Sunday, June 22, 2014

ISIS Alienates Allies

About a week ago I commented that ISIS's success in Iraq depended on a confluence of interests with entirely Iraqi Sunni Arab militias, and that the former al-Qaeda affiliate could easily wear out its welcome.  That might be happening sooner than I expected:
The first signs of a split emerged on Saturday, with reports of fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Naqshbandi Army, formed by officers from the former dictator Saddam Hussein’s military, that left 17 people dead.

The fighting in Hawija, in Kirkuk province, on Friday was sparked by the refusal of Naqshbandi fighters to give up their weapons and pledge allegiance to ISIL, a security official said.

However, witnesses said the two sides clashed over who would take control of fuel tankers in the area...

ISIL’s strict enforcement of its religious convictions, such as the destruction of tombs and other cultural symbols in Mosul, has raised misgiving among other members.

This friction may be compounded by public frustration over power outages and fuel shortages in captured territory...

Elsewhere, too, ISIL’s tough measures have begun alienating those who initially did not oppose their military campaign.

The tribal areas of Kirkuk province, where ISIL has a strong presence, are starting to resent the group’s behaviour, said Mohammed Mohammed, who runs the Arab affairs division of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan office in Kirkuk city.

ISIL has killed youths from the tribes for unspecified reasons and demanded that residents repent for their sins, angering leaders of the two main tribal confederations in the area, said Mr Mohammed, whose office is in regular contact with residents there.

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