The Islamic extremist group that has captured several Iraqi cities and pushed the country into chaos has now begun issuing a "code of conduct" to all residents living in the seized territories, which are now under strict Islamic control.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), a terror group bent on establishing a radical Islamic sate throughout the region, has begun issuing a 16-point set of guidelines to residents of Mosul and other Iraqi cities where the group has taken hold.
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The code of conduct "relies on the sharia," a radical interpretation of Islamic law, "and denounces the laws that existed thus far under the [U.S.-backed] Al-Maliki government, which it calls ‘the infidel Shi'ite government," according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which translated the document for reporters.
Meanwhile, reports have emerged in recent days that a top Iranian military commander is in Baghdad making preparation to defend the city from ISIL, which has already coordinated a "March on Baghdad" campaign to seize the city and fully depose the ruling U.S.-backed government there.
ISIL claims to have received in recent days "additional manpower, funds, weapons and military vehicles of all kinds," according to a separate announcement also translated by MEMRI.
The recent code of conduct issued by ISIL provides one of the clearest windows into the terror group’s thinking and plans for the future.
It seeks "to reassure the locals and minimize opposition from them, while also keeping them in line," according to MEMRI. The document goes on to praise ISIL’s military victories and tout progress on "the path to establishing the Islamic Caliphate."
"The introduction states that ISIL's goal is one: ‘to enact the law of Allah worldwide, expand the influence of the sharia, and uproot the laws of the jungle from Muslim lands,’" according to MEMRI’s translation.
All members of the "apostate" Iraqi security forces who do not "repent" will "face the death penalty," according to the ISIL document.
Iraqi citizens now living under ISIL rule are additionally encouraged "not to cooperate with the Al-Maliki government, whose heresy has become apparent," according to MEMRI.
ISIL goes on to admit in the document to freeing Iraqi prisoners who were locked in local jails. The group vows to inflame ethnic tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims living in Iraq, a move that could push the country into a full-fledged civil war.
ISIL promises "to topple the regime that oppressed the people," and promises to remove "the Shi'ite serpents that have wrapped around the necks of the [Sunni] Muslims," according to MEMRI’s translation of the code of conduct.
All Iraqi citizens who embrace ISIL’ extremist brand of Islam will be protected, according to the document, which states: "Those who until yesterday bore a grudge against us today become safe citizens, unless they turn their backs [to us] or slander [us], or renounce Islam."
Meanwhile, a top military leader with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is reportedly stationed in Baghdad to help protect the city from ISIL attacks.
IRGC's Quds Force Commander Qasem Suleimani is currently coordinating "preparations to defend the city," according to multiple reports from those on the ground in Iraq.
Iranian leaders have vowed in recent days not to stand by as its neighbor Iraq comes under attack, creating the possibility that the chaos will spill over Iraq’s borders and possibly ignite the region.
A showdown in Baghdad could be coming in the next days, potentially forcing the White House to decide if U.S. intervention is necessary to protect Iraq.
ISIL’s "March on Baghdad" campaign involves "intensified attacks on government forces and Shi’ite militias in the Iraqi capital and its environs," according to MEMRI, which translated excerpts from an announcement about the campaign.
ISIL also sent a warning to Iran in its statement: ""We say to the Safavid [i.e., Iranian-controlled] government and its parties, militias, and security apparatuses: be aware that tragedies will befall you in the coming days, Allah willing."
U.S. lawmakers have expressed great concern about the situation in recent days and lashed out at the Obama administration for saying and doing very little to help get the conflict under control.
"It is clear that we need a new strategy in Iraq and across the Middle East," Rep. Buck McKeon (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement issued Friday.
"The president had hoped that as America stepped back from the world, other responsible actors would step forward to provide stability. That hasn’t worked. It isn’t going to work," McKeon said. "Our vacillation and inaction in Syira, abandonment of Iraq, politically driven withdrawal from Afghanistan, and senseless cuts to national security resources has allowed the resurrection of a transnational terrorist threat. These extremists now have unprecedented wealth, technology, and a safe haven from which to launch attacks on the United States. They must be stopped."