Thursday, July 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Islamic state declaration could lead to schism

Mideast Iraq

In this Sunday, June 29, 2014 photo, an Iraqi family leave their hometown Mosul, walking towards Irbil, on the outskirts of the northern city of Mosul, Iraq. The al-Qaida breakaway group that has seized much of Syria and Iraq has formally declared the establishment of a new Islamic state, demanding allegiance from Muslims worldwide in a move that could further strain relations with other militant groups. (AP Photo)

By
July 01, 2014 |

BAGHDAD — A militant extremist group’s unilateral declaration of an Islamic state is threatening to undermine its already-tenuous alliance with other Sunnis who helped it overrun much of northern and western Iraq.

One uneasy ally has vowed to resist if the militants try to impose their strict interpretation of Shariah law.

Fighters from the al-Qaida breakaway group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have spearheaded the offensive in recent weeks that has plunged Iraq into its deepest crisis since the last U.S. troops left in 2011. The group’s lightning advance has brought under its control territory stretching from northern Syria as far as the outskirts of Baghdad in central Iraq.

In a bold move Sunday, the group announced the establishment of its own state, or caliphate, governed by Islamic law. It proclaimed its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a highly ambitious Iraqi militant with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, to be the caliph, and it demanded that Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to him.

Through brute force and meticulous planning, the Sunni extremist group – which said it was changing its name to simply the Islamic State, dropping the reference to Iraq and the Levant – has managed to effectively erase the Syria-Iraq border and lay the foundations of its proto-state. Along the way, it has battled Syrian rebels, Kurdish militias and the Syrian and Iraqi militaries.

Now, the group’s declaration risks straining its loose alliances with other Sunnis who share the militants’ hopes of bringing down Iraq’s Shiite-led government but not necessarily its ambitions of carving out a transnational caliphate. Iraq’s minority Sunnis complain they have been treated as second-class citizens and unfairly targeted by security forces.

Topping the list of uneasy allies is the Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order, a Sunni militant organization with ties to Saddam Hussein’s now-outlawed Baath Party. The group depicts itself as a nationalist force that defends Iraq’s Sunnis from Shiite rule.

A senior Naqshabandi commander in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad told The Associated Press that his group has “no intention” of joining the Islamic State or working under it. He said that “would be a difficult thing to do because our ideology is different from the Islamic State’s extremist ideology.”

“Till now, the Islamic State fighters are avoiding any friction with us in the areas we control in Diyala, but if they are to change their approach toward our fighters and people living in our areas, we expect rounds of fighting with the Islamic State’s people,” said the commander who goes by the nom de guerre of Abu Fatima.

A second Naqshabandi leader in Diyala, in the Sunni town of Qara Tappah, also dismissed the notion of submitting to the militants’ vision.

“We reject the caliphate rule presented by them. We are totally different from the Islamic State,” said the commander, who goes by the name of Abu Abid. He too said that so far relations have been friendly enough, but that residents are wary of what the future may hold.

“Their number is small but we are afraid of the future when their number in the town becomes big,” he said. “We know that these militants are treacherous and they plan to eliminate any competition, but we are ready to stop them.”

If history is any guide, they have reason to worry. In Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also cooperated with many rebel groups after initially pushing into the country in spring 2013. Over time, however, it moved against its erstwhile allies and eventually crushed them.

It has followed a similar pattern in imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law, choosing to overlook some practices it considers forbidden before eventually tightening its grip and implementation.

In Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul, which the insurgents overran earlier in June, they issued rules but have not rigidly enforced them. Signs emerged Sunday that tactics may be changing there.

Residents said three or four armed men in Afghan-style clothing but speaking in Iraqi accents told cafe owners in the Ghabat — a wooded area dotted with cafes and popular with locals — to stop serving water pipes, or shisha, saying it is forbidden under Islamic law. Other cafes in the city followed suit out of fear, and traders in Mosul were told Monday to stop importing the water pipes to the city, residents said.

The showcase of the extremist group’s vision of its Islamic state is Raqqa, a city of 500,000 in northern Syria along the Euphrates River. Since expelling rival rebel groups this spring from the city, the militants have banned music, forced Christians to pay an Islamic tax for protection, and killed violators of its interpretation of Islam in the main square, activists say.

It was among the group’s supporters in Raqqa that the declaration of establishing the caliphate touched off some of the largest scenes of jubilation, with fighters parading in the city. Some revelers wore traditional robes and waved the group’s black flags in a central square, while others zoomed around in pickup trucks amid celebratory gunfire.

