. Havin was the only one who was made to walk barefoot outside the house, to prevent her from running away. The ground outside the house was covered in brambles and coarse gravel.
Havin managed to flee after about three weeks, before the wedding preparations were complete and before she was made to convert to Islam. One night, while everyone was sleeping, she squeezed through a broken window and ran northward, still barefoot. She ran and hobbled through the night for hours until, exhausted, she encountered an army patrol. It was a Yazidi unit.
Now she is sitting in this house, in this room. But both her sister and her younger brother are still missing. The family survives on relief supplies that are distributed in a nearby refugee camp. When asked what she wants for the future, she replies, “The return of my sister and brother. And the opportunity for revenge.”
Documenters of the Slaughter
A group of determined resistance fighters are risking their lives to film and photograph IS atrocities in Raqqa. The rebels’ worst enemies are female agents, because all veiled women look the same.
The first video, filmed with a mobile phone camera, depicts a large screen in Raqqa, on an evening in February. On the screen, larger-than-life, lurching and burning to death, is Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. The mobile phone video shows the outlines of a cheering crowd in front of the screen.
The second video, 41 seconds long, depicts a woman dressed in black. She is kneeling on the street, at an intersection, with her hands tied behind her back, surrounded by armed men. A few passersby are standing in the background, and an armed man is walking in a circle, looking bored.
There are two men standing directly behind the woman: her judge and her executioner. The judge praises Allah and declares that the death of this woman, who has deceived her husband, is God’s will. When the judge is finished speaking, the executioner raises his pistol and shouts “Allahu akbar!” In the next second, the woman is shot in the head.
There are additional videos that depict other executions, along with ordinary street scenes from Raqqa and the surrounding towns. All of this is forbidden and punishable by death. The videos were recorded with mobile phones because they are easily concealed in the sleeve of a jacket or elsewhere. Sometimes a smartphone was also placed in a box with a small hole in it, which seemed to have been carelessly left on the street.
The video quality is mediocre. Sometimes the lens is covered with material or the tip of a finger, and the films certainly cannot compete with those made by al-Furqan Media, the PR wing of the Islamic State. This is not surprising, as they were not produced by someone working calmly and then professionally edited. Instead, they were filmed hectically and under cover by courageous people who were risking their lives and call themselves citizen journalists. They deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the Scholls, the famous siblings and college students in Munich who were executed during World War II for their resistance against Hitler and the Nazis. They have made it their mission to break the media monopoly of a dictatorial regime, whatever the cost.
The videos, photos and reports are posted on a website with the title “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.” The site has been online for about a year and is operated by a dozen young men, mostly students. They are risking their lives given that the Islamic State has the sole copyright on execution videos, and violations are punished with the sword.
One of the website’s founders, who uses the pseudonym Abu Mohammed, was in southern Turkey in March. He had fled from Raqqa because he feared he would be identified by Islamic State hackers. “They sent us emails under false names, offered to work for us as volunteers and supposedly wanted to provide videos for our site,” he says. The emails were contaminated with Trojan viruses designed to collect information about the activists’ whereabouts. “Hackers from Canada who are working with us discovered the viruses during routine scans,” says Abu Mohammed.
‘Enemy of God’
Mohammed, who is in his late 20s, is a former student who had aspirations to become an engineer. Now he’s a resistance fighter in exile, allegedly on the Islamic State’s most wanted list in Raqqa, and he can claim that his organization was officially condemned as an “enemy of God” in three Friday sermons in Raqqa mosques.
Abu Mohammed began his political work more than a year ago, as an outraged, angry amateur. A self-taught man, he had a lot to learn in the past 14 months. At first, he and his friends posted their videos and images on Facebook and Twitter, after they had been saved on the memory chips of their mobile phones. This saved time, but it also increased the risk to an unreasonable level, as they soon learned.
One of their fellow activists, Motaz Billah, was captured only a month after the campaign began. During a search at a checkpoint, militants found incriminating material on Billah’s mobile phone. Three days after the arrest, the message that he had been publicly executed — shot to death — appeared on his Facebook account. His murderers posted the images on the Internet in late April.
