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.

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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.

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.  

ISIS spread is at the heart of the first Islamic Conquest of Mosul

As a historian, I went in a tour in the western side of the city, which is considered as the Islamic side of the first conquest process, year 17 H [Islamic calendar] [year 639 Christian calendar]. I can say that ISIS presence is spread in “Islamic Conquest area” and all their ideological movements are within this. Their largest spread and even their legitimate centers are in the heart of this area; Al-Mushaheda area, Bashtabiya and the western side of river Tigris where the first Islamic mosque was founded in the city- Musfi Al-Dhaheb mosque currently (Al-Masjid Al-Amawy previously).

Afghan costume spreads in Mosul and the city was declared divided into military units

“Afghan costume” phenomena has spread inside the city, even none-armed men from the civil citizens have started wearing this costume. I spoke to some people who showed resentment about this un-welcomed phenomena in the city.

It had become eye catching now that the armed men bring their families and children with them. And it seems like there is a free movement between Syria and Iraq within the control of ISIS.

Dividing Mosul into military units has been declared today. The names given: “Abu-Talha Camp”, “Al-Zubeer Camp”, “Abu-Qutada Camp”, “Al-Ansar Camp”. These names show on their cars and vans.