Activists in the city confirmed details of the online video of the events.

Elsewhere in Syria, the announcement was greeted with condemnation and even disdain, including from rival rebel groups who have been fighting the Islamic State since January.

“The gangs of al-Baghdadi are living in a fantasy world. They’re delusional. They want to establish a state but they don’t have the elements for it,” said Abdel-Rahman al-Shami, a spokesman for the Army of Islam, an Islamist rebel group. “You cannot establish a state through looting, sabotage and bombing.”

Speaking over Skype from eastern Ghouta, near the capital of Damascus, al-Shami described the declaration as “psychological warfare” that he predicted will turn people against the Islamic State.

In Iraq, where the government has launched a counteroffensive to try to claw back some of the territory it has lost, the declaration is viewed through the prism of the country’s rising sectarian tensions.

“This is a project that was well-planned to rupture the society and to spread chaos and damage,” said Hamid al-Mutlaq, a Sunni lawmaker. “This is not to the benefit of the Iraqi people, but instead it will increase the differences and splits.”

The government, which has tried portray the broader Sunni insurgency it faces as a terrorist threat, pointed to the Islamic State’s declaration to back up its claims. Government spokesman Ali al-Moussawi said: “The world now bears a big and ethical responsibility to fight those terrorists who made Iraq and Syria their battlefield.”

With sectarian pressures already running high, three mortar shells landed near the gate of a much-revered Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra late Monday, wounding at least nine people, said Mizhar Fleih, the deputy head of the Samarra municipal council.

The golden-domed al-Askari mosque in Samarra is one of the holiest shrines in Shiite Islam. Sunni militants blew up the dome in 2006, helping trigger some of the country’s worst sectarian bloodshed as Shiite extremists retaliated forcefully.

Also Monday, the U.N.’s humanitarian office reported that the number of people fleeing their homes in the ongoing crisis in Iraq continues to increase rapidly and has reached an estimated 650,000, bringing the total number of displaced, including from Anbar province, to over 1.2 million inside Iraq, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“Our hope remain very much that … the political meetings in Iraq tomorrow will create a positive atmosphere to create a government in which all Iraqis feel they have a voice,” Dujarric said at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Iraq’s new parliament holds its inaugural session Tuesday. The country’s top Shiite cleric urged lawmakers last week to agree on a prime minister before lawmakers meet, trying to avert months of wrangling that could further destabilize Iraq.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • rlw895July 01, 2014 - 5:25 pm

    Sounds like a "state" that may implode before it issues its first postage stamp.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Artists with trowels transform highway wall

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Multitasking to mindfulness shift not easy

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

Bertani schedules town hall meet

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
 
County court employees rally against cuts, furloughs

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Crews to begin Vacaville slurry seal street project

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

 
2nd candidate eyes Vacaville mayoral run

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Vacaville police arrest fugitive Dezmon Frazier

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Accused foster father testifies in murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

 
Sesame Street USO tour visits Travis

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Carranza | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: July 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Weather for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: July 21, 2013

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Lawsuit tests racial policy at California prisons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Lockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Honduran families deported back to a bleak future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Is Logue tripping over words?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Watch out for Bobby Jindal

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A7

 
Rick Perry’s contradiction

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7

 
Editorial Cartoons for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Good men lost due to Bergdahl

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

I resent my husband for not defending me to his mother

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for July 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

CBS says Colbert keeping CBS’ ‘Late Show’ in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
CBS event marks civil rights anniversary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Filmmaker Michael Moore’s divorce is finalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Cespedes hits 2 HRs, A’s hold off Astros 9-7

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Big innings fuels 16-1 Expos victory in Area 1 opener

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders start to arrive for start of camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Tight end Vernon Davis arrives at 49ers training camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pence drives in 3, Giants beat Phillies 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Playful Pole wins Tour stage, as Nibali marches on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

4 Cities to meet with USOC about 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Testimony ends in trial over $2B Clippers sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mavericks’ Felton pleads guilty in NYC gun case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles reach deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Seattle’s Sidney Rice announces his retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Broncos owner giving up control due to Alzheimer’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

GM issues 6 more safety recalls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Mary Bell Scrivner Sanders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Arturo Montenegro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Joseph Ross Smith Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Shirley T. ‘Mac’ McFadden

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

.

Comics

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9