Mosul Eye is back: why Mosul doesn’t fight back?

I apologize for not updating you for over 6 weeks, due to technical and other security situations I have been through, I couldn’t. I am all in one piece still. Back to informing you. To start with, I wrote an essay to explain some important background of Mosul.

Why doesn’t Mosul fight back?

Socially: What does society in Mosul consist of?

The social fabric of Mosul consists of mostly tribal congregations which were able to gain immense power since the beginning of operation Iraqi Freedom 2003. The tribal influence in the city had been present since the Baathist regime prior to the war following Saddam’s strategy of “ruralizing” the urban areas of Mosul and “militarizing” the tribal communities. US forces attempted to restore balance in society by choosing Ghanim Al-Basso, brother of Salim Al-Basso; the Iraqi pilot executed by Saddam for treason/coup. Al-Basso represented the urban, civic community of Mosul with no ties whatsoever to any tribes, however, he was unable to adopt drastic measures thus failed to project any changes. Mosul remained turbulent and several armed groups surfaced. Some groups were minor while others were major. The tribal congregations served as an incubus for under-the-cover Salafist/Jihadi movements which had been preparing to take action before April 9th, 2003. Armed movements were influenced by villagers and rural migrates, the high commanders and leaders of the groups were mostly inhabitants of the village. Once again, the urban part of Mosul was being controlled by the rural; a pattern that would continue until the city fell to ISIS.
The rural bloc had its hands locked firmly on all aspects in Mosul including the armed forces and the social, administrative, and political systems.
The city remained vulnerable and the “white chicken” generation emerged (a local idiom in Mosul used to described the stagnated youth of Mosul who choose not to confront nor combat the wrongs of society). As for the civic society of Mosul, it failed to counter the negatives of these setbacks given the methods of absolute violence adopted by the villagers: objection meant death.
Tribal leadership became a norm in the city; a pattern installed and applied by the tribes themselves. Mosul had become nearly ruralized completely.

Shock and Awe of ISIS: Brutal brisk murder

Imposing royalities: A type of “tax” ISIS imposed on the city partially in the beginning and gradually becoming a staple. Those refusing to pay were murdered with no prior warning. The money would be eventually taken from the victim’s family and a threat to kill another family member would be issued.
A true story: A merchant was informed he was to pay $100K within a 48 hour period which ended without the demands being met. An explosive device was planted in a car carrying the merchant’s son – on his wedding day – killing him immediately with the bride. He was then told his second would be killed unless the money was doubled. Fearing another loss, the man gave in.
The royalties were collected individually over the years and several civilians had been killed for refusing to pay. Mid- 2013 ISIS issued a law stating every merchant was to pay 10% of his capital and 10% of his monthly profit.
After ISIS guaranteed the constant flowing of income, police forces and federal security personals and army members began adopting similar methods of extortion. Security units imposed royalties on shops and services under the concept of equity; why pay to ISIS and not us- the army, police, etc?
False accusations against citizens, which meant more money, were being charged constantly by security forces. The victims’ families were forced to pay up to save their loved ones from the oppression.
So, where do people turn to? To the army that extorts them? To ISIS that kills them? These events created a psychological conflict in the civilians whom found themselves caught between Hitler and Mussolini.
Another True Story: During the end of 2013 ISIS managed to break the government Tax Bureau of Ninevah and issued a law those committed civilians to pay taxes directly to ISIS. Governor Atheel Al-Nujaifi intervened and was able to end their seizure of the Bureau by offering a significant amount of money.

Who was responsible for all this? Majority of the perpetrators were the Telafer residents who migrated to the Mosul and became the core of all ISIS operations in the city. Mosul entered a maze of fear, terrorism, brutality, and disability because there was no one to turn to; no one to complain to.

Telafar Emigrants and Their Role:

Those who know Mosul well know what “Telafer emigrants” mean as well as the derogatory term “Aafari”. To non-Mosul residents further explanation is required.
Telafer is a rural district in Ninevah that lies 70k west of Mosul. Its demography is a Turkmen majority both Sunni and Shia. Three sub districts are integrated with Telafer: Rabi’a, Zummar, and Al-Iyadthiya. The district and its subs are ruled by a Turkmen tribal order similar to its Arab counterpart.
Several conflicts broke out between the Sunni and Shia residents of Telafer which called for national and international intervention. The post-2003 era witnessed Telafer morphing into a major Al-Qaeda and radical incubus. (In addition to Turkem, Telafer has Arab, Kurdish and Arab/Kurd Jarjari residents)
The relationship between Telafer and other nationalities differs. For instance, there has been a long struggle between Kurds and Aafaris which drove the latter to form a coalition with Arabs against Kurds in the region. The conflict with the Kurds and Yezidis mostly revolved around the Rabi’a sub district and its agricultural lands and assets. This issue had been a source of struggle between Arab, Turkmen, Kurds, and Yezidis of west Iraq for quite some time.

