The group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has taken issue with fellow Sunnis who do not pledge allegiance to their Islamic State (IS). According to reports, the IS has told other Sunni jihadist groups that they must at once swear an oath of allegiance and lay down their arms.
Other Sunni groups in Iraq, made up of former Baath regime military officers, now seemingly have to declare allegiance to the Islamic State or face off against them. Tribal and military sources told the BBC that they had been told to take an oath to the new Caliphate. In addition, only the Islamic State fighters would be allowed to carry weapons. “Our revolution has been hijacked,” said one source.
A Sunni rebel fighter said his group did not plan on encountering the IS fighters head-on, but instead would change its tactics. “We will not take the oath of allegiance (to IS), and we will not hand over our weapons – we will hide them,” he said. “But we can’t fight ISIS, it is too strong and it would be a losing battle. We give in. But we will remain active in Baghdad, where ISIS doesn’t have a presence.”
Sources on the ground in Iraq told the BBC that young men are being paid $500 dollars to join the IS. The young jihadis are then fast-tracked through an intensive month-long program, one that includes two weeks of military training and two weeks of Islamic education before they are to join their comrades on the battlefield.
Other Sunni groups have demanded that the IS rescind its announcement of a Caliphate.
According to the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI):
Those who announced it did not consult the sons of Iraq, or their leaders. It is not in the interest of Iraq and its unity now, and will be taken as an excuse to partition the country and harm the people. The prerequisites for success need to be prepared – failure will rebound on everybody. None of this has been done, so the oath of allegiance and the situation are not binding on anyone.
Within hours of the statement, the AMSI website was hacked by individuals friendly to the Islamic State. They declared that the group should now be called “the Association of Muslim Surrenderers.”