ISIS and government crack down on former Iraqi army officers

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Azzaman, July 12, 2014

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and the Iraqi government are fierce enemies, but there is one issue which they see eye-to-eye.

Both have launched a campaign to crack down on former Iraqi army officers, who were sacked without pay and pension when U.S. troops invaded the country in 2003.

The disgruntled and humiliated officers were thought to have fueled the bloody insurgency against U.S. troops.

When ISIS forcefully emerged on the Iraqi scene last month following its occupation of major towns and large swathes of territory, many believed that its military successes were due to former Iraqi army officers.

In the northern city of Mosul, ISIS militants are reported to have arrested up to 60 senior officers among them members of the Baath party which ruled Iraq before its overthrow by U.S. invasion troops.

Sources speaking to the newspaper on condition of anonymity for security reasons said ISIS has re-opened Mosul’s largest prison in Badoush, whose prisoners it set free when it occupied the city on June 10.

ISIS is forcing all groups and organizations in its areas to publicly declare allegiance to its leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi who has declared himself Caliph (supreme leader) of Muslims everywhere.

ISIS is the largest and most powerful group in the rebellion against the governments of both Iraq and Syria.

The arrested Iraqi officers, the sources said, were members of smaller armed groups who allied themselves with ISIS but now are at loggerheads with its policies.

Meanwhile, the government in Baghdad is reported to have launched its own campaign to arrest former Iraqi army officers in the city on suspicion of forming pro-ISIS cells, which it suspects would spring to action if the militants stormed the capital.

The Governor of Nineveh Province Atheel al-Najafi said ISIS wanted to send a message to everyone in its areas that it is the only source of power and those resisting its rule will be punished.

Najafi, who currently lives in the Kurdish city of Arbil after fleeing Mosul, said he believed that about 2,000 new recruits have joined ISIL since it spread its control over Mosul