IS/Caliphate had a big weekend:
The armed movement, which has surged in wealth, manpower and resources in recent weeks, also just took the town of Wana on Sunday, according to The Washingon Post‘s Loveday Morris. The Islamic State routed a once-proud Kurdish army and forced an exodus of Kurds the United Nations said numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Calling the situation a “humanitarian tragedy,” a top U.N. envoy to Iraq said in a statement that their expulsion was “dire.”
“People were terrified,” Ilias al-Hussani, 27, told the Post. “They are savages. We’ve seen what they’ve done to people of their own faith. Imagine what they would do to us non-Muslims.”
Equally worrisome is what the Islamic State, led by the enigmatic and mysterious Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will do with the Mosul Dam, which it may soon seize — if it hasn’t already.
I’m not exactly eager to learn what happens if IS/Caliphate blows that dam.
The Kurds — our friends despite a century of neglecting their interests with gusto — seem to have fallen remarkably quickly. It’s doubtful they’ll give up the fight, if only because they’re skilled guerrilla mountain fighters and this stuff comes naturally to them. But for now at least, it looks like the dream of an independent Kurdistan is all but dead.
In the Syrian town of Raqqa, called the Islamic State’s capital, the movement governs with an austere, barbaric but orderly hand. According to this telling New York Times piece, for which a reporter spent six days interviewing residents, crime is rare, traffic cops keep the streets moving and tax collectors are organized. Those accused of theft have also lost hands. It’s a glimpse of what may be coming to the rest of the captured territory, a nation-sized swath of terrain spilling across borders.
But it’s not just the land itself. It’s what the land holds that suggests the true extent of the Islamic State’s power. It “now controls a volume of resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations,” wrote defense expert Janine Davidson of the Council of Foreign Relations.
They’re growing in size and resources, and they’re serious about sharia. How serious are they about exporting terror? Let’s hope we don’t find out the hard way.