Mosul and the “Aafaris”:

Residents of central Mosul often looked down on the Aafris, considering them a “lower class” and a “lower nationality” in comparison with other ethnic groups. The stereotypes surrounding the Aafaris in Mosul are well known and often a topic of derogatory punch lines. They are described as “dumbfound”, “barbarians only suitable for labor jobs”. This sentiment developed widely during the Baathist era partially because Aafaris had no actual representation in the government. They particular excelled in tough labor: agriculture and construction jobs, which would further impose the negative and degrading accusations. These wrongful stereotypes created very intense and serious loathing between the residents of Mosul city and Aafaris. I do not want to mention the insulting joke uttered by Saddam about them, but I cannot emphasize enough on the massive isolation installed between Aaferis and other ethnic groups.
Why detail all this?
In order to understand why this group was driven toward armed radicals we must understand the motives: Between “avenging” themselves from Mosul’s arrogance and attempting to “climb the social scale” of the city that rejects them. The nature of their physical built and mindset tends to be rough, fearless, and combatant thus they carried out countless deadly attacks on Iraqi soldiers inside their barracks (videos can be found on youtube). Car bombs, IEDs planted on inner roads in Mosul, and assassinations against any anti-ISIS citizen (or royalty objections) were carried out relentlessly.
In recent years Aaferis began migrating to Mosul, purchasing property and businesses in a very visible manner. They bought several shops in old Mosul and the traditional bazars of Sarai and Sarjkhana. They often offered ridiculous money, much more than what the property was worth, in order to guarantee the purchase. They also managed to infiltrate the upscale neighborhoods of the city; threatening those who refuse to sell to them.
In Mosul, “terrorism” is tied to “Aafari”. When spotting an Aafari wondering on a certain street, be sure that an assassination, car bomb, IED, or kidnap will take place. The fear and terror they implanted in the city made them the talk of the town for years. Following the fall of Mosul to ISIS, their appearance became public, proud, and defying. They neither show nor know any mercy now that they are at their might, carrying out their plans of revenge: looting homes and killing those they loathe personally.


Updates from Mosul: ISIS leaders visit Erbil, humanitarian crisis in Mosul, and ISIS takes over the Orthodox Archbishopric

ISIS has a variety of many funding sources, which never runs out. And it wasn’t the money they gained after controlling Mosul that gave rise for their funding. ISIS was forcing people to give 100-100,000 US dollars before they entered Mosul, this was done throughout forcing monthly payments upon people.


Today’s morning, ISIS took over the Orthodox Archbishopric in Al-Shurta [policemen] neighbourhood in Mosul. They raised their flags over it despite the presence of its Archbishop and some families inside. The fate of the priest and those with him remains unknown.


ISIS issued a decision to exclude all Christians from the payslip lists which were approved to be given to staff within the next few days.


I managed to know from a very important source that 3 commanders/ leaders of ISIS had returned today from Erbil, after their visit for 3 days. One of those leaders/ commanders is a well- known Baa’thist character; however, I could not obtain his name.


With the beginning of Ramadan: continuous electricity blackout; complete lack in fuel (gas); the markets are closed; and a state of anxiety has become noticeable in the city.


ISIS spreads flyers among Mosques preachers, stamped by their logo and the following sentence “Mosques Affairs Committee” and it consists of two sections:

First: Friday’s prayer preacher must talk about “Al-Jihad” [fighting] and the necessity of implementing Al-Sharia Law.

Second: Ramadan preach is divided into 4 Fridays: “The first is to encourage virtue, fasting and Ramadan’s goodness; the second is about the necessity of Al-Jihad [fighting]; the third is a farewell preach to Ramadan; and the fourth is about donating money”.


A new group of those who volunteered to join ISIS has been sent to Anbar and Tikrit today. The children volunteers has become a noticeable phenomenon in Mosul.


Mosul today: the life is suspended, no electricity, no fuel, no salaries, the markets are totally shut in areas which used to be crowded with people: Al-Serchekhana area, Bab Al-Saray, Al-Najafi Street, Al-Meedan – all of them are shut and the movement of people has reduced significantly. 

An Interview with one of the tribes’ rebels in Mosul

Today, I interviewed a sheikh of one of the Turkmen tribes who refused to mention his name, but I know him personally. This sheikh declared joining, along with his tribe’s members (called them the fighters), the armed forces. He is one of the tribes’ rebels, not ISIS. I asked him few questions:

1) Me: There has been many news and rumors about insulting Shiaas in Al-Qubaa and Shreekhan areas, especially southern Shreekhan (those areas are in north western Mosul).

