Andrew Slater tries to get a sense of what daily life is like there now:
Residents in Mosul seemed very worried about the city being bombed by the Iraqi Air Force and the return of the Iraqi Army from the south, but most did not see this prospect as imminent. But many sounded untroubled by the fearsome reputation of life under ISIS after observing them for a few days as even the foreign fighters appeared to be leaving the people of Mosul alone. New announcements are being broadcast throughout the city from the speakers of mosques, but these primarily concerned people returning to work.
Most said they had not observed or heard of the new ISIS authorities enforcing their announced bans on smoking cigarettes or water pipes, immoderate dress, and public gatherings, but most residents said they have been very careful to comply with the new rules. A few women had returned to work wearing the hijab, but most are staying home, uncertain of how they would be treated by the ISIS fighters in public. Even low-level government employees who were forced to swear oaths against the government in Baghdad were reportedly allowed to return to work unmolested.
Just wait a while … and the beheadings will surely begin. Meanwhile, Fehim Taştekin talks to Mosul’s governor Atheel Nujaifi, now taking refuge in Kurdistan, about his plans to try and retake the city:
It appears almost impossible for Iraqi actors to develop a joint plan for action against the chaos generated by ISIS. The governor said he is now relying on his own resources and the KRG administration. He is coordinating with Erbil and believes some groups controlling parts of Mosul are ready to fight ISIS. Even if ISIS is ousted from Mosul, however, it will not bring about resolutions to the grievances of the Sunni majority there. It is not enough to treat the matter solely as an issue of terror. Nujaifi had earlier proposed a federalism model for the region, but it was not accepted.
So what is the the real solution to ISIS? Nujaifi offered, “Another course of action is needed to combat ISIS. This issue has to be resolved not by Maliki, but as a Sunni project. We have to struggle against ISIS with our Sunni way. It is not a fight for Shiites or Maliki’s supporters. Maliki cannot fight ISIS. Sunnis can do it because that will prevent ISIS from exploiting sectarian arguments.”