Mosul in the time of the Islamic State

The Islamic State of Mosul. The story of a totalitarian enterprise Hélène Sallon La Découverte, 2018 (published in French)

Editor’s note

With the series of terrorist attacks in Europe, repeated military defeats in Syria and in Iraq, the police and newspapers endlessly on the trail of Jihadist groups, the Islamic State group is never long out of the spotlight, although the true nature of the caliphate that Daesh sought to impose worldwide remains unclear. The liberation of Mosul has finally made it possible to reveal the facts about the Islamic State’s political and social plan, a project unparalleled in terms of scope and objectives.

The hitherto unpublished testimonies collected by Hélène Sallon from the inhabitants of Mosul portray its terrifying reality, very few accounts of which – and practically no pictures – have reached us. This exceptional book describes the “new, Jihadist social order” which the Islamic State tried to impose on the whole of society, and under which schoolchildren are taught to count by multiplying tonnes of explosives, and women considered insufficiently covered have their flesh clipped by brigades of women armed with iron-toothed pliers.

In this account which is as far from the sensationalist testimonies of Jihadists and their victims as it is from the dry, disembodied analyses of researchers, Hélène Sallon gives body and substance to the caliphate, a major cause of concern and speculation.

Hélène Sallon has been a journalist at Le Monde since 2010, and on the Middle East desk since 2014. An Arabic-speaker, she covered the battle of Mosul in Iraq from mid October 2016 to mid July 2017, spending more than four months in the field, following the Iraqi forces’offensive against the Jihadists and investigating their reign in Mosul.

Translated from the French by Fay Guerry.

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