Purpose: Although we have tendency to think that authoritarian governments are dying or is a concept of the past, this current article shows us, that almost overnight the way of live can change for those living in unstable parts of the world.
- Read the article â€œThe ISIS filesâ€ (Links to an external site.) from the New York Times which is found at the end of the instructions.
- Analyze the article in terms of the features of Authoritarianism shown below. In other words, for each of the twelve features presented you have to show how each specific feature is evident in the ISIS article. Write a document where you list one feature at time, followed by your analysis of how that feature is exemplified in the article. Be concrete and specific in your answer, and write the analysis for someone who has not read the article.
Important Features of Authoritarianism:
A.R. Ball, specifies the following features of Authoritarianism or Authoritarian state:
- Limitations on Political Process: Important limitations are imposed on open political process, political parties and elections.
- Use of an Ideology: Ideological principles like racialism or fundamentalism or nationalism often provide some basis for the exercise of state power over the people.
- Rulers determine all decisions: The rulers and not the people determine all decisions.
- Dependence on Coercion and Force: Authoritarian rulers mostly use force and coercion to command political uniformity and obedience.
- Less importance to Rights and Liberties: Civil liberties enjoy a low priority. Governmental control over judiciary and mass media is direct and considered justified in the interest of public good.
- Authoritarianism can involve Family rule or Military rule: The basis for rule is found either in traditional family elite or in a new modernizing group, often the army, which seizes power by a coup.
- A Small Group uses all the powers: Under authoritarianism, one group monopolies political power and control.
- Based on Power and Manipulations: Manipulations, suppressions and coercion constitute the basis of the power of the rulers.
- Bureaucracy as the main tool of the rule of the rulers: The rulers use bureaucracy and police as the instruments of their control over the people.
- Centralization of authority in a few hands: Centralization of authority is practiced and very often an attempt is made to cover this centralism with the cloak of power-sharing among several political groups who are, however, totally loyal to the ruling group/leader.
- Use of Propaganda: Legitimacy for the rulers’ authority is secured through declarations, manipulations and propaganda or by the use of the ideology of peace, development and security.
- Rulers Control Public Opinion: In an authoritarian system, public opinion is controlled. Only that opinion is allowed to move in society as is deemed favorable for the authority of the ruling group or rulers. In an authoritarian state, the individual and social life is largely controlled by the state i.e. by the government of the state and which is formed by one party or group.
The above material was taken from http://www.preservearticles.com/2014071933479/12-important-features-of-authoritarianism-explained.html (Links to an external site.) for educational purposes.
In addition to the documentary in part A of this assignment, the PowerPoint presentation of the chapter on socioeconomic ideologies has links to more than 10 videos (some short, some a little longer – click on dark blue words spread throughout the presentation). Please select any threevideos and for each one write three bits of knowledge you have gained from it. Make sure you properly identify each video and distinctly communicate the three important concepts you learned from watching it. Here is the presentation for the chapter:
Note: Please double check your work before submission. Submission of empty files, corrupted files or wrong assignments (from other courses) are considered late until you submit the right file. The instructor usually takes three days to grade an assignment but under no circumstances it will take more than one week.
Article: The ISIS Files
The ISIS Files. By Rukmini CallimachiPhotographs by Ivor PrickettApril 4, 2018
On five trips to battle-scarred Iraq, journalists for The New York Times scoured old Islamic State offices, gathering thousands of files abandoned by the militants as their â€˜caliphateâ€™ crumbled.
Weeks after the militants seized the city, as fighters roamed the streets and religious extremists rewrote the laws, an order rang out from the loudspeakers of local mosques.Public servants, the speakers blared, were to report to their former offices.
To make sure every government worker got the message, the militants followed up with phone calls to supervisors. When one tried to beg off, citing a back injury, he was told: â€œIf you donâ€™t show up, weâ€™ll come and break your back ourselves.â€
The phone call reached Muhammad Nasser Hamoud, a 19-year veteran of the Iraqi Directorate of Agriculture, behind the locked gate of his home, where he was hiding with his family. Terrified but unsure what else to do, he and his colleagues trudged back to their six-story office complex decorated with posters of seed hybrids.
They arrived to find chairs lined up in neat rows, as if for a lecture. The commander who strode in sat facing the room, his leg splayed out so that everyone could see the pistol holstered to his thigh. For a moment, the only sounds were the hurried prayers of the civil servants mumbling under their breath.
