Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Iraqi City of Mosul Transformed a Year After Islamic State Capture

Beneath a veneer of order, residents live in fear

By Nour Malas, WSJ
Updated June 9, 2015 7:49 p.m. ET

BAGHDAD—In Islamic State’s stronghold of Mosul, the extremist group is working day and night to repair roads, manicure gardens and refurbish hotels. Iraq’s second-largest city has never looked so good thanks to strict laws enforced by the Sunni militants.

But beneath that veneer, the group metes out deadly punishments to those who don’t comply with a long list of prohibitions imposed over the year since it took control of Mosul on June 10, 2014, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former city residents, refugees and Iraqi officials.

Gone are the illegal kiosks that crowded sidewalks and the tangled web of electrical wires once connecting rooftops. New lamps light up streets unusually clear of cigarette butts.

“I have not in 30 years seen Mosul this clean, its streets and markets this orderly,” said Omar, a resident. He said Islamic State has shown an unusual focus on civil works in recent weeks, which he and others described as part of efforts to win popular support.

(More here.)

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