Part one – the rise: It was in the Iraqi city of Mosul that Isis attempted to prove its legitimacy – by transforming from an insurgency into a state. Alongside the murders and mass terror ran a functioning bureaucracy, with streamlined rubbish collections and electricity smart meters
- Cities and terror: an indivisible and brutal relationship
- In pictures: a century of cities at war
- Tell us your experiences of cities at war
Every day, early in the morning, the former missile scientist would leave his house in Mosul. Riding buses, or on foot – he could no longer afford petrol – he’d call on friends, check on his mother or visit his sister’s family. Sometimes he’d hunt for cheap kerosene, or try to score contraband books or cigarettes. Most often, he’d meander aimlessly – a traveller in his own city.
In the evening, he’d sit at his old wooden desk, bent over his notebook, recording the day. Most of what he wrote was banal: the price of tomatoes, a quarrel with his wife. But he also wrote his observations of the remarkable events unfolding in Mosul.
Just as in any totalitarian society, the majority of residents bent their heads and went on with life
War is urbanising. No longer fought on beaches or battlefields, conflict has come to the doors of millions living in densely populated areas, killing thousands of civilians, destroying historic centres and devastating infrastructure for generations to come.
Oh people, you have tried all the secular regimes, from the monarchy to the republic to Safavid [Shia] government. You have tried it and been burned by its fires. And here we are now in the reign of the Islamic State and the region of our imam Abu Bakr. And you shall see by the will of Allah the vast difference between a secular government, that oppresses and confiscates the will and energies of its people and erases their dignity, and our rule, which takes the divine word as a path.
Isis … dressed and talked like they lived in early Islam, but administratively they were excellent
Link : The bureaucracy of evil: how Islamic State ran a city