Coexistence between IS and Iraq
According to a report published by Asharq Al-Awsat there is a form of power sharing between ISIS and the Iraqi government
One Fallujah resident, speaking to Asharq AlAwsat under the assumed name of Abu Hamam, said that although Iraqi forces have liberated other areas of Anbar from ISIS control, including parts of the provincial capital Ramadi, Baghdad does not appear serious about retaking Fallujah at this time.
Abu Hamam criticized the “state of coexistence” between ISIS and the Iraqi government in and around the city. “The least that we can say is that there is a form of power sharing between ISIS and the Iraqi government [in Fallujah] which has no choice but to deal with the [terrorist] or- ganization on some level,” he said.
The Fallujah-native pointed to a number of state-run services that continue to operate in Fallujah, such as hospitals and clinics. “There is a form of unpublicized understanding between the two sides, with doctors and pharmacists continuing their work in hospitals in the city without being subject to harassment while also continuing to receive their government salaries.”
Abu Hamam said that while ISIS had completely driven out government security and police forces from Fallujah, other government workers and civil servants, particularly those affiliated to the electricity and water departments, are allowed to continue to operate without interference from either side.
Maj. Tahsin Al-Mushrif, an Iraqi officer overseeing a checkpoint outside of the city of Fallujah, said, “There is a kind of strange coexistence between ISIS and the government authorities.” He cited the example of checking papers at checkpoints: “ISIS has set up customs checkpoints and is imposing customs duties on trucks ranging between 50 and 300 US dollars, depending on the type of goods the truck is transporting. Iraqi security forces check these documents and if the money was not paid, this raises the possibility that the driver is ‘collaborating’ with ISIS.”
While it is perhaps not so surprising that Baghdad would have to deal with ISIS in one form or another due to the presence of Iraqi citizens living in ISIS-controlled areas, but it is surprising that ISIS would deal with a central government that it views as illegitimate.