The sheikh: I will talk honestly and say to you that there has not been any insult done to Shiaas (the peaceful ones). I went by myself twice to these areas and visited the Shiaa families to reassure them that no one will insult them and they are protected by us. But what happened was that some news came to the armed forces that some Army runaways handed their weapons to the people of those areas before running away, which resulted in a group of armed men going towards them and a light clash occurred which ended.

2) Me: I heard that some women were kidnapped from those villages? How true is that?

The Sheikh: Not true at all, I am well-known in the area, I am not afraid of anyone and I can check myself and able to know about everything happening from my sources. So, I can emphasize to you that no kidnap or killing of women happened there.

3) Me: What is the future of Mosul administratively? In the absence of system and law?

The sheikh: It’s not easy to know how the future is going to look like considering the current situation which is not easily understandable. But I well know, through my connections with the council of the tribes’ rebels and tribes’ affairs council that there are “arrangements” for everything.

4) Me: What are those arrangements? Can you identify them? And is there any clear plan regarding founding a civilian governance and civil administration of the city?

The sheikh: Do you expect such movement not to have planning or organisation? Surely, there are clear arrangements which are that we have a governance council ready and present. This council is made of 3 presidencies, on top of the pyramid is a “sheikh from Samaraa” who has a PhD in Islamic law, the second man is a military leader, and the third is a judge whom everything has to go through him before initiating a decision. 

5) Me: From Samaraa? Why not from Mosul?

The sheikh: There is no difference, as long as he is an Iraqi “Sunni”, plus don’t forget that Al-Mosul is the area from which the “blessed conquest” had started towards liberating the other Iraqi Sunni cities, in order to establish fair governance which secures everyone’s safety.

6) Me: You mentioned the judge, is he a civil judge? Or Islamic?

The sheikh: We are Muslims and the current laws proved their failure. We need a fair Islamic governance now where no one is oppressed. 

7) Me: You’re a Turkmen from the Turkmen minority in Mosul, did anyone offer you an invitation or reassurance or anything else? Was there any racism considering you’re Turkmen among other Arab tribes?

The sheikh: This never happened, and there is no difference between Turkmen and Arabs as we have lived together through history and our relationship with Arabs is very strong. No one offered reassurance to us and we do not need any as I am the sheikh [leader] of the tribe and have plenty of fighters under my commands, and we took responsibility to protect our areas.

8) Me: Had anyone asked you to give Al-Baya’a [loyalty] or obedience and loyalty under specific rule?

The sheikh: I declared myself a holder of weapons with my tribe members without the need for anyone to ask me to do so. Plus, no one has the right to ask others to give them Al-Baya’a because we have common goals and I am not obliged to give Baya’a to anyone. However, we all hold a very old Baya’a and loyalty which is Al-Baya’a to Islam and the Prophet.

9) Me: Allow me to ask you an embarrassing question to us both, what about your position about ISIS? And terrorism? Do you support their presence and governance of Mosul?

The sheikh: ISIS is just like the other present groups on ground; however, ISIS is only a picture moved by strings. There are many groups which had not announced themselves yet and they are working in Mosul. They have not announced themselves because the time is not right, and they will appear when they feel their appearance has become crucial.

10) Me: But you did not tell me what your position is about ISIS? I mean, will you stand against them if need be? Or will you declare your loyalty to them?

The sheikh: We do not follow anyone and our loyalty is to Islam and to the land, and not to anyone else. We will not allow a Pakistani or an Afghan to govern us, no matter what it takes.

End of interview.

ISIS clashed with Beshmerga in east Mosul today

Today, ISIS bombed Al-Hamdaniya area, east Mosul, with mortars. Al-Hamdaniya is mainly inhabited by Christians and under the control of Beshmerga [Kurdish forces]. The bombing occurred after Beshmerga’s attempt to progress towards Al-Salamiya area (mainly inhabited by Arabs) which is next to Al-Hamdaniya. There was about 50 shells shot, some fell on houses. The source is my Christian friend who is inside Al-Hamdaniya.

Al-Neqshebendi Army refuses ISIS

Al-Neqshebendi Way Army (Baa’thi, Sufi) is in a state of rejection to ISIS presence but they, as I was told by people who are close to them, do not want to enter a conflict with ISIS in the time being. There has been actual conflict between them and ISIS in “Agrarian Reform” area but men of faith and tribes leader intervened and the clash was dissembled. 

Frustration among people of Mosul

A state of frustration reigns on the faces of people as Al-Maliki had cut off the staff wages in the areas that are under armed forces control, Ramadan is approaching, the weather is extremely hot, private electricity generators’ owners say that fuel will almost run out by the end of the month and the electricity is cut off for very long hours in the city.