Wednesday, December 02, 2015

ISIS Promise of Statehood Falling Far Short, Ex-Residents Say

By BEN HUBBARD, NYT
DEC. 1, 2015

SANLIURFA, Turkey — After the Syrian government stopped paying him, a technician who had spent two decades pumping the country’s oil received an enticing offer: do the same work for the jihadists of the Islamic State — starting at three times the salary.

He was soon helping to fill tanker trucks with crude oil to fund the Islamic State. But frequent executions of those suspected of spying and deadly airstrikes by government jets made life hard, and he grew angry that the country’s resources were financing the jihadists while schools and hospitals were being shut down.

“We thought they wanted to get rid of the regime, but they turned out to be thieves,” the technician said after fleeing to this city in southern Turkey.

The Islamic State claims to be more than a militant group, selling itself as a government for the world’s Muslims that provides a range of services in the territory it controls.

But that statehood project is now in distress, perhaps more so than at any other time since the Islamic State began seizing territory in Iraq and Syria, according to a range of interviews with people who have recently fled. Under pressure from airstrikes by several countries, and new ground offensives by Kurdish and Shiite militias, the jihadists are beginning to show the strain.

(More here.)

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