The Islamic State terror group (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has taken to attacking the tribal structures in both Iraq and Syria, hoping to stave off any attempts to challenge its authority in the regions controlled by the jihadist outfit. The successfully-implemented tactics have reportedly created an environment where resistance and dissent is rare and futile.
ISIS has carried out mass killings as a show of force, and have also attempted to bribe the tribal leaders through gifts such as cars and pet food, the Associated Press reports.
“They offer many sweeteners,” a tribal leader explained. “They go to the tribes and say, ‘Why are you fighting against Muslims? We’ll give you weapons and carws and guns, and we’ll fight together.'” He continued, “They offer diesel and fuel. They bring barley and animal feed from Iraq. They build wells at their own expense for the tribes and they say, ‘Others have neglected your needs.'”
There are still Sunni tribes such as the Shammars, who have teamed with the Kurdish Peshmerga to battle ISIS jihadis. However, they are more an exception than the rule. The AP reported that both the U.S. and Iraqi governments have created a new program that gives cash incentives for Iraqi tribesmen who are willing to fight the jihadist groups, but the program has yet to be fully instituted. Furthermore, no such program is in the works in Syria.
Hassan Hassan of the Abu Dhabi-based Delma Institute explained to the AP: “there are people who want to go back and fight them… But the circumstances now mean that you can’t provoke ISIS because the strategy they’ve followed and tactics are to prevent any revolt from inside.”
Haian Dukhan, a researcher at the University of St. Andrews Center for Syrian Studies, told the AP, bluntly, “I think that for the time being, seeing large-scale uprising against [the Islamic State] is just a fantasy.”
Another obstacle at hand is that many of the Islamic State militants come from the tribes, and still consider themselves part of the institutions.
In August, ISIS jihadis committed mass-killings against the Shueitat tribe in eastern Syria. Reports stated that the death toll of the slaughter was somewhere between 200 to 700.