web.archive/web/20160323201354/s04.justpaste.it/pdf/Btaar-tf-gholah-justpaste-it-953848. Book”65 (ahl al-kitāb or dhimmi) are entitled to a.
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Table of contents 13 5 8 101112 14 25 2834 384041Acknowledgments ˜e author Introduction Scope and methodology Part I: Structure and rules of the Islamic State™s legal system Comparative advantage Basic principles Rules and regulations Law enforcement Part II: ˜ree state-building functions of the Islamic State™s legal system Conclusion: Vulnerabilities of the Islamic State™s legal system Glossary About the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World ˜e Center for Middle East Policy
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11Acknowledgments I thank William McCants and Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution for commission -ing this paper and for their encouragement of my research more generally. I am also very grate -ful for the comments and suggestions made by two anonymous reviewers, and for the excellent edito -rial assistance of Anne Peckham and Dana Hadra. Finally, I am most indebted to the 82 Syrians and Iraqis who have spoken with me over the past year about their experiences living in areas governed by the Islamic State. Without their trust and generos -ity, my work would be impossible.
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33The author Mara Revkin is pursuing a Ph.D. in Po -litical Science at Yale University, where her research focuses on governance and lawmaking by armed groups in the Middle East. She has conducted ˚eldwork most recently in the Sinai Peninsula, southeastern Turkey, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Starting in August 2016, she will be a Fellow with the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School, from which she received her J.D. Revkin has written extensively on Islamic legal systems for publications including the Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law , the Annual Review of Law and So -cial Science , and the UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law . After receiving her B.A. in Po – litical Science and Arabic from Swarthmore Col – lege, she served as a Fulbright Fellow in Jordan and Oman (2009Œ2010) and as a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (2010Œ2011), where her research focused on the Arab Spring and al-Qaeda.
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612. Antonio Giustozzi and Adam Baczko, ﬁThe Politics of the Taliban™s Shadow Judiciary, 2003Œ2013,ﬂ , vol. 1, no. 2 (2014): 199Œ224. 13. Robin Simcox, ﬁAnsar al-Sharia Governance in Southern Yemen,ﬂ , December 27, 2012, http://www.hudson.org/research/9779-ansar-al-sharia-and-governance-in-southern-yemen. 14. Lindsey Hilsum, ﬁInside Gao where Arab jihadis took bloody sharia retribution on Mali™s black Africans,ﬂ , February 2, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/02/mali-jihadis-sharia-black-africans. 15. refers to the body of divine law that is expressed primarily in the texts of the Quran and Sunnah (the opinions and example of the Prophet Muhammad). 16. ﬁAl-Qaeda in Yemen Condemns the Killing of the Jordanian Pilot and Considers it Deviant,ﬂ , February 5, 2015, http://www.arabtimes.com/portal/news_display.cfm?Action=&Preview=No&nid=18116&a=1. 17. Islamic State Committee of Research and Fatwas, ﬁQuestion: What is the ruling on burning an in˜del with ˜re until he dies?,ﬂ February 2014, https://web.archive.org/web/20160623170507/https://dotmsrstaging.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/ uploads/uploads/b88geagiiaef4so.jpg. 18. Islamic State, ﬁFrom Hypocrisy to Apostasy: The Extinction of the Grayzone,ﬂ Dabiq, vol. 7, February 2015, http://media. clarionproject.org/˜les/islamic-state/islamic-state-dabiq-magazine-issue-7-from-hypocrisy-to-apostasy.pdf, 14. out a legal basis for doing so. One article entitled ﬁAdvice for Leaders of the Islamic State,ﬂ stated, ﬁBeware of shedding blood unjustly – [U]nlawful bloodshed – would be a short-term gain whose long-term consequences are weakness and helpless – ness. – And by Allah, no case is reported to us in -volving the bloodshed of an innocent person from Ahlus-Sunnah [Sunni Muslims] that isn™t backed up by clear evidence of what he did to deserve his blood being shed.