Sunni militant groups in Iraq ordered to swear allegiance to ISIS

BBC News reports: The radical al-Qaeda offshoot Isis has told other Sunni rebel groups which joined the uprising in Iraq to swear an oath of allegiance and give up arms.

The group declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria it controls and changed its name to the Islamic State.

Other rebel groups are trapped between the Islamic State which has taken over their areas, and a Shia-dominated government they are fighting against.

The Islamic State has suppressed other groups in parts of Syria it controls.

It has imposed a monopoly of its rule, by force if need be.

Most recently, it took over the important town of al-Bu Kamal controlling the Syrian side of the main border crossing with Iraq after three days of violent clashes with other Syrian rebel groups. It is now reported to be manning checkpoints and detaining suspected rivals.

Now, the same process of monopolising control seems to be under way in Iraq.

The other Sunni rebel groups, made up of former Iraqi military personnel, tribal elements and adherents of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party, face a dilemma.

Tribal and rebel military sources say that after two days of talks in Mosul, they have been told that they must take an oath of allegiance to the new caliphate, and that only fighters from the Islamic State are allowed to bear arms.

Even if they take the oath, other fighters will still have to hand in their weapons.

As one senior rebel source put it, “our revolution has been hijacked”.

But he said the other groups did not intend to engage in what they believed would be a losing battle with the Islamic State, which is rapidly consolidating its grip on the mainly Sunni areas that fell to its advance three weeks ago.

The non-Isis rebels are dismayed, and bitter that the Americans, who are giving $500m (£290m) to similar rebel groups in Syria, regard them as terrorists because they joined the insurgency against the US forces here, but later fought and expelled al-Qaeda. [Continue reading…]

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