Aspects of Islamic State (IS) Administration in Ninawa Province: Part II / by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
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January 20, 2015 – Part I of this in-depth examination of IS administration in Ninawa province touched on the realm of education, as one can find a large number of IS documents on that matter. This part looks at the remaining aspects of IS governance in Ninawa province.
The Diwan al-Khidamat (‘Services Administration’) is officially responsible for provision of basic public services to locals, most notably electricity, sanitation, water and construction work. However, there is a clear failing in the field of electricity as Mosul has been cut off from the national grid since it fell out of government control, with residents having to rely on their own private generators. Unsurprisingly, this means that electricity provision is much worse now than prior to the fall of Mosul.The situation also contrasts with Raqqa, the counterpart de facto Syrian capital for IS. In Raqqa, IS is able to provide electricity as a public service via control of the dams along the Euphrates River. However, even a source from the pro-IS Raqqa Media Centre admits to me that electricity provision was better during the days of the Assad regime. Current public IS electricity provision in Raqqa varies between 4-8 hours a day.
A statement issued last month illustrates the Diwan al-Khidamat’s regulations over public sanitation.
Specimen A: Sanitation Regulations
Islamic State: Caliphate on the program of the prophets.
Wilayat Ninawa – Diwan al-Khidamat – Sanitation Laws
These laws are published for all the inhabitants of Mosul and come into effect from the date of publication. The one contravening these laws will be held accountable in paying a compulsory monetary fine. These laws are:
- Waste is to be placed in a barrel, waste-basket, big black bag or wase in front of the house after evening prayer at night so it may be possible for the services’ employees to collect them in front of the houses.
- Owners of shops/businesses should place waste in front of the shops after closing them at night.
- Waste is not be thrown away and gathered in a strip of vacant land and all who deliberately throw away waste thus will incur a fine of 25,000 dinars or be held in custody in the event of refusal to pay the fines.
- No throwing away of papers and empty containers for drinks, water from cars during driving or from travel. All who contravene will be held accountable with an immediate fine of 5000 dinars. All who refuse to pay the fines will be held accountable in custody.
- Public gardens, streets and lighting are to be protected, not to be sabotaged or violated because they were founded for the service of the public interest. All who infringe on public property will be held accountable.
- Every house is to pay monthly a sum of 2000 dinars in expenses for cleaning of waste. Also, every shop/business is to pay 5000 dinars monthly and the one who disagrees through refusing to pay the service sum will be held accountable.
- The presence of livestock inside the boundaries of the Mosul locality is absolutely forbidden, and we will confiscate them in the event of their presence.
- One is not to give more than the sum specified to the employees of the service and in the event of that being demanded by the services’ workers, we will be informed directly to undertake due process as the case requires.
May God reward you best.
Ninawa21″Wilayat Ninawa: Wiping and sweeping of streets before paving them.”
Note that the standard currency used is still the Iraqi dinar, although IS has more recently advertised notions of its new planned currency in Mosul as per the photo below.
As far as prices go, a household must pay around $1.75 a month for public cleaning services while a business/shop is to pay around $4.40. Considering Mosul’s large population size, this form of revenue is hardly insignificant for IS. An interesting case of comparison vis-à-vis other armed groups in the Syria-Iraq arena is that of the town of Azaz in northern Syria, which is controlled by Northern Storm and has authority divided between a Shari’a Committee and Civil Council. Unlike IS- where the official administrations and armed contingent are part of the same group- Azaz’s civil council is officially independent of the armed group, despite at least some familial connections with Northern Storm. This civil council, like IS’ Diwan al-Khidamat, also charges locals for public cleaning services.It is also apparent that IS is aware of the issue of the potential for extortion by members, hence the last specification in the document on the issue of excess charging of money for services. Indeed, prior to the fall of Mosul, IS had been virtually functioning as the mafia there, extorting businesses for a monthly ‘protection’ fee. Superficial self-presentation as an accountable power to Mosul locals is therefore a key part of IS’ strategy.More generally too, IS (including its prior incarnation of ISIS) has tried to present itself as ostensibly accountable to local populations. For example, in May 2013, it was reported that ISIS held a group of members to account in the Tel Abyad area in Raqqa province after complaints from locals over extortion. Further, amid the conflict between ISIS (working with rebel groups) and Kurdish forces in the Tel Abyad area in summer 2013, ISIS issued a statement declaring it forbidden to infringe on the properties of Muslims: Kurdish or Arab. More recently in Ninawa province after the fall of Mosul, a specimen box in a mosque for complaints about IS conduct came to public light.
Coming to construction work, the Diwan al-Khidamat has overseen building projects in Mosul such as the construction of a new market- identical to a project that was undertaken in Raqqa province.
