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Looking back to Islamic State Rule in Iraq and Plight of Captured Women

MG is a senior air warrior who is an alumnus of the Staff College and a notable writer on military history.



The root of the exploitation of women by ISIS can be traced to President George Bush when he ordered the invasion of Iraq. This resulted in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein one of the bulwarks against Islamic extremism. So long as he was alive extremist Islamists could find no roots and tens were summarily hanged by him. We can look back with sorrow and realize that the exit of Saddam Hussein resulted in the rise of Islamic extremism in the Middle East. At one time they controlled an area bigger than France and they enforced their law. Their leader was Al Baghdadi. Subsequently, ISIS was defeated by a coalition lead by the USA and President Trump announced that the leader Baghdadi died like a dog.

Though ISIS is defeated it is worth dwelling on the conduct of this group regarding the exploitation of women. The sad part is that for years when the Islamic State was controlling the Middle East many Muslim nations just turned a blind eye to the Islamic state. It is worth pondering over this phenomenon and one hopes that such a situation does not arise again. It is worth examining the conduct of the ISIS during this so-called Islamic caliphate.



One aspect of the battle against ISIS led by Ali Baghdadi was the plight of captured women. ISIS interpreted the religious scriptures in an extreme way and followed what is written. This is often referred to as the Wahhabi concept. One of the injunctions put into practice was that women captured during a war can be made sex slaves for the pleasure of the fighters. This had a literal effect and whenever ISIS-occupied an area in Iraq, it made the women captured sex slaves.

The women who were non-Muslim like the Yezdi's were treated the worst as they become the common property of the ISIS fighters. The worst culprit was Al-Baghdadi himself who captured an American aid worker from Syria and made her his sex slave. He impregnated her after repeated rapes and forced her to convert to Islam. She was killed in an American air raid that had targeted Baghdadi. It is no satisfaction that he was hunted like a dog later because he had already done so much damage during the time when he was in power.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria which purported to set up a Caliphate was guilty of terrible crimes. Perhaps they would not have surfaced if Saddam Hussein was alive. One can recollect that Saddam when in power had hanged scores of Muslim extremists and Al Qaeda was a shadow in Iraq. ISIS did not exist and only surfaced after Saddam was executed by the Americans. This is a sad commentary on George Bush who waged a war that not only sent 4000 American young men to the grave but destabilized Iraq with the result that thousands are killed there in an internecine conflict. The atrocities on the women are also a direct result of US policy to remove Saddam.

The UK had an inquiry that has blamed Tony Blair for starting a war without reason in Iraq. What about Bush? can the Americans have a similar inquiry? The battle lines were drawn and removing the ISIS became difficult. In the meantime, the captured women were made slaves and handed to the ISIS fighters as personal booty. Nothing can be sadder than this. When the Islamic state was in power it had a tremendous ability to attract Muslims and tens of them from all corners of the world went and joined this terror group. I wonder if anybody has carried out a study as to why ISIS had such a lot of appeal.

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Is the nightmare over?

Most nations in the Middle East realize the danger of Islamic extremism and at the moment there appears very little chance that the Islamic state can re-emerge. But the philosophy has not died down and every now and then we have terrorist attacks by people who believe in this philosophy.

Perhaps if the Islamic state had shown a human face and not carried out trafficking of captured women as well as auctioning them, they would not be so hated. One sincerely hopes that for the good of mankind such a regime never emerges again.


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 29, 2021:

Thanks, TOM, yes ISIS is a failed ideology but hardly anybody condemned it when it was rampant in Iraq and making women slaves.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 29, 2021:

Pamela, so nice you commented. Sadly the so-called silent majority never condemned ISIS's treatment of women.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 29, 2021:

This is an interesting article about a tough subject. ISIS is horrible to treat the women that way, no matter where they came from. I agree that the Iraq far was a mistake. This is an informative article, MG.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 29, 2021:

Thank you Shamima Begum for making your comment. We must remember that the pen is mightier than the sword and the writers must bring out the horrors that bedevil us. I agree with you that along with writing to spread love and peace there must be a realization that a lot of evil has taken place and it must never take place again.

Shamima Bgum on March 29, 2021:

I like this article because it has brought out the truth of how we were treated under Islamic rule. Sadly all the women on this site writing poetry and love and peace have not dared to comment on this aspect of the Islamic rule where women were made slaves.

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