The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a jihadist group so intractable that it was actually kicked out of Al Qaeda’s global network this past February, is already boasting in English over its seizure of Iraq’s second-largest city yesterday.
According to Aaron Zelin, a terrorism expert at the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Studies, around mid-afternoon Iraq time ISIS published its latest issue of Islamic State News, the group’s English-language magazine. It’s almost entirely dedicated to ISIS’s successful attack on Mosul, northern Iraq’s major population center and the site of the country’s most important dam. A PDF of the issue can be found here, but be warned: parts of it are incredibly graphic.
The front page trumpets the “Brazen attack on Mosul,” and includes part of a quote from the Sura al-Maidah, the fifth chapter of the Koran. “Safawi” is a derogatory term for Shi’ite Muslims — the Safavid Dynasty established Shi’ism as the state religion of neighbouring Iran in the 16th century. In the headline, the Sunni ISIS essentially accuses Iraq’s Shi’ites and government, led by Shi’ite Nouri al Maliki, of being foreigners and apostates.
Islamic State News doesn’t just deal with the attack on Mosul. ISIS claims that Iraqis applaud the group’s strict adherence to a traditional Islamic legal code. ISIS is prudent in at least feigning sensitivity towards the needs of the people it governs, seeing as the group now controls more territory than several regional governments.
Elsewhere in community outreach, ISIS claims that it’s protecting local farmers from regional chaos, with little apparent irony. According to one source, “barakah” is best understood as “an Islamic definition of productivity,” although it more literally means “blessing.”
Although ISIS is just about as extreme as Jihadist groups get in the Middle East, they are not unsystematic in their view of the world or the region. In addition to their flashy English-language propaganda, ISIS published a 400-page annual report in March of 2014.
H/t Aaron Zelin. Images used with permission.
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