Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Islamic State militants who last week captured the Mosul Dam, Iraq’s largest, had one demand for workers: Keep it going.
Arriving in their Toyota pickup trucks, armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and wearing a patchwork of military uniforms, robes and turbans, jubilant militants from the al-Qaeda breakaway group told workers hiding in management offices they would get their salaries as long as the dam continued to produce electricity for the region under their control, according to a technician who was at the dam when nearly 500 militants drove off Kurdish troops.
Islamic State’s rampage through northern Iraq has inspired terror as stories spread of beheadings and crucifixions. At the same time, its fighters are capturing the strategic assets needed to fund the Islamic caliphate it announced in June and strengthen its grip on the territory already captured.
“These extremists are not just mad,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center in Qatar. “There’s a method to their madness, because they’ve managed to amass cash and natural resources, both oil and water, the two most important things. And of course they are going to use those as a way of continuing to grow and strengthen.”
The Mosul dam, 50km north of Mosul, Iraq.
Iraq’s Brittle Nationhood
The dam is the most important asset the group captured since taking Nineveh province in June. The group controls several oil and gas fields in western Iraq and eastern Syria, generating millions of dollars in daily revenue.
Credit to Bloomberg