City Market- Mosul
The Diwan al-Khidamat maintains authority over local service offices in Mosul and the wider province, stipulating office hours as illustrated in the document below. It should be noted that ‘services offices’ (dawa’ir khidamiya) are a standard feature of Iraq’s provinces. The fact that IS’ Diwan al-Khidamat is exercising regulations over them points to a picture of parasitic co-optation of prior structures rather than a complete re-make. Though, as with IS’ employing a Sudanese specialist engineer to manage the dams along the Euphrates that can provide electricity for locals in Syria, it is possible IS uses specialist members within its own ranks to participate in the provision of services in IS’ various departments.
Specimen B: Notice to Services Offices of Ninawa Province
Islamic State – Wilayat Ninawa – Diwan al-Khidamat – 19 Dhu al-Hijjah 1435 AH [14 October 2014]
To: Municipal Office of Mosul
To all the employees in the services offices in Ninawa province, we ask you to accept the official office hours duration on a daily basis and to be present in the office [during those hours], beginning from 1/11/2014. In the event of contravention of that, we will have the employee dismissed and his property/wealth confiscated in accordance with a judge’s decision for review and doing so in accordance with it. And may God reward you best.
Amir of the Diwan.
The Diwan al-Siha is the ‘health department’ of IS. Like electricity, the state of health care in Mosul and Ninawa province is suffering from pariah status since falling out of government control, largely cut off from medical supplies from outside IS territory. When that is combined with IS restrictions such as gender segregation, health care is unsurprisingly in a much worse state than before. IS’ Diwan al-Siha has tried to put price controls on goods sold by pharmacies, but considering the scarcity of medical supplies, it is doubtful whether these controls can have any meaningful impact on the lives of civilians.
Specimen C: Price Controls on Pharmaceutical Goods
State of the Islamic Caliphate – Wilayat NInawa Mosul Area
In light of what some of the Muslims are living through- among them the owners of limited business with little material wealth, as well as poor and modest families- your brothers in the Islamic State have undertaken a number of acts to help these Muslims, including the opening of centres of the Diwan al-Zakat and Sadaqat [Alms and Charity] in Mosul, and we have previously made that clear.
And now the Muslims have begun complaining about the minor rise in the prices of medications particularly medications for chronic illnesses, while some of the owners- many of the most adequate among them- have sadly begun to take advantage of this situation by raising the prices of medications especially important ones of chronic illnesses (such as illnesses of blood pressure, diabetes, kidneys, the heart and others besides them). This is what has increased the burden for some of the Muslims, but also it means they have not been able to buy those medications. Upon that and after deliberation on the part of the brothers in the Diwan al-Husbah, the Diwan has decided on the following:
Directed at those who deal in/sell medications and owners of pharmacies: please observe the following points and regulations:
- When there is a purchase of medication from the supplier at a price of 1000 Iraqi dinars, it can only be sold for 1250 Iraqi dinars.
- When there is a purchase of medication from the supplier at a price of 10000 Iraqi dinars, it can only be sold for 11500 Iraqi dinars.
- Profit from price 250-1000 dinars is to be 35%.
- Profit from price 1000-10000 dinars is to be 25%.
- Profit from price >10000 dinars is to be 15%.
We ask the brothers- the pharmacy owners- to embrace this so that there may be cooperation among the Muslims on charity and awareness of God as well as the spreading of the spirit of cooperation and love among the Muslims. And the one who disagrees will be subject to accountability according to Shari’a.
As can be seen from the above statement, the Diwan al-Siha works with other IS departments such as Diwan al-Husba that deals with offences against public Shari’a regulations (e.g. al-Husba therefore manages the ‘Islamic Police’ to crack down on ‘crimes’ such as smoking and consumption of alcohol). Another IS institutional body that has worked with the Diwan al-Siha is the Diwan al-Qaḍa wa al-Muẓālim (‘Judgements and Injustices Administration’). One of the problems for IS is the potential for ‘brain drain’ as professionals and would-be professionals including doctors and upcoming graduates from medical school may seek to leave areas under IS control, contributing to a vicious cycle of socio-economic deterioration. For example, one person I know was studying medicine at Mosul University but being Shi’i had to leave the city and is now completing studies in Baghdad. Accordingly, IS in Ninawa province issued an ultimatum for such people to return to areas of IS control or risk having property confiscated.
Specimen D: Ultimatum for Doctors et al. to Return to IS-Held Areas
Islamic State: Caliphate on the program of the prophets
Diwan al-Qaḍa wa al-Muẓālim 3 October 2014
To the Diwan al-Siha – Notice
Praise is due to God who makes Islam and Muslims mighty, while lowering disbelief and the disbelievers, and prayers and peace be on the one who was sent with the sword as a mercy to the worlds, and all his family and companions. As for what follows:
After God- Almighty and Exalted is He- blessed the state of the Caliphate with this great conquest, and granted for his soldiers to defeat disbelief and the disbelievers with the establishment of God’s law in the land, it has become clear through every way of faith and with many signs made apparent of the people’s support for truth/righteousness and its people for they have been in the camp of faith, whereas whoever has helped and supported disbelief is in the trench of disbelief and enmity against God.