Since the tragedy, Abu Mohammed and his activists have become more cautious and their lives more complicated. They move around the city restlessly, changing their accommodations every few days. They have also changed the way they work. The fact that Islamic State has publicly condemned them has brought them new helpers, and they can now rely on a network of sympathizers who take photographs and record videos. They have never met in person, and the helpers have no idea who the key members of the organization are. The group operates very similarly to criminal hacker gangs. They only know each other through pseudonyms, and they meet online in a closed forum that is only accessible and known to invited members.
In the last 12 months, these precautions have allowed them to evade the hackers and hunters of Islamic State, who are constantly combing through buildings where they believe activists are staying.
According to Abu Mohammed, the al-Khansa Brigades are even more problematic. The all-female units are part of the morality police, and because their members wear the Niqab, like all women in the Islamic State, they can operate essentially incognito, so that one of them could be standing undetected next to one of Abu Mohammed’s friends while he is filming. “This is really a big problem for us,” he says.
The meeting with Abu Mohammed was supposed to take place in Gaziantep, a Turkish city near the Syrian border, but on the previous evening he sent a text message stating he wanted to meet in a different city. He had received warnings from moderate Sunnis that Islamic State killers were searching for him in Gaziantep.
After the meeting, Abu Mohammed disappeared into the alleyways of the old city. He said he would spend at least one night at a friend’s house. He sounded relaxed. Like his mortal enemies, he has faith in God, and he says that whatever happens, it is in the hands of Allah.
There might still be those under the delusion that Islam is a “religion of peace.” It is not. It never has been. “Peaceful Islam” is an aberration of “true” Islam. Less than 3% of Islam belongs to the moderate sects, and they are rapidly being obliterated, if the slaughters being documented by the brave souls recorded in this Spiegel article can be multiplied by the hundreds–or even thousands–that have no recording equipment and must watch helplessly as innocent neighbors and ethnic minorities are slaughtered by these pagan savages.
Islam IS a pagan cult–it is NOT a religion. This “allahg” is an idol, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph. It has been proved, verified and documented historically and by evidence found in their own aechelogical and anthropological records. Mohammed was not a prophet, but a man seized by hallucinations and more than likely demon possessed. Jesus warned of those who would proclaim themselves false prophets, and said “By their fruits you shall know them. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit, nor a good tree bear rotten fruit.” Mohammed’s fruit is evil indeed.
They kill themselves as often as they kill “infidels”, and the Middle East has been a slaughterhouse, not a haven of peace, since Mohammed first came on the scene. Mohammed himself made sure of that. He first slaughtered the Jews who would not bow to his false god, and them murdered his own countrymen who refused to accept the head idol of the 356 worshiped at Mecca. He then set forth in a bloodbath to “unite” all Arabs. Eventually, his successors destroyed much of Christian civilization, and lied about their methods later, making themselves the hapless victims of Western oppression.
The Origin of ISIS:
“As exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” it was stated explicitly that (emphasis added):
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
It will be interesting to see if the New York Times itself picks up its affiliate’s story, or if the US State Department, reportedly aware that ISIS funds are being routed through America, makes a comment on this recent development. What is more likely, however, is that the “War on Terror” charade will continue, with the US propping up ISIS, using it both as impetus to funnel more cash and weapons into the region that will inevitably – and intentionally – end up in ISIS’ hands, or as an excuse to intervene militarily in Syria’s conflict more directly..
Thus, it is clear, that from 2007 where the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel openly conspired to stand up, fund, and arm a terrorist army to fight a proxy war against Syria and Iran, to 2015 where this army has finally manifested itself as the “Islamic State” complete with funding, arms, and fighters streaming in from NATO members. [NOTE: Britain was complicit also, from my understanding.]
America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was funded for years by wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, three U.S. allies that have dual agendas in the war on terror.
The extremist group that is threatening the existence of the Iraqi state was built and grown for years with the help of elite donors from American supposed allies in the Persian Gulf region. There, the threat of Iran, Assad, and the Sunni-Shiite sectarian war trumps the U.S. goal of stability and moderation in the region.