Their fears proved unfounded. Though he spoke in a menacing tone, the commander had a surprisingly tame request: Resume your jobs immediately, he told them. A sign-in sheet would be placed at the entrance to each department. Those who failed to show up would be punished
Meetings like this one occurred throughout the territory controlled by the Islamic State in 2014. Soon municipal employees were back fixing potholes, painting crosswalks, repairing power lines and overseeing payroll.â€œWe had no choice but to go back to work,â€ said Mr. Hamoud. â€œWe did the same job as before. Except we were now serving a terrorist group.â€
The disheveled fighters who burst out of the desert more than three years ago founded a state that was acknowledged by no one except themselves. And yet for nearly three years, the Islamic State controlled a stretch of land that at one point was the size of Britain (Links to an external site.), with a population estimated at 12 million people (Links to an external site.). At its peak, it included a 100-mile coastline in Libya, a section of Nigeriaâ€™s lawless forests and a city in the Philippines, as well as colonies in at least 13 other countries. By far the largest city under their rule was Mosul.
How Far ISIS Spread Across Iraq and
Syria and Where Itâ€™s Still Holding On
Since declaring a caliphate in 2014, the Islamic State has controlled large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. But after the group retreated from Mosul and Raqqa in 2017, it lost nearly all of its territory.
Nearly all of that territory has now been lost, but what the militants left behind helps answer the troubling question of their longevity: How did a group whose spectacles of violence galvanized the world against it hold onto so much land for so long?
Part of the answer can be found in more than 15,000 pages of internal Islamic State documents I recovered during five trips to Iraq over more than a year.The documents were pulled from the drawers of the desks behind which the militants once sat, from the shelves of their police stations, from the floors of their courts, from the lockers of their training camps and from the homes of their emirs, including this record detailing the jailing of a 14-year-old boy for goofing around during prayer.
The New York Times worked with outside experts to verify their authenticity, and a team of journalists spent 15 months translating and analyzing them page by page. Individually, each piece of paper documents a single, routine interaction: A land transfer between neighbors. The sale of a ton of wheat. A fine for improper dress.
But taken together, the documents in the trove reveal the inner workings of a complex system of government. They show that the group, if only for a finite amount of time, realized its dream: to establish its own state, a theocracy they considered a caliphate, run according to their strict interpretation of Islam.
The world knows the Islamic State for its brutality, but the militants did not rule by the sword alone. They wielded power through two complementary tools: brutality and bureaucracy.
ISIS built a state of administrative efficiency that collected taxes and picked up the garbage. It ran a marriage office that oversaw medical examinations to ensure that couples could have children. It issued birth certificates â€” printed on Islamic State stationery â€” to babies born under the caliphateâ€™s black flag. It even ran its own D.M.V.
The documents and interviews with dozens of people who lived under their rule show that the group at times offered better services and proved itself more capable than the government it had replaced. They also suggest that the militants learned from mistakes the United States made in 2003 after it invaded Iraq, including the decision to purge members of Saddam Husseinâ€™s ruling party from their positions and bar them from future employment. That decree (Links to an external site.)succeeded in erasing the Baathist state, but also gutted the countryâ€™s civil institutions, creating the power vacuum that groups like ISIS rushed to fill
A little more than a decade later, after seizing huge tracts of Iraq and Syria, the militants tried a different tactic. They built their state on the back of the one that existed before, absorbing the administrative know-how of its hundreds of government cadres. An examination of how the group governed reveals a pattern of collaboration between the militants and the civilians under their yoke. One of the keys to their success was their diversified revenue stream. The group drew its income from so many strands of the economy that airstrikes alone were not enough to cripple it.
Ledgers, receipt books and monthly budgets describe how the militants monetized every inch of territory they conquered, taxing every bushel of wheat, every liter of sheepâ€™s milk and every watermelon sold at markets they controlled. From agriculture alone, they reaped hundreds of millions of dollars. Contrary to popular perception, the group was self-financed, not dependent on external donors
More surprisingly, the documents provide further evidence that the tax revenue the Islamic State earned far outstripped income from oil sales. It was daily commerce and agriculture â€” not petroleum â€” that powered the economy of the caliphate. The United States-led coalition, trying to eject the Islamic State from the region, tried in vain to strangle the group by bombing its oil installations. Itâ€™s much harder to bomb a barley field. It was not until last summer that the militants abandoned Mosul, after a battle so intense that it was compared to the worst combat of World War II.
While the militantsâ€™ state eventually crumbled, its blueprint remains for others to use.â€œWe dismiss the Islamic State as savage. It is savage. We dismiss it as barbaric. It is barbaric. But at the same time these people realized the need to maintain institutions,â€ said Fawaz A. Gerges, author of â€œISIS: A History (Links to an external site.).â€
â€œThe Islamic Stateâ€™s capacity to govern is really as dangerous as their combatants,â€ he said
Land for the Taking
The day after the meeting, Mr. Hamoud, a Sunni, returned to work and found that his department was now staffed 100 percent by Sunnis, the sect of Islam practiced by the militants. The Shia and Christian colleagues who previously shared his office had all fled.
