New images have emerged from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria showing the jihadi group’s latest addition: police cars.
Mideast scholar Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, an Oxford University student and a fellow at the U.S.-based Middle East Forum who tracks militant groups in Syria and Iraq, shared images posted by militants showing ISIS’s efforts at governance and maintaining public order in the territories it controls in both countries under its hardline Shariah-driven principles, including beating those accused of not fasting during Ramadan and burning massive quantities of cigarettes.
This is the ISIS cop car from another angle:
In Syria, beating those who allegedly were not fasting during the current Muslim holy month of Ramadan:
A photo essay was posted online showing militants burning piles of cigarette cartons in Ninawa province in Iraq:
TheBlaze is unable to independently authenticate the images; however, their content tracks with reporting emerging from Iraq and Syria about ISIS’s efforts to solidify its territorial gains with administrative governance.
Aaron Zelin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and founder of the blog Jihadology.net described in the Atlantic last month the ways in which ISIS is winning “hearts and minds” on the ground. Among the changes it has introduced: an ISIS consumer protection office, an electricity office, transportation and road maintenance services and a post office.
“Through all of these offices and departments, ISIS is able to offer a semblance of stability in unstable and marginalized areas, even if many locals do not like its ideological program,” Zelin wrote.
In light of the group’s adherence to hardline Muslim theology, the governance program marks a stark change from the past. Zelin wrote:
The group also has a surprisingly sophisticated bureaucracy, which typically includes an Islamic court system and a roving police force. In the Syrian town of Manbij, for example, ISIS officials cut off the hands of four robbers. In Raqqa, they forced shops to close for selling poor products in the suq (market) as well as regular supermarkets and kebab stands—a move that was likely the work of its Consumer Protection Authority office. ISIS has also whipped individuals for insulting their neighbors, confiscated and destroyed counterfeit medicine, and on multiple occasions summarily executed and crucified individuals for apostasy. Members have burned cartons of cigarettes and destroyed shrines and graves, including the famous Uways al-Qarani shrine in Raqqa.
Zelin explained that despite the Taliban’s reluctance to vaccinate, ISIS conducts polio vaccination campaigns to thwart the spread of the disease, portending perhaps a move into providing medical services.