It’s an ironic twist, especially for donors in Kuwait (who, to be fair, back a wide variety of militias). ISIS has aligned itself with remnants of the Baathist regime once led by Saddam Hussein. Back in 1990, the U.S. attacked Iraq in order to liberate Kuwait from Hussein’s clutches. Now Kuwait is helping the rise of his successors.
As ISIS takes over town after town in Iraq, they are acquiring money and supplies including American made vehicles, arms, and ammunition. The group reportedly scored $430 million this week when they looted the main bank in Mosul. They reportedly now have a stream of steady income sources, including from selling oil in the Northern Syrian regions they control, sometimes directly to the Assad regime.
But in the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime.
“Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been publicly accusing Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS for months. Several reports have detailed how private Gulf funding to various Syrian rebel groups has splintered the Syrian opposition and paved the way for the rise of groups like ISIS and others.
“The U.S. has made the case as strongly as they can to regional countries, including Kuwait. But ultimately when you take a hands off, leading from behind approach to things, people don’t take you seriously and they take matters into their own hands.”
Gulf donors support ISIS, the Syrian branch of al Qaeda called the al Nusrah Front, and other Islamic groups fighting on the ground in Syria because they feel an obligation to protect Sunnis suffering under the atrocities of the Assad regime. Many of these backers don’t trust or like the American backed moderate opposition, which the West has refused to provide significant arms to.
Under significant U.S. pressure, the Arab Gulf governments have belatedly been cracking down on funding to Sunni extremist groups, but Gulf regimes are also under domestic pressure to fight in what many Sunnis see as an unavoidable Shiite-Sunni regional war that is only getting worse by the day.
“ISIS is part of the Sunni forces that are fighting Shia forces in this regional sectarian conflict. They are in an existential battle with both the (Iranian aligned) Maliki government and the Assad regime,” said Tabler. “The U.S. has made the case as strongly as they can to regional countries, including Kuwait. But ultimately when you take a hands off, leading from behind approach to things, people don’t take you seriously and they take matters into their own hands.”
Donors in Kuwait, the Sunni majority Kingdom on Iraq’s border, have taken advantage of Kuwait’s weak financial rules to channel hundreds of millions of dollars to a host of Syrian rebel brigades, according to a December 2013 report by The Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank that receives some funding from the Qatari government.
“Over the last two and a half years, Kuwait has emerged as a financing and organizational hub for charities and individuals supporting Syria’s myriad rebel groups,” the report said. “Today, there is evidence that Kuwaiti donors have backed rebels who have committed atrocities and who are either directly linked to al-Qa’ida or cooperate with its affiliated brigades on the ground.”
Kuwaiti donors collect funds from donors in other Arab Gulf countries and the money often travels through Turkey or Jordan before reaching its Syrian destination, the report said. The governments of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have passed laws to curb the flow of illicit funds, but many donors still operate out in the open. The Brookings paper argues the U.S. government needs to do more.
“The U.S. Treasury is aware of this activity and has expressed concern about this flow of private financing. But Western diplomats’ and officials’ general response has been a collective shrug,” the report states.
When confronted with the problem, Gulf leaders often justify allowing their Salafi constituents to fund Syrian extremist groups by pointing back to what they see as a failed U.S. policy in Syria and a loss of credibility after President Obama reneged on his pledge to strike Assad after the regime used chemical weapons.
That’s what Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of Saudi intelligence since 2012 and former Saudi ambassador in Washington, reportedly told Secretary of State John Kerry when Kerry pressed him on Saudi financing of extremist groups earlier this year. Saudi Arabia has retaken a leadership role in past months guiding help to the Syrian armed rebels, displacing Qatar, which was seen as supporting some of the worst of the worst organizations on the ground.
The rise of ISIS, a group that officially broke with al Qaeda core last year, is devastating for the moderate Syrian opposition, which is now fighting a war on two fronts, severely outmanned and outgunned by both extremist groups and the regime. There is increasing evidence that Assad is working with ISIS to squash the Free Syrian Army.