The Prophet says: “Indeed deeds come with intentions and every person has what he has intended: So whosoever has had his hijra towards God and His Messenger, his hijra is to God and His Messenger, and whosoever has had his hijra to something in the material world he attains or a woman he marries, his hijra is to whatever he has made hijra…So the one who supports the religion of God- Almighty and Exalted is He- and the Sunnah of His Messenger has made hijra to the state of the Caliphate and has supported it, while the one supporting disbelief has abandoned faith and migrated to the land of disbelief- and what a difference it is between the two paths!
And among these people are: professors and doctors affiliated with the medical colleges as well as directors on the Iraqi Board influential in its functioning, while many of the students have gone to Baghdad and the north of Iraq to finish their studies there. So we say after entrusting to God-Almighty and Exalted is He: We give all the professors in all their medical professions and others besides them who have a place for their work and their families in the shadow of the state of the Caliphate a deadline of up to 10 days to return and take up their jobs, starting from the date of this statement and in the event of disagreement, their property/wealth- moved and unmoved- will be confiscated.
Indeed God is predominant over His affairs but most people don’t know it [Qur’an 12:21].
Islamic State – Diwan al-Qaḍa wa al-Muẓālim
Specimen D appropriately leads into this section. Once property- whether government-owned or private- is confiscated by IS, it can become part of IS real estate: to let to locals, to become bases for IS fighters and members, or to be converted into an entirely new structure. Currently, movement into and out of Mosul requires at the minimum a medical certificate as a form of identification. Attempting to flee the city illegally risks having one’s property confiscated.
Needless to say, the properties of Shi’a and Christian residents who have now fled in their entirety have become part of IS real estate, marked with the Arabic letters ‘ra’ and ‘nun’ respectively (for ‘Rafidi’ and ‘Nasrani’) to signify the sect affiliation of the one-time owners. In the previous post, we also saw the example of the Mosul hotel that can be geo-located to the centre of the city, with its entrance now draped in IS flags and the hotel sign on top ripped off. The real estate serves as another important source of income for IS in Mosul.
A property in Mosul marked: “Islamic State Real Estate: Rafidi: Second Floor.”
Specimen E: IS Real Estate Announcement for Public Auction (September 2014)
Islamic State: Announcement
The Wilayat Ninawa Real Estate Office announces the leasing of the mall and markets in Shuqaq al-Hudba for public auction and that will take place on Saturday 25 Dhu al-Qa’ada 1435 AH corresponding to 20 September 2014.
Those wishing to take part in the auction are to go to the al-Hudba residential site located in al-Hudba neighbourhood at 10 a.m. sharp.
Auctioning of property is not limited solely to IS’ real estate department. IS also exercises authority over the petrol/gasoline stations as part of its ‘Diwan al-Rikaz’ (‘Gold Ore Administration’), which has a special division dealing with oil. With the Baiji oil refinery offline, Mosul’s traditional source of refined oil products for local consumption is unavailable, and so the city must rely heavily on oil smuggled in from elsewhere.Naturally, fuel shortages have resulted, leading to a heavy spike in prices. IS has to an extent tried to address this problem by opening a new fuel station in the north of Mosul in October 2014, as part of the Diwan al-Rikaz’s projects. This station is supposed to sell petrol at a reduced price of 1400 dinars per litre, importing the oil from refineries it controls Syria. This is still well above prices elsewhere in Iraq. In addition, the petrol in question, being brought in from IS-controlled refineries from Syria, is likely of much worse quality.
Of interest also are these remarks recorded in the al-Mada Press report quoting local sources from Mosul: “The witnesses, who were present at the opening [of the station], and requested their identities not be disclosed, added: “Last 20 September [i.e. September 2014], Da3esh announced the auctioning for lease of two stations: Thakafa and Ghazlani, on conditions stipulating that the lease be for a period three months subject to renewal. The auction was empty of the sons of Mosul because most of those who entered it were from the followers of that organization who dwell in the villages and peripheral regions.”
The above is exactly corroborated by a Diwan al-Rikaz statement on that date.
Specimen F: Leasing of Two Petrol Stations in Mosul
Wilayat Ninawa Diwan al-Rikaz: Oil – 25 Dhu al-Qa’ada 1435/20 September 2014
The Diwan al-Rikaz/Oil Division announces an auction to lease the following petrol stations:
- Thakafa petrol station.
