He was a dictator and ruled with an iron hand, but the times were generally quiet. People could step out of their homes without the fear of being taken or bombed. Westerners weren’t randomly picked up for public execution, and so long as the Iraqis submitted to Saddam, there were no real problems as such.
Of course, freedom was restricted, but life moved on.
It’s worse today, it’s beyond control now. The ISIS has under its control several crucial Iraqi and Syrian regions and they are threatening to wage Jihad on a global scale, culminating into the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate! It’s a far-fetched dream, but one that is claiming more and more lives with each passing day.
The terrorist organisation is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its caliph, and mainly composed of Sunni Arabs from Iraq and Syria. Recent data reveals that it has control over territory occupied by ten million people in Iraq and Syria, as well as limited territorial control in Libya and Nigeria.
Jinan, an 18-year-old Yazidi woman, was captured in early 2014 and held by Islamic State jihadists for three months before she managed to flee. Her first-hand account of what happens in the world of ISIS is both chilling, and repulsive.
There are stonings and crucifixions of locals for adultery. The IS militants are apparently running an international market in Iraq, where helpless Christian and Yazidi women are sold as sexual slaves. They are kidnapped, beaten, sold and raped!
Jinan is in Paris at the moment for the release of a book she has written about her ordeal
Captured while the IS militants were sweeping through the northern region of Iraq, inhabited by the minority Yazidi, Jinan was finally sold to two people – a former cop and an Imam. Her tales of life in captivity is chilling to the bones.
“They tortured us, tried to forcefully convert us. If we refused we were beaten, chained outdoors in the sun, forced to drink water with dead mice in it. Sometimes, they threatened to torture us with electricity,” Jinan divulged.
“These men are not human. They only think of death, killing. They take drugs constantly. They seek vengeance against everyone. They say that one day Islamic State will rule over the whole world.”
“The fighters circulated among us, laughing raucously, pinching our backsides,” she writes in “Daesh’s Slave”, using an Arabic acronym for the jihadist group.
One man complained. She said: “That one has big breasts. But I want a Yazidi with blue eyes and pale skin. Those are the best apparently. I am willing to pay the price.”
In these slave markets, there were not just the Iraqis and Syrians, there were foreigners as well. The beautiful, attractive women were held in reserve for the rich and the mighty from the Gulf. Once she was sold, men began visiting the house where she was imprisoned with the other women.
“I will exchange your Beretta pistol for the brunette,” said one of the traders. “If you prefer to pay cash, it is $150 (133 Euros). You can also pay in Iraqi dinars.”
Once her new owners were convinced that Jinan didn’t speak or understand English, they discussed the slave trade without any inhibition. It was during one such conversation that she grasped a little bit of the extent to which the slave market was run like a typical business.
“A man cannot purchase more than three women, unless he is from Syria, Turkey or a Gulf nation,” said one, named Abou Omar.
“It’s good for business,” replied the other, Abou Anas. “A Saudi buyer has transport and food costs that a member of the Islamic State does not. He has a higher quota to make his purchases profitable.
“It is a good deal: the Islamic State increases its profits to support the mujahedeen and our foreign brothers are satisfied.”
Jinan, convinced that if she did not escape, her life would be ruined, managed to flee using a set of stolen keys. She lives in a Yazidi refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan with her husband.
International protection is the only hope for powerless people like Jinan.