ISIS’ Ground Rules
Debating whether ISIS is really “Islamic” or is better understood as an exotic apocalyptic death cult does not bring the world closer to understanding how the group governs, write Andrew March and Mara Revkin in Foreign Affairs.
“ISIS aims to establish scrupulous legality for itself, from its very “constitutional” foundations to its narrowest public policies. This process, in fact, began up to a year before the declaration of the caliphate in a series of texts laying the groundwork for the future state, and it continues today with administrative guidelines for groups and individuals that wish to pledge allegiance to the caliphate,” they note.
Der Spiegel has obtained secret documents which show how Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, a former colonel in the Iraqi intelligence service of Saddam Hussein’s air defense force, had planned ISIS’ takeover in Syria.
Discovered after his death, the documents uncover a multilayered list of directives for action, that, in a sense, are the source code of the most successful terrorist army in recent history.
“An examination of the hundreds of pages of documents reveals a highly complex system involving the infiltration and surveillance of all groups, including IS’ own people. The jihad archivists maintained long lists noting which informants they had installed in which rebel brigades and government militias. It was even noted who among the rebels was a spy for Assad’s intelligence service,” the paper reports.
The Fall Of Phnom Penh 40 Years Later
Four decades after the fall of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge, Charles Nugyen reflects on the genocide that occurred in his homeland and the legacy it has left.
“There’s a lot of mental illness in the community that is not diagnosed. There’s a lot of PTSD that’s not diagnosed. My mom went to see a psychiatrist for 12 weeks and was able to be diagnosed with PTSD and that wasn’t until a year ago. So she’s been living with this mental illness for a very long time,” he tells National Public Radio.
CNN has a similar article reflecting on where the orphans who were left behind 40 years ago are today.
Syrian Refugees Face Difficult Choice: Assad Or ISIS
The Islamic State’s occupation of the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk has led some rebels who had been fighting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country to switch sides and join pro-government factions in an effort to expel the extremists, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Iranian Official Claims Agreement Bars Inspections
Yesterday, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), told the Fars News agency that not only will Iran not allow foreign inspections of their military sites, “we will not even give them permission to think about such a subject,” according to PressTV.
“They will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams,” he added.
Negotiators have until June 30 to fill in the critical details to assure Iran it will get relief from the sanctions as soon as possible and to guarantee world powers that Iran won’t develop a nuclear weapons.
Yemen: The New Gulf War
McClean’s Michael Petrou examines how the ongoing conflict in Yemen is developing into an all-out regional war.
“Saudi Arabia and its allies see the war in Yemen as another front in a much larger struggle with Iran for control of the Middle East—one that is also fought in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. It is a conflict with strong sectarian overtones. Iran is a Shia power. Saudi Arabia sees itself as the leader of the Sunni Muslim world. The Houthis, in Saudi eyes, are Iranian pawns, Shia proxies armed and funded by Tehran. It’s this perception that makes the conflict in Yemen much more dangerous, and potentially destabilizing, to an already tumultuous region,” asserts Petrou.