Iraqi civilians, officials Reject ISIL’s ‘Caliphate’*
By Mohammed Al-Qaisi In Baghdad
Iraqi civilians and officials speaking with Mawtani rejected the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s” (ISIL) declaration on Sunday (June 29th) of a so-called “Islamic caliphate” extending from Iraq’s Diyala province to Syria’s Aleppo province.
The declaration has no chance of success or support, they told Mawtani.
ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani demanded in an audio recording Sunday that Muslims worldwide pledge allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, now to be known as “Caliph Ibrahim“.
Al-Adnani said ISIL is now to be known as the “Islamic State”.
The declaration is a “bad joke or the dreams of a madman who gives his orders to his equally insane followers”, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq told Mawtani.
“What state and what caliphate are they talking about?” he asked.
“Iraqi forces will crush anyone who wants to threaten the unity and security of Iraq.”
Iraqi civilians fled when ISIL took over their villages and towns, which shows that the people “reject them, their caliphate and their bloody approach, preferring to live in the desert rather than under their mercy,” al-Mutlaq said.
ISIL’s declaration is an attempt to cover up its losses and deceive youths into joining their group, said Ministry of Defence spokesman Mohammed al-Askari.
“ISIL’s declaration of a caliphate that stretches from Aleppo to Iraq will not happen and they know that,” he told Mawtani.
Baghdad resident Anas al-Hayali said he believes the declaration is an illusion and will have no impact on the ground.
“I have never heard, in the history of Muslims, of a self-appointed caliph who resorted to bloody force and asked the people to pledge allegiance to him without revealing himself or even introducing himself,” he said. “That is nonsense and lies.”
“If he is so sure about his [Islamic] state, let him show himself and walk in the street and announce himself rather than hiding and threatening with his madmen to kill us if we refuse to pledge allegiance to him,” al-Hayali said.
Fallujah engineer Wissam Ahmed said she questions the legitimacy of the declaration.
“Is the caliph able to pay the salaries of millions of people and would he be able to provide education, healthcare, electricity, water and everything else?” she asked. “I do not think so if he, himself is in hiding; this is crazy.”
“We are better off focusing on supporting the army’s operations to purge our country of them rather than speaking about this insane person,” Ahmed said.
Greater infighting among extremist groups
Former extremist Maajid Nawaz on Sunday tweeted that he believes ISIL’s declaration of an “Islamic caliphate” will “cause great infighting among jihadists”.
The proclamation is a declaration of a war to squash rebellion against al-Qaeda as well as a declaration of “jihad against the rest of the world”, said Nawaz, who founded counter-extremism think tank Quilliam.
In Syria, infighting between ISIL and rival extremist groups has already led to the death of hundreds and the displacement of tens of thousands.
For the “Islamic caliphate” to remain in place, ISIL would have to “liquidate other Islamist groups” and crush any attempt at revolt within the territories they control, AFP reported Mustafa al-Ani — of Dubai-based think tank Gulf Research Centre — as saying.
Al-Baghdadi’s Illegitimate Claim to Exalted Lineage
ISIL’s declaration of a caliphate with al-Baghdadi at its helm comes at a time when Iraqi citizens are questioning his legitimacy.
Iraqis told Mawtani last week that al-Baghdadi has been desperate to gain respect among extremist groups so he can improve his chances to become their “caliph”.
“Those who have knowledge of the caliphate system in Islam know that the candidate for the caliphate must be of known lineage and history and that he must be a cleric and scholar who is popular amongst Muslim and non-Muslim citizens alike, which is not the case with al-Baghdadi,” said Anbar province security advisor Fouad Ali al-Dulaimi.
All that is known of al-Baghdadi is that he was a failed student at an Islamic studies college, he told Mawtani.
Al-Baghdadi claims he is descended from Prophet Mohammed in an attempt to gain some legitimacy to his claim for the caliphate, genealogy scholar Hameed al-Jubury told Mawtani.
“In Iraq, tracing your ancestry back to the prophet is an honour that can only be claimed by someone whose bloodline actually goes back to the prophet, which is why we find al-Qaeda leaders hiding behind this lineage to win approval,” he said.
“As for al-Baghdadi, he hails from a modest family who never claimed to have roots in the prophet’s family,” al-Jubury said.
“He is trying to add religious and spiritual legitimacy to his position and as genealogists we have not come across anything that substantiates this claim.”
ISIL ‘War Crimes’
In the past, al-Baghdadi instigated a wave of animosity towards al-Qaeda and today, these sentiments centre on ISIL because of their crimes, said Sheikh Khaled al-Mulla, head of the Iraqi cabinet’s scholars committee.
“Al-Baghdadi has shown his true face as a terrorist who cannot be considered a leader of a small group, let alone an entire country!” al-Mulla told Mawtani.