One night last week, Islamic State militants in an SUV with tinted windows pulled up at the home of a former Iraqi army officer, one of the men they see as an obstacle to their goal of establishing a caliphate from Iraq to the Mediterranean.
As the retired major-general was led away to the vehicle draped in the trademark black and white Islamist flag, his son and wife feared the worst.
“I have been asking the families of other officers and no one knows why they were taken,” his son said by phone, breaking down in tears.In the past week, Sunni militants who overran the city of Mosul last month have rounded up between 25 and 60 senior ex-military officers and members of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s banned Baath party, residents and relatives say.
Tribes and former loyalists of Saddam’s Baath party were eager to hit back at Iraq’s Shi’ite leaders, even if they did not share ISIS’s vision of a caliphate ruled on mediaeval Islamic precepts. But now, leaders of those groups are being ordered to swear allegiance to the new caliphate.
“I think (ISIS) wants to give the message that they are the only group in the land, that people must follow them or give up their weapons,” said provincial governor Atheel Nujaifi, who is in touch with residents by phone after having fled to the Kurdish-controlled city of Arbil as Mosul fell…
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If they had read history they might have predicted this.