Caliphate Leaves Iraqis in Administrative Limbo

Unclear If Anyone Will Accept 'Caliphate' Documents

Fleeing from ISIS territory or just plain finding themselves in “liberated” areas, a lot of people in and around Mosul are finding themselves back in actual Iraqi territory after over two solid years under ISIS control. That’s creating a lot of problems for the locals.

But while most of the problems are immediate things like getting out of combat zones or not getting executed by either side on suspicion of disloyalty, some problems, like paperwork, could be long-term issues for a large chunk of the Iraqi population.

Displaced people are having their IDs checked by security forces, but those IDs are by and large issued by the ISIS Caliphate, not the Iraqi government. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, and plenty of other documents similarly are on Caliphate letterhead, with ISIS flags on them and ISIS officials signing them.

One of the women fleeing Mosul showed her husband’s death certificate, itself issued by ISIS’ “Diwan of Justice,” saying she believes he was executed by ISIS. On the other hand, it’s not clear who, if anyone, is going to accept ISIS paperwork as proof of anything.

That’s a big problem for marriage and death certificates, but potentially dramatically moreso for everyone born in ISIS territory over the last two years, who has an ISIS birth certificate, and may find themselves struggling to get proper Iraqi government documentation going forward.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of