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Tanner Barnett

September 4, 2014
Assignment 1 observations
Figured world- The figured world is the big picture from which the observations are
taken. Within a figured world are multiple communities in practice, literacy practices, actors, and
Rules of Engagement:
Conflicts in the Middle East have been a popular topic in the past years. The most recent of
conflicts are occurring in places such as Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan. The figured world I have
chosen to observe includes Ar-Raqqah, Syria, Mosul, Iraq, Erbil, Iraq, and various small rural
areas. Both Ar-Raqqah and Mosul are under ISIS influence while Kurdish-Peshmerga forces
maintain control of Erbil and parts of Mosul.
Islamic communities in Iraq and Syria follow rules and conventions that may seem very
unfamiliar to westerners. Areas under ISIS control in Iraq and Syria follow strict religious
guidelines that dictate the lifestyles of the Islamic people. These guidelines, called Sharia law,
are based on the unchanging word of the Quran. While the United States operates under a
Democracy, ISIS is installing a theocracy. Due to the lack of civil liberties under Sharia, rules
often dominate over conventions. The people must obey fasting rules, and prayer times.
Consumption of alcohol, smoking in public, stealing, and adultery are all punishable crimes. By
law, women must cover their faces and bodies with veils and long robes. The urban streets are
often loud, busy dirt roads crowded with street vendor selling anything from licorice to sheep
meat. The areas are patrolled by ISIS law enforcement called the Hisbah. Persecution of religious
minorities is very common along with public displays of execution.
There are quite a few communities in practice in the Islamic community in Iraq and
Syria. The main community in practice is the ISIS group. Members of the organization
collaborate and communicate in various ways to establish control throughout Iraq and Syria,
while eliminating infidels of the Islamic faith. They use weapons and supplies stolen from the
Iraqi armed forces. ISIS uses a variety of vehicles for transportation. ISIS is also involved in
recruiting young males for their cause and using media and flyers for propaganda. The Kurdish
forces are another force opposing ISIS who operate in congruent ways as ISIS.

Communities- The community is the who of a community in practice. These are the
members of a group who work collaboratively to accomplish the domain. The multiple
communities Ar-Raqqah and Mosul include but are not limited to the ISIS fighters, field officers
the civilians, merchants, farmers, etc. Each community interacts with each other in various ways.
ISIS- citizens of Iraq and Syria who feel oppressed by their governments, or feel the
pressure of ISIS can chose to become a member of the ISIS community. Within the
community, there are individual aspects of ISIS that deal with a variety of tasks. There
Commented [TB1]: It was a little confusing to me how
you put your bulleted examples in a different section than
your definitions. You can try and place the bulleted
examples under the definition so the reader does not have to
scroll to read the definition and then scroll back down to see
the examples of the definition. Other than the formating of
the section, your examples are very solid and detailed.
Commented [TB2]: The rules of engagement is very clear
and includes much information that is all useful information.
It flows very well and opened my eyes to what ISIS really is.
Nice Job.
Commented [TB3]: The Rules of Engagement section is
very clear and easy to understand and flows nicely. One
thing that I was wondering after review this section was is
there different ISIS groups for the two separate cities that
you are observing? Are they different branches of the same
organization? Go into more detail about ISISs specific
involvement in each city, not necessarily under this section.
Commented [TB4]: elaborate
Commented [TB5]: Change the last paragraph of the rules
of engagement to include K-P, and religious minorities and
the ways they interact
Commented [TB6]: The Community ISIS provides a good
number of examples and demonstrations of how ISIS is a
community. Consider going into a bit more detail about how
specifically random civilians with various occupations
implement ISISs beliefs onto other people. I noticed that the
examples of occupations that you provided were government
related or even enforced jobs. It might be helpful to
somehow connect how ISIS intervenes in this process of
having its members do the daily tasks.
are the ISIS fighters responsible for military operations. There are ISIS press officers
whose focus is to promote the cause of ISIS through any means. There are tax collectors,
court clerks, and law enforcement. Because ISIS has expanded to control many aspects of
the civilians lives, ISIS takes on many more roles.
Syrian Regime 17
Division- The main counter force to all ISISs territorial advances
comes from the last standing pieces of the Syrian Army. ISIS pushes the Syrian army
towards to northern Syria.
Syrian civilians- The farmers, merchants, and members of Ar-Raqqah make up the
civilian community. Civilians are forced to comply, whether they like it or not, with
sharia law.
Christian, Muslim, and Yazidi refugees- To escape religious persecution, Muslims and
non-Muslims are being forced to flee to the outskirts of the country. The refugees
desperately need help and long to return to their homes. Refugees also play a large role in
how the international community must act.