ﬂ 18 Do leaders and members of the Islamic State genu – inely believe in the principles of accountability and fairness that they talk about in their propaganda? Or are these statements nothing more than empty rhetoric designed to appeal to people in war-torn societies who are desperately looking for justice and dignity? ˜is report, based on interviews with 82 Syrians and Iraqis from areas governed by the Islamic State, a collection of 279 punishments ad -ministered by Islamic State courts and police, and other primary source documents, describes the le – gal foundations of the self-proclaimed ﬁcaliphate.ﬂ Part I provides a comprehensive overview of the Is -lamic State™s legal system, including its laws, police apparatus, courts, and prisons. Although this legal system is frequently characterized as medieval, the Islamic State™s courts routinely punish modern day o˛ensesŠfor example, tra˝c violationsŠthat were not present at the time of the original seventh cen -tury caliphate that the group claims to be emulat -ing. Such examples illustrate how the Islamic State™s legal system has instrumentally supplemented the original text of the Quran with the modern rules and regulations that are needed to govern a twenty- ˚rst century state. ˜ese functions are at the core of the social con – tract between a government and its people. More recent work in the ˚eld of rebel governance sug -gests that legal institutions are equally important for non-state actors that have state-like aspirations to govern people and territory. Observers of insur -gencies in Afghanistan,12 Yemen, 13 and Mali 14 have noted that one of the ˚rst things that armed groups do when they take over new territory is establish courts and other legal institutions that seem to facilitate their control over people and land. ˜e Islamic State is the most recent in a long line of insurgent groupsŠnot only in the Middle East but also in the Americas, Africa, and AsiaŠthat have attempted to establish a legal basis for their actions. Although the Islamic State™s system of governance is to a large extent shaped and constrained by its commitment to enforcing the body of Islamic law known as shari‚a ,15 its reliance on law to legitimize power and violence is hardly unique and is in fact consistent with patterns of state formation seen all over the world. According to the Islamic State, violence is only le -gitimate when justi˚ed by law. For example, fol -lowing its decision to immolate a captured Jorda – nian pilot in a cageŠwhich many Muslim scholars, including an o˝cial of al-Qaeda in Yemen, con -demned as ﬁdeviantﬂ 16Šthe Islamic State defended the judgment in a detailed fatwa that rationalized death by ˚re as a form of retributive punishment that is equal in magnitude to the harms in˙icted on civilians by airstrikes. 17 Such statements demon -strate the Islamic State™s concern for justifying the legality of its actions. According to its o˝cial pub -lications, members and leaders of the Islamic State are forbidden from harming other Muslims with –
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7Part II explains how the Islamic State uses its legal system to advance three state-building objectives: (1) establishing a legal basis for territorial sover -eignty and expansion; (2) enforcing internal disci – pline within Islamic State™s own ranks; and (3) jus – tifying taxation, which has become an increasingly important source of revenue for the group. ˜e paper concludes with a discussion of two emerging vulnerabilities of the Islamic State™s legal systemŠ its susceptibility to corruption and propensity for extra-legal violenceŠwhich are increasingly under -mining its ability to obtain the trust and coopera -tion of civilians.
