Let Them Eat Bread: ISIS Extremists In Mosul Iraq Ban Grain Exports, Ensure Food Security
The northern Iraqi province of Ninawa is one of the country’s best producers of cereals and grains. And now the extremist group known as the Islamic State is making good use of the province’s potential; the Islamic State, or IS, group has been in control of large parts of the province since last June, including the provincial capital, Mosul.
The extremist group has issued instructions to local farmers that they should give 10 percent of their total production to the IS group. The IS group classify this payment as a kind of religious tax they describe as “zakat”, a payment that was traditionally a sort of combination donation and tax made to the church.
This is why now, whenever local farmers are involved in harvesting, a member of the IS group or what locals describe as one of the IS group’s “ghosts”, or spies, is present to ensure that the correct percentage of harvest is set aside.
“When there is nobody there, the collection of the IS group’s share is the responsibility of the combine drivers,” Ahmed al-Fattah*, a member of a family that has been farming in this area for decades, told NIQASH. “And the shadow of the IS group is always hanging over us so we don’t trust anyone. That’s why paying a share to the IS group is unavoidable.”