But the Syrian moderate opposition is also wary of confronting the Arab Gulf states about their support for extremist groups. The rebels are still competing for those governments’ favor and they are dependent on other types of support from Arab Gulf countries. So instead, they blame others—the regimes in Tehran and Damascus, for examples—for ISIS’ rise.
“The Iraqi State of Iraq and the [Sham] received support from Iran and the Syrian intelligence,” said Hassan Hachimi, Head of Political Affairs for the United States and Canada for Syrian National Coalition, at the Brookings U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha this week.
“There are private individuals in the Gulf that do support extremist groups there,” along with other funding sources, countered Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a Syrian-American organization that supports the opposition “[The extremist groups] are the most well-resourced on the ground… If the United States and the international community better resourced [moderate] battalions… then many of the people will take that option instead of the other one.” Josh Rogin, “The Daily Beast”
Does ISIS POSE A DANGER TO THE USA?
‘CHICAGO (WLS) — The ABC7 I-Team looked into ISIS terrorists in the United States- not just a smattering of potentially violent radicals, but terrorists present in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and all 50 states.
In less than two years, ISIS has gone from a terror start-up overseas to what FBI Director James Comey calls a “chaotic spider web” in the US, with young Muslim men being radicalized in Illinois and the 49 other states. Comey suggests ISIS uses social media like a job fair. That’s how he says terrorists snagged three New York men facing ISIS charges.
“Those people exist in every state. I have homegrown violent extremist investigations in every single state. Until a few weeks ago there was 49 states. Alaska had none which I couldn’t quite figure out. But Alaska has now joined the group so we have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states,” Comey said.
In Chicago, there are several current federal cases of teenagers being recruited online by ISIS, buying plane tickets to travel overseas; plans interrupted by U.S. counter-terrorism agents, in some instances at O’Hare Airport.
In New York City , the latest plot – to blow up Coney Island – is a scheme authorities say by three Brooklyn men now in federal custody. According to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday, the men – ages 19, 24 and 30, from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – planned to train with militants in Syria. They also hoped to shoot police officers, FBI agents or military members in the US and even talked of assassinating President Obama, according to the complaint.
Prosecutors say they were lured by ISIS, a pitch Comey said is common.
“Slick propaganda through social media that goes like this: ‘Troubled soul, come to the caliphate, you will live a life of glory, these are the apocalyptic end times, you will find a life of meaning here fighting for our so-called caliphate and if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are.’ That is a message that goes out to troubled souls everywhere,” Comey said.
“There are vultures on social media who try to take advantage of our children,” said Omer Mozaffar, a Loyola University Muslim chaplain.
Even as terrorists use social media to recruit, federal investigators also use it to catch suspected terrorists. In the New York case, one of the suspects is said to have posted threats against President Obama on an overseas website friendly to ISIS. Late Wednesday afternoon he and the two accomplices were all ordered held without bond.’
From Pam Geller:
The Islamic state kidnapped 90 Christian Women and children in Syria.
The Islamic State group has destroyed churches and Christian shrines in Syria, and demanded that Christians living under its rule pay a tax known as jizya
Much of Hassakeh is divided between Kurdish and IS control.
Fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have been on the offensive in the province in recent days.
They have taken 24 villages and hamlets as part of an operation to try to recapture the town of Tal Hamis and surrounding areas.
Tal Hamis lies to the east of the villages taken by IS on Tuesday.
YPG forces have also been on the offensive in Raqa province, which neighbours Hassakeh, seizing 19 villages as they advance following their recapture of the strategic border town of Kobane last month.
The Kurdish forces have been backed by US-led air strikes launched by the international coalition fighting IS.
The Observatory said the coalition carried out a series of strikes around Tal Hamis on Tuesday that killed 14 IS members.
Earlier this month Islamic State released a video purporting to show the militant group beheading 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya.
The video showed ISIS fighters dressed head to toe in black, marching the captives, all wearing orange jumpsuits, to a beach.
The 21 men were forced onto their knees before being beheaded by the militants.