For a while, Mr. Hamoud and the employees he supervised at the agriculture department went on much as they had before. Even the stationery they used was the same, though they were instructed to use a marker to cover up the Iraqi governmentâ€™s logo.But the long-bearded men who now oversaw Mr. Hamoudâ€™s department had come with a plan, and they slowly began to enact it.
For generations, jihadists had dreamed of establishing a caliphate. Osama bin Laden frequently spoke of it (Links to an external site.) and his affiliates experimented with governing in the dunes of Mali (Links to an external site.), in the badlands of Yemen (Links to an external site.) and in pockets of Iraq. Their goal was to recreate the society that existed over a millennium ago during the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
In Mosul, what had been called the Directorate of Agriculture was renamed Diwan al-Zeraâ€™a,which can be translated as the Ministry of Agriculture. The term â€œdiwanâ€ harks back to the seventh-century rule of one of the earliest caliphs. ISIS printed new letterhead that showed it had branded at least 14 administrative offices with â€œdiwan,â€ renaming familiar ones like education and health. Then it opened diwans for things that people had not heard of: something called the hisba, which they soon learned was the feared morality police; another diwan for the pillaging of antiquities; yet another dedicated to â€œwar spoils.â€
What began as a cosmetic change in Mr. Hamoudâ€™s office soon turned into a wholesale transformation. The militants sent female employees home for good and closed the day care center. They shuttered the officeâ€™s legal department, saying disputes would now be handled according to Godâ€™s law alone. And they did away with one of the departmentâ€™s daily duties â€” checking an apparatus, placed outside, to measure precipitation. Rain, they said, was a gift from Allah â€” and who were they to measure his gift?
Employees were also told they could no longer shave, and they had to make sure the leg of their trousers did not reach the ankle.Glossy pamphlets, like the one below, pinpointed the spot on the calf where the hem of the garb worn by the companions of the Prophet around 1,400 years ago was said to have reached.Eventually, the 57-year-old Hamoud, who wears his hair in a comb-over and prides himself on his professional appearance, stopped buying razors. He took out the slacks he wore to work and asked his wife to trim off 5 centimeters.
But the biggest change came five months into the groupâ€™s rule, and it turned the hundreds of employees who had reluctantly returned to work into direct accomplices of the Islamic State. The change involved the very department Mr. Hamoud headed, which was responsible for renting government-owned land to farmers.
To increase revenue, the militants ordered the agriculture department to speed up the process for renting land, streamlining a weekslong application into something that could be accomplished in an afternoon.That was just the beginning.
It was then that government workers got word that they should begin renting out property that had never belonged to the government. The instructions were laid out in a 27-page manual emblazoned with the phrase â€œThe Caliphate on the Path of Prophecy.â€ The handbook outlined the groupâ€™s plans for seizing property from the religious groups it had expelled and using it as the seed capital of the caliphate.
â€œConfiscation,â€ the manual says, will be applied to the property of every single â€œShia, apostate, Christian, Nusayri and Yazidi based on a lawful order issued directly by the Ministry of the Judiciary.â€ Islamic State members are exclusively Sunni and see themselves as the only true believers. Mr. Hamoudâ€™s office was instructed to make a comprehensive list of the properties owned by non-Sunnis â€” and to seize them for redistribution.
The confiscation didnâ€™t stop at the land and homes of the families they chased out. An entire ministry was set up to collect and reallocate beds, tables, bookshelves â€” even the forks the militants took from the houses they seized. They called it the Ministry of War Spoils. It was housed in a stone-faced building in western Mosul that was hit by an airstrike in the battle to retake the city. The ensuing fire consumed the structure and blackened its walls. But the charred shapes left behind still told a story. Each room served as a warehouse for ordinary household objects: kerosene heaters in one; cooking ranges in another; a jumble of air coolers and water tanks in yet another.
The few papers that did not burn up showed how objects seized from the religious groups they had chased out were offered as rewards to ISIS fighters. â€œPlease kindly approve the request of the family of the late Brother Durayd Salih Khalaf,â€ says one letter written on the letterhead of the Islamic Stateâ€™s Prisoners and Martyrs Affairs Authority. The request was for a stove and a washing machine. A note scribbled at the bottom says: â€œTo be provided with a plasma TV and stove only.â€
Another application from the General Telecommunications Authority requested, among other things, clothes hangers. The Islamic Stateâ€™s promise of taking care of its own, including free housing for foreign recruits, was one of the draws of the caliphate.
