As life returns to an uneasy version of normal in Mosul, the response from local residents to the city’s capture by ISIS, a radical Islamist group, has been surprisingly positive. Multiple Sunni residents inside Mosul who spoke with The Daily Beast by phone reported being glad to be rid of the predominantly Shia government security forces, and so far pleased with life under the ISIS occupation. That may change soon if ISIS begins to rule with the brutality they have displayed in Syria, but by keeping the residents of Mosul happy for now ISIS is buying time to increase its power and local support, which will make things even harder for the Baghdad government if it tries to take the city back.
In response to the recent news from Mosul, an Iraqi citizen recalled the story of a friend from Diyala Province. “He told me, ‘It was the same for us in 2007. We were very happy when ISIS took over the area and drove the Iraq Army out and at first they behaved very well. It was only after a month that they started killing us.’”
One sign of local support for ISIS in Mosul is that many Sunni families who fled the initial fighting are streaming back into the city and, according to sources there, are happy to see the Iraqi Army gone.