In Mosul, a Restrained ISIS Vies for Local Support

Treatment of Locals a Stark Contrast to Other ISIS Cities

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a faction so notorious for its brutality that al-Qaeda has publicly distanced itself from there for being too extreme in their tactics.

But that’s not the ISIS people in Mosul are seeing, as the group is showing surprising restraint against its newly captured city, with locals saying the main difference since the ISIS takeover is lower food prices.

This seems to be a concerted “hearts and minds” campaign for ISIS, which is aiming to get support among the Sunni population of their new city, which was bristling under the control of Iraq’s Shi’ite-run government.

This could be important for keeping the tribal leaders in and around the city happy, and ISIS seems to be hoping to find a balance between its own harsh interpretation of Sharia law and local tribal norms to avoid any unrest, allowing their fighters to continue to move deeper into Iraq.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.