â€œIâ€™m in Mosul and itâ€™s really the top here,â€ Kahina el-Hadra, a young Frenchwoman who joined the group in 2015, wrote in an email that year to her secondary school teacher, according to a transcript contained in a report by the Paris Criminal Brigade, which was obtained by The Times. â€œI have an apartment that is fully furnished,â€ Ms. Hadra gushed. â€œI pay no rent nor even electricity or water lol. Itâ€™s the good life!!! I didnâ€™t buy so much as a single fork.â€
When her concerned teacher wrote back that the apartment had probably been stolen from another family, she shot back: â€œServes them right, dirty Shia!!!â€ Ms. Hadra, according to police records, was the pregnant wife of one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up in the packed Bataclan concert hall (Links to an external site.) during the Paris attacks of 2015.
The Paper Trail
I got into the habit of digging through the trash left behind by terrorists (Links to an external site.) in 2013, when I was reporting on Al Qaeda in Mali. Locals pointed out buildings the group had occupied in the deserts of Timbuktu. Beneath overturned furniture and in abandoned filing cabinets, I found letters the militants had hand-carried across the dunes that spelled out their vision of jihad.
Those documents revealed the inner workings of Al Qaeda, and years later I wanted to investigate the Islamic State in the same way.When the coalition forces moved to take Mosul back from the militants in late 2016, I rushed to Iraq. For three weeks, I tried â€” and failed â€” to find any documents. Day after day, my team negotiated access to buildings painted with the Islamic State logo, only to find desk drawers jutting out and hard drives ripped out.
Then, the day before my return flight, we met a man who remembered seeing stacks of paper inside the provincial headquarters of the Islamic Stateâ€™s Ministry of Agriculture in a small village called Omar Khan, 25 miles southeast of the city. The next day we traveled to the town, no more than a speck on the map of the Nineveh Plains, and entered House No. 47.
My heart sank as we pushed open the door and saw the closets flung open â€” a clear sign that the place had already been cleared.
But on the way out, I stopped at what seemed to be an outhouse. When we opened the door, we saw piles of yellow folders cinched together with twine and stacked on the floor. We pulled one out, laid it open in the sun â€” and there was the unmistakable black banner of the Islamic State, the flag they claim (Links to an external site.) was flown by the Prophet himself.
Folder after folder, 273 in all, identified plots of land owned by farmers who belonged to one of the faiths banned by the group. Each yellow sleeve contained the handwritten request of a Sunni applying to confiscate the property. Doing so involved a step-by-step process, beginning with a report by a surveyor, who mapped the plot, noted important topographical features and researched the propertyâ€™s ownership. Once it was determined that the land was owned by one of the targeted groups, it was classified as property of the Islamic State. Then a contract was drawn up spelling out that the tenant could neither sublet the land nor modify it without the groupâ€™s permission.
The outhouse discovery taught me to stay off the beaten track. I learned to read the landscape for clues, starting with Ø¨Ø§Ù‚ÙŠØ© â€” â€œbaqiyaâ€ â€” the first word of the Islamic State slogan. It can be translated as â€œwill remain,â€ and marked the buildings the group occupied, invoking its claim that the Islamic State will endure. Once we confirmed that a building had been occupied by the group, we lifted up the mattresses and pulled back the headboards of beds. We rifled through the closets, opened kitchen cupboards, followed the stairs to the roof and scanned the grounds.
The danger of land mines and booby-traps hung over our team. In one villa, we found a collection of records â€” but could search only one set of rooms after security forces discovered an unexploded bomb. Because the buildings were near the front lines, Iraqi security forces nearly always accompanied our team. They led the way and gave permission to take the documents. In time, the troops escorting us became our sources and they, in turn, shared what they found, augmenting our cache by hundreds of records.
The Times asked six analysts to examine portions of the trove, including Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, who maintains his own archive (Links to an external site.) of Islamic State documents and has written a primer on how to identify fraudulent ones; Mara Revkin, a Yale scholar who has made repeated trips to Mosul to study the groupâ€™s administration (Links to an external site.); and a team of analysts at West Pointâ€™s Combating Terrorism Center (Links to an external site.) who analyzed the records found in Bin Ladenâ€™s hide-out in Pakistan.
