Baghdad Arms Sales Soar as Shi’ites Prepare for ISIS Invasion

Locals Prepare for the Worst as Rebels Advance

Recent gains by ISIS suggest they are almost finished shoring up control of the Anbar Province and nearby regions, and are getting closer to their threatened invasion of Baghdad. The locals are expecting the worst.

In Shi’ite areas of the capital, the markets are busy, with locals buying up food and other necessities in anticipation of a long, bloody siege.

The busiest businesses are the arms dealers, however, which since Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s call to arms have seen soaring sales to Shi’ites planning to join various militias aiming to resist ISIS.

Local Sunnis feel themselves in an even worse position, who see growing violence in the anti-ISIS backlash aimed primarily at them. For the Sunnis in Baghdad, it isn’t clear which is worse: a bloody ISIS takeover or a victory for Shi’ite militias that will quickly move on to purging the rest of them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of