- Ghazlani petrol station.
Conditions of auction:
- The lease should be for a period of three months and subject to renewal.
- The production should be excellent in its types.
- The auction is to take place in al-Jaama’at station at 4 p.m.
- The station and its contents are the responsibility of the one who wins the lease and should be handed over just as handed over to him.
Diwan al-Rikaz: Oil
Diwan al-Zakat wa al-Sadaqat
One of the more familiar IS institutions and mentioned earlier in this post, the Diwan al-Zakat wa al-Sadaqat provides welfare distributions for the poor. Its emergence in Ninawa province came to light in a statement from mid-summer 2014.
Specimen G: Diwan al-Zakat wa al-Sadaqat’s First Ninawa Statement
Islamic State Diwan al-Zakat wa al-Sadaqat
Wilayat Ninawa – 1 Shuwwal 1435 AH [29 July 2014]
Indeed Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam on whose obligation the Ummah has agreed unanimously, and it is among the well-known principles of necessity in the religion. The Almighty has said: “And undertake prayer, give zakat and prostrate with the ones prostrating”- [Qur’an 2:43]. On the authority of Abu Huraira, may God be pleased with him: he said: “The Messenger of God- may God’s blessings and peace be upon him- said: ‘Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the Zakat of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.’ ” Then the Prophet recited the holy verses:– ‘Let not those who withhold…[Qur’an 3:180].”
For this reason, the prophet used to send tax collectors to the lands, collecting the zakat wealth from the rich.
With your brothers in the Islamic State following the Sunnah of our Prophet- prayers and peace be upon him- we have undertaken the establishment of a Diwan al-Zakat on the right side of Wilayat Ninawa [i.e. the right side of the Tigris River, so western Mosul] in what was previously the antiquities/archaeology office, and on the left side [eastern Mosul] in what was the migration and displaced persons office.
By God Almighty’s permission, it will gather zakat wealth from the rich of the land with its claim and restoration to those who deserve it from the eight classes to whom God Almighty ordered for the wealth to be restored in His words: “Zakat expenditures are for the poor, needy, those employed to collect it, to bring their hearts together, for freeing [captives/slaves], those in debt, for the cause of God, and the stranded sojourner- an obligation of God. And God is All-Knowing, All-Wise” [Qur’an 9:60].
It is also established that the claim of zakat is only after the year passes and nisab is attained [for ‘nisab’, see this], so whoever gives zakat in this year does not give zakat until next year. Besides this, we inform you that whosoever refuses to give zakat despite his belief in the obligation of giving it, he commits a sin in his refusal- one of the great sins- and then the zakat will be taken by force along with half of his wealth as a consequence, as in the hadith of the Prophet- may God Almighty’s blessings and peace be upon him: “Whoever has refused to give zakat, we will take it and his wealth is to be halved” [Sunan Abu Dawud bi-Sanad Hassan].
Thus we urge our brothers who have not yet given zakat to present themselves at the diwan to fulfill this great obligation and for those who have already given zakat to present themselves at the diwan to verify information according to places of your business and work: so whosoever has his business and work located on the right side, let him present himself at the Diwan al-Zakat on the right side, while the one whose business and work is on the left side, let him present himself at the Diwan al-Zakat on the left side. Thus the people’ wealth will be safeguarded and repeated taxes won’t be taken, rather the zakat for the whole year. “These are the limits of God, and whoever obeys God and His Messenger will enter Paradise under which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein That is the great reward” [Qur’an 4:13].
Islamic State: Wilayat Ninawa
Sample Zakat distributions have subsequently been advertised by the IS’ official Ninawa province media office. It should also be noted that the takeover of the antiquities office in Mosul comes as no surprise, with reports back in summer 2014 of IS expelling its employees. Further, such a move fits in with IS’ closing down of the archaeology college in Mosul University.
Zakat distribution form: “The Islamic State guarantees and ensures your right that God Almighty has granted to you from the wealth of the rich.”
It can be seen in much greater detail through these various IS institutions surveyed how IS presents itself as a state rather than a mere group. However, quite predictably, IS’ state model is largely proving a socio-economic failure for the inhabitants of Mosul and Ninawa province. By most standards of quality of life, such as provision of electricity, availability of medical supplies, petrol prices and the like, things are much worse now than during the era of central government control. Unlike the situation in Raqqa, IS has still not found a way to provide electricity en masse as a public service. In many ways, IS’ rule is parasitic in nature, thriving off prior infrastructure to continue generating revenue and maintain notions of a functioning state. Despite these evident shortcomings, no sign of real opposition to undermine IS’ rule in Mosul exists yet.
The next part in this series will primarily examine religious life and public morality through IS institutions in Ninawa province.
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