They deemed the records to be original, based on the markings, logos and stamps, as well as the names of government offices. The terminology and design were consistent with those found on documents issued by the group in other parts of the caliphate, including as far afield as Libya. As lease after lease was translated back in New York, the same signature inked at the bottom of numerous contracts kept reappearing: â€œChief Technical Supervisor, Mahmoud Ismael Salim, Supervisor of Land.â€
On my first trip back to Iraq, I showed the leases to a local police officer. He recognized the angular signature and offered to escort me to the home of the ISIS bureaucrat. The officer shrugged when asked why a man who had taken part in the groupâ€™s organized land theft had not been arrested. His men were overwhelmed investigating those who had fought and killed on behalf of the terrorist group, he said. They didnâ€™t have time to also go after the hundreds of civil servants who had worked in the Islamic Stateâ€™s administration.
Hours later, the man whose signature appeared on the lease for farmland seized from a Christian priest, on the contract for the orchards taken from a monastery, and on the deed for land stolen from a Shia family allowed us into his modest home. The only decoration in his living room was a broken clock whose hand trembled between 10:43 and 10:44.
A stooped man with thick glasses, the 63-year-old Salim was visibly nervous. He explained that he had spent years overseeing the provincial office of the government of Iraqâ€™s Directorate of Agriculture, where he reported to Mr. Hamoud, whom we contacted for the first time a few days later.
Mr. Salim acknowledged that it was his signature on the leases. But speaking haltingly, he claimed to have been forcibly conscripted into the bureaucracy of the terrorist state.â€œThey took our files and started going through them, searching which of the properties belong to Shia, which of them belong to apostates, which of them are people who had left the caliphate,â€ he said.
He described informants phoning in the addresses of Shias and Christians. Sunnis who were too poor to pay the rent upfront were offered a sharecropping agreement with the Islamic State, allowing them to take possession of the stolen land in return for one-third of the future harvest.
On busy days, a line snaked around his office building, made up of Sunni farmers, many of them resentful of their treatment at the hands of a Shia-led Iraqi government. In the same compound where we found the stacks of yellow folders, Mr. Salim received men he knew, whose children had played with his. They came to steal the land of other men they all knew â€” whose children had also grown up alongside theirs.
With the stroke of his pen, farmers lost their ancestorsâ€™ cropland, their sons were robbed of their inheritance and the wealth of entire families, built up over generations, was wiped out. â€œThese are relationships we built over decades, from the time of my father, and my fatherâ€™s father,â€ Mr. Salim said, pleading for understanding. â€œThese were my brothers, but we were forced to do it.â€
A Clean Sweep
As 2014 blurred into 2015 and Mr. Hamoud and his colleagues helped keep the machinery of government running, Islamic State soldiers set out to remake every aspect of life in the city â€” starting with the role of women. Billboards went up showing an image of a woman fully veiled. The militants commandeered a textile factory, which began manufacturing bales of regulation-length female clothing. Soon thousands of niqab sets (Links to an external site.) were delivered to the market, and women who didnâ€™t cover up began to be fined.
Mr. Hamoud, who is known as â€œAbu Sara,â€ or Father of Sara, gave in and bought a niqab for his daughter. As he walked to and from work, Mr. Hamoud began taking side streets to dodge the frequent executions that were being carried out in traffic circles and public squares. In one, a teenage girl accused of adultery was dragged out of a minivan and forced to her knees. Then a stone slab was dropped onto her head. On a bridge, the bodies of people accused of being spies swung from the railing.
But on the same thoroughfares, Mr. Hamoud noticed something that filled him with shame: The streets were visibly cleaner than they had been when the Iraqi government was in charge. Omar Bilal Younes, a 42-year-old truck driver whose occupation allowed him to crisscross the caliphate, noticed the same improvement. â€œGarbage collection was No. 1 under ISIS,â€ he said, flashing a thumbs-up sign.
The street sweepers hadnâ€™t changed. What had was that the militants imposed a discipline that had been lacking, said a half-dozen sanitation employees who worked under ISIS and who were interviewed in three towns after the group was forced out.
â€œThe only thing I could do during the time of government rule is to give a worker a one-day suspension without pay,â€ said Salim Ali Sultan, who oversaw garbage collection both for the Iraqi government and later for the Islamic State in the northern Iraqi town of Tel Kaif. â€œUnder ISIS, they could be imprisoned.â€ Residents also said that their taps were less likely to run dry, the sewers less likely to overflow and potholes fixed more quickly under the militants, even though there were now near-daily airstrikes.
Then one day, residents of Mosul saw earthmovers heading toward a neighborhood called the Industrial Area in the eastern half of the city. Laborers were seen paving a new blacktop road that would eventually run for roughly one mile, connecting two areas of the city and reducing congestion.