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819. ﬁAnnouncement of Sheikh Ahmad concerning the killing of a leader of Ahrar al-Sham at the hands of Daesh,ﬂ , January 2, 2014, http://islammemo.cc/akhbar/syria-althawra/2014/01/02/191184.html#1. 20. Research for this article was conducted under Yale Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol 1506016040. I conducted my own interviews primarily in Arabic over the course of four research trips to southeastern Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan between July 2015 and March 2016. All interviewees are identi˜ed by pseudonyms to protect their safety. This paper relies heavily on Arabic primary sources. All translations (and any errors therein) are my own. The scope of this paper is limited to the legal institutions created by the Islamic State in areas of Iraq and Syria. I exclude other areas in which the Islamic State is engaged in governanceŠnotably LibyaŠbecause time and resource constraints did not allow me to conduct ˚eldwork there. Additionally, I have chosen to focus this paper on the Islamic State™s activities since April 2013, when the group™s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, released an audio statement an -nouncing its expansion into Syria and renamed the group the ﬁIslamic State of Iraq and Syria.ﬂ Although the group has existed under di˛erent names and leaders since 2006, April 2013 is a logical starting point for this study because that was the point at which the Islamic State began to express unprecedented ambitions for territorial control and governance of Muslim lands beyond its original birthplace in Iraq. Importantly, one of the ˚rst moves that the Islamic State made after expanding into Syria was to establish courts that demanded exclusive jurisdictionŠthe authority to decide all legal disputesŠin areas where rival armed groups were also operating judiciaries. 19 ˜e Islamic State™s concern for establishing a mo -nopoly on the interpretation and enforcement of law is a re˙ection of the importance of courts in its state-building strategy. ˜is paper draws on three main sources of data: (1) interviews with 82 Syrians and Iraqis 20 who have personally experienced Islamic State governance; (2) an original database of 279 punishments im -posed on Iraqi and Syrian civilians by the Islamic State since April 2013; and (3) primary source doc – uments produced by Islamic State institutions in the course of its governance activities. Interviewees were identi˚ed through snowball sam -plingŠa research method in which an initial group of contacts facilitates subsequent introductions to their acquaintances. Seventy-˚ve individuals were interviewed in the Turkish cities of Antakya, Ga – ziantep, Reyhanlˆ, and ˇanlˆurfa over three research trips in July 2015, November 2015, and March 2016. Seven others were interviewed at an IDP camp in Iraqi Kurdistan™s Dohuk Governorate dur – ing a research trip in January 2016. ˜ese inter -viewees have had a variety of di˛erent experiences with the Islamic State: all of them have lived in or traveled through Islamic State-controlled areas; 24 have paid taxes to the Islamic State; 18 have used an Islamic State court; seven have been arrested or imprisoned by the Islamic State; 19 have a rela – tive who joined the Islamic State; and 11 provided some kind of service to Islamic State membersŠ examples include a doctor who provided medical care for injured ˚ghters and a graphic designer who created a logo for the Islamic State. Nine of the interviewees fought against the Islamic State with either the Free Syrian Army (FSA) or another armed group. Seven are former Islamic State ˚ght – ers who defected and ˙ed to Turkey. Additionally, I conducted online or phone interviews (for security reasons) with six self-identi˚ed Islamic State sup – porters and combatants who are currently living or ˚ghting in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and al- Furat and the Iraqi province of Anbar. ˜e database of criminal punishments adminis-tered by the Islamic State is based on evidence from the group™s own propaganda as well as independent media reports, human rights organizations, and Twitter users on the ground in Iraq and Syria. I include only punishments that are administered by Scope and methodology
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9courts or police of the Islamic State. Acts of unof -˚cial violence by individual Islamic State members are excluded. Additionally, the database is limited to punishments of civilians and it excludes punish – ments of combatants or prisoners of war. ˜e unit of analysis is the number of punishments rather than the number of individuals, as a single indi -vidual may be punished for more than one crime at a time. At present, the database contains 279 in -stances of punishment in Islamic State-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria since April 2013. Although this is not a complete or representative sample, the data nonetheless suggests some noteworthy trends in the Islamic State™s treatment of civilians. ˜e paper also draws on primary source documents including photographs of court decisions, fat˜w˜ (legal opinions) issued by the Islamic State, o˝cial policy statements, and codes of conduct. ˜ese documents were obtained from Twitter and other social media platforms, numerous Islamic State- a˝liated websites, document-sharing websites such as justpaste.it, and the Iraqis and Syrians who were interviewed for this paper. In cases where I was uncertain about the authenticity of a document, I consulted other analysts as well as my interviewees. All documents cited in this paper are authentic to the best of my knowledge.
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