Domain- The domain is the what of a community in practice and can best be described as
what distinguishes a community from a community of practice. The domain incorporates shared
goals and objectives of the group. Members of a group share their knowledge on the domain to
benefit the group. ISIS plans to establish a caliphate, an Islamic state governed by sharia law and
lead by a successor of the prophet Muhammad, and eradicate all infidels to the Islamic faith.
These domains are accomplished in smaller steps such as taking over strong holds, promoting the
Islamic faith, and religious persecution. ISIS holds gatherings and rallies in order to promote
their cause and recruit young ambitious volunteers. These volunteers are taught the ISISs
fighting tactics and how to continually spread the word of Islam.
Establishing a caliphate- This is ISISs defining goal. They must establish a caliphate in
order to effectively complete the rest of their goals. There is a shared religious zeal
among members in making sure the caliphate is established
Sharia law- ISIS has established and continues to enforce Sharia law among its controlled
territory. The idea of a society governed by the laws of the Quran could have detrimental
effects on the global economy.
Defend the Kurds- The members of Kurdish-Peshmerga forces, joined by their heritage
and obligation to their people, live to fight the violent jihadist members of ISIS. The
Peshmerga rescue and give aid to refugees while defending northern Iraq from ISIS

Communities in practice- The communities of practice are groups of people who share a
domain, background, goal, or some other connection. Members of a community in practice
exercise communication and accomplish goals. ISIS is a jihadist organization operating in the
Middle East with sustaining supplies of oil, medical supplies, weapons, and clothing. ISISs
operations depend to their shared resources. With oil and weapons, members cannot carry out
Commented [TB7]: Under the Syrian Civilians section,
you could elaborate a little more on how the civilians have to
comply with the ISIS group. What are they forced to comply
with besides the sharia law? Do they make them do certain
things for them or take their products/belongings? You could
elaborate a little more on that part of communities. You can
also expand on Sharia law and what it is.
Commented [TB8]: Great definition of Domain.You give
a great amount of detail to what you have said regarding
Commented [TB9]: Focus on simplifying the sentence
structure without compromising quality
Commented [TB10]: With the Domain Section, you
referenced Sharia Law again. Since this is a recurring term,
you could write the definition and what the law is
somewhere in the rules of engagement and then reference
later uses of Sharia Law with see Rules of Engagement for
the first few times you reference it so you do not explain it
every time you write it.
attacks or defend the strongholds. Non-materialistic resources such as training and propaganda
are necessary to each mission but are sustained by recruiting and passing on the knowledge.
ISIS- ISIS in a network of interdependent communities of which interact heavily with
each other to establish a caliphate and enforce Sharia law. For example, the Hisbah
enforces the laws of the Quran throughout the city. The Hisbah captures those how
violate the laws and send them to courts for their sentencing.
Kurdish-Peshmerga Forces- Peshmerga translates to those who confront death. The
Peshmerga forces are a well-trained joint army of Iraq and Kurdistan that aims to provide
security to civilians in disputed areas. Peshmerga forces currently control northern Iraq.
Artifacts- artifacts come from a variety of aspects and give the observer an insight about
the figured world. An artifact can be physical or non-physical and can range from an ideology to
a cultural paradigm.
ISIS weapons- ISISs firepower was obtained from the Iraqi through invasions. The
United States is now responsible for supplying weapons to Iraq that ISIS has control of.
These weapons are artifacts of ISISs power and ability to cause harm to civilians as well
as surrounding countries. Consequences of these events could be bad news for any
country that decides to intervene against ISIS
ISIS Flag- A symbol of stability for some, and terror for others. The ISIS flag represents
dedication to the cause and establishing control. Citizens and ISIS members alike crowd
the streets waving the flag from street corners, armored vehicles, and buildings. The flags
are handed out to kids as they chant in loud zealous battle cries.
The ISIS Prisoners- These men have violated some law pertaining to the Quran and have
been placed in a small room for a period of time before their sentence. The sentences
range in number of lashes for alcohol and smoking related crimes to death for drug
related crimes. These men in the prisons are all but remorseful of their actions. All men
reported having accepted their wrong and gratitude in the opportunity to reflect on their
Refugee camps- The refugee camps show the full effect of what ISIS is doing to the area.
The people are starving, thirsty, and long to be home with their families.

Actors- An actor is anyone who plays an important part in the figured world.
Abu Mosa- A field officer who guides the video through the events that occur. Abu
Mosa offers explanations and guidance
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi- The current head of ISIS and the caliphate. Identified as the
Abu Obida- Hisbah patrol leader. Explains the purpose of the Hisbah while acting as a
tour guide
Abu Laith Al- Jazerwe- ISIS fighter. Gives insights on ISIS operations and cause.

Commented [TB11]: try to Elaborate more on the Kurdish
forces that oppose ISIS. How are they different. Why are
they in such opposition to the ISIS Forces. Are they similar
