Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Country Implodes: ISIS Pushes Iraq to the Brink

    Saturday, June 21, 2014   No comments

 An evening curfew has been in force in Mosul since last Monday, says Ali. He and his family heard gunshots near their apartment on Tuesday, and when Ali looked outside, he saw a dead body lying on the street. Then the rumors began. "They've occupied all government buildings and the airport," said a friend. "The power station and the water works, too," a neighbor added. There were television reports of banks being robbed, the release of thousands of prisoners and the confiscation of oil wells. A day later, Masoud Ali loaded his family into his car and stepped on the gas. As they drove away, they could see police uniforms and abandoned military vehicles in the ditch. Government troops, most of them Sunnis, had surrendered to the Sunni ISIS fighters.

Ali, like most residents of Mosul, is also a Sunni. He had heard the mayor calling for the citizens of Mosul to defend themselves against ISIS. "But why should I have defended myself?" he asks. "For the Shiite government? For Prime Minister Maliki, who oppresses the Sunnis?" He shakes his head. "The conflict has escalated because people in Iraq don't like the government anymore."


Masoud Ali, a tall, friendly man with a beard and green eyes, was a taxi driver in Mosul until a few days ago. He likes the desert, and he loves his wife and his yellow Nissan. He never paid much attention to politics until now. "Inshallah," he says. Whatever happens is God's will. But then fighters with the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," or ISIS, overran the city of two million.


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