The withdrawal of American troops in Iraq paved the way for the ISIS takeover. Last Tuesday BBC News posted an article about what life in Mosul, Iraq, is like under ISIS.
I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article, but here is one example:
“One day I felt so bored at home that I asked my husband to take me out, even if I had to wear the full khimar [a long, cape-like veil that covers the hair, neck and shoulders completely, but leaves the face clear]. I had not left home since IS took over the city. As I was preparing, he told me I would be forced to put on a niqab [veil for the face]. I was shocked at this and considered staying at home for a moment, but eventually I relented.
We went to a nice restaurant by the river we used to frequent during our engagement. As soon as we sat down, my husband told me that I could finally reveal my face as there was no IS presence and the restaurant was a place for families.
“I was very happy to oblige and so I revealed my face with a large smile. Instantly, the restaurant’s owner came over begging my husband to ask me to hide it again because Islamic State fighters made surprise inspection visits and he would be flogged if they saw me like that.
The article continues:
“I was threatened and harassed [by Sunni extremists] before the capture of Mosul, but I kept on delivering babies for women from all religions and sects. I never differentiate between my patients as I believe everyone deserves equal care.
“However, I had to flee as Mosul fell. I escaped with my body unharmed, but my soul remained where I had left it: at home with my books.
“After moving to Irbil [in Iraq’s Kurdistan region] I received shocking news: Islamic State had confiscated my house and marked it with the letter ‘N’ [for Nasrani – a word used by IS to refer to Christians]. I immediately telephoned my friends in Mosul and begged them to save my books.
“But it was too late. They called back saying my library had been emptied onto the street. However, some of my neighbours were able to rescue some precious books that remain hidden.”
Fouad: “I was arrested by IS. They came to our family home looking for my brother. When they couldn’t find him, they decided to take me to prison instead.
“Then they tortured me. The guy who did it wouldn’t stop unless he got tired. He was edgy all the time and he wouldn’t listen to what his prisoners said. He flogged me with a power cable and also tortured me psychologically.
“When my brother handed himself in, they found out that the accusations against him were false but they still kept me in prison until they judged me well enough to leave.
“They had hit me so hard with the cable that the marks are still visible on my back.”
Daily life in Mosul:
“IS takes a quarter of everyone’s salary as a contribution towards paying for rebuilding the city. People can’t say no because they would face harsh punishments. The group controls everything. Rent is paid to it and the hospitals are for its members’ exclusive use.
“The group has even replaced the imams in the mosques with pro-IS people. Many of us have stopped going to the mosques because those attending are asked to give an oath of allegiance and we hate that.
“Meanwhile, my brother was given 20 lashes just because he didn’t shut his shop during prayer time – as if you can just impose religion by force!”
I don’t have an answer–I don’t want American troops there–this is a civil war and we need to stay out of it. However, the rise of ISIS is the result of letting Prime Minister Maliki purge the Iraqi government and army of Sunni Muslims. When President Obama allowed him to do this, we paved the way for what is happening now. The possible answer is to arm the Kurds directly–not go through Baghdad. Meanwhile, the people of Iraq suffer.