Caliphate of ISIS seems to be a coalition of at least two strange bedfellows:
One is an offshoot of Al Qaeda, the AQI that was once led by Jordanian terrorist Abu Mes’ab Al Zarqawi. Zarqawi plagued Iraq for a few years with acts that were gruesome even by the standards of Iraq’s bloody history. He hailed from Zarqa, another humorless town in Jordan, hence his Jihadi nom de guerre (they usually add the hometown or home country of the cutthroat as a last name). Al Zarqa in Jordan was proud of her native son, even as he terrorized Iraqi peasants and townsfolk, especially Shi’as whom he publicly called a snake (coincidentally the late Saudi King Abdullah had urged the U.S. to cut the head of the snake by attacking or invading Iran, according to Wikileaks documents).
Zarqawi was a celebrity in his hometown, and he was eulogized extensively in that grim town after the Americans delivered his just deserts in 2006. But hero-worshipping Zarqawi had suddenly started being frowned upon in Jordan after the Jihadis blew up several hotels and killed a bunch of people in Amman. One of the terrorists survived because she had a wardrobe malfunction, literally, and her explosives didn’t detonate (Sajida Al Rishawai who was executed in Jordan last week).
The other major component of this Caliphate, inside Iraq, consists of former Baathists. These are generals and colonels and lower military men who deserted Baghdad when the Americans attacked in 2003 and vanished for safety (long before Paul Bremer officially disbanded the old Iraqi army, that army had disbanded itself and deserted without fighting for Baghdad or any other town). These also include security men, experts at interrogation, terror, and torture. It is probably these Baathists who are the major link to the tribes of Al Anbar and to former rank and file men of the old armed forces. Iraqi Sunnis, even the tribal types of the border regions, traditionally are not of the Wahhabi Al-Qaeda type mindset, most of them are/were rather secular (by Muslim standards). Could it be a marriage of convenience? It could, but for how long? It certainly will not survive the loss/fall of Mosul, whenever that happens.
Then there are the foreigners and their women be they Arabs or Europeans. Their case is obvious: it takes dedicated Wahhabism or dedicated birdbrains or both to buy the stuff these people spread over the various media.
Then there are the outsiders, the enablers and financiers of the campaign of terror. These hail mainly from Arab states, especially the Gulf states, and the Islamist rulers of Turkey and its military, who have for years allowed all foreign Jihadis to cross the border into Syria. An apparent silent alliance of Turkish officials and the Caliphate. Even as some fools in the U.S. Senate and Congress agonize over whether Turkey will be willing to actively join a coalition against the Caliphate of terror. Not realizing that Turkey, like some Arabs, has been in this war for a few years. On the other side.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum