Can IS Keep Control of Mosul?

By Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The most credible story available today about the Islamic State (IS) occupation of Mosul on June 9 reads that IS occupied Mosul several years before that date and has long ruled it as a state within the state.

Al-Qaeda and IS have been present in Mosul since 2006, when they took control of it by force, according to reports published by Western and Arab news outlets.

But IS is losing Mosul before officially leaving it. The residents of Mosul are starting to reject IS and its activities, after first turning to the group to free them of the Iraqi army and the central government’s practices.

At the beginning of November, the Mosul wali (leader), IS' Dar al-Ifta official Quasi Abdul Mohsen, issued a circular that caught the attention of IS-affiliated media outlets. The document was initially published via “media points” — basically booths placed across the city's neighborhoods in which TVs broadcast IS-related videos — and subsequently shared on news and social media pages with ties to IS.

The circular mainly focused on preventing the arrest of any citizen in Mosul in the absence of a warrant signed by the Sharia judge. It read that sanctions would be imposed in the event of any violation fo this dictate.

Throughout 2013, Mosul residents demonstrated against Nouri al-Maliki’s government, which lost the city long before the IS occupation. The people there were angry at the practices of the government and the military, complaining of random arrests without warrants. But these demonstrators were hit by a harsher reality.

The IS strategy to occupy cities originally relied on taking advantage of Sunni complaints about the security authorities in Baghdad. The group timed its occupation of vast areas of Iraq for the moment when Sunni anger against the government reached its peak.

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