[Marxism] Fwd: How ISIS Rules by Sarah Birke | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Dec 12 05:05:46 MST 2014

During the initial phase of ISIS rule, locals told me they disliked the 
excesses of the Islamic State, but some were pleased that the corruption 
and chaos of rebel rule had ended. One businessman from Raqqa who now 
lives in Turkey told me that, though he hated the group, it was easier 
to ship goods through ISIS territory because the checkpoints did not 
take bribes like other rebel groups. The group was also pragmatic in 
running municipal services in Raqqa, keeping expert employees in 
position, including in government-run services such as the phone 
network, but making clear they now work for the Islamic State. 
Schoolteachers are allowed to continue to teach, but with an altered 
curriculum that has had subjects such as chemistry and French removed 
and Islamic studies added. A junior doctor in her twenties, who went 
into exile in September, told me how the department heads in her 
hospital in Raqqa had been replaced by Islamic State men—complete with 
titles such as Emir of General Medicine. Female doctors were now only 
allowed to treat female patients, and in full niqab. “How am I meant to 
operate in black gloves and with barely my eyes showing?” the doctor 
asked me.

But it quickly became clear that ISIS’s ability to maintain power 
depended overwhelmingly on outright repression. Although the beheadings 
of two American journalists and one aid worker, and two British aid 
workers have caught headlines, far more Syrians and Iraqis have been 
murdered by the group and scores have been tortured. Abu Hamza, a Syrian 
defector from ISIS’s intelligence services, told me that the will of the 
state is primarily imposed by security services, just as it was under 
the Baathist regime in Iraq and continues to be in Assad’s Syria. ISIS’s 
security forces, he said, are a mix of nationalities but include enough 
Syrians who know others’ pasts. “They look at all the threats to Islamic 
State, from Bashar al-Assad to America and the other rebels—but their 
number one enemy is the [mainstream] rebels,” he said.

full: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/dec/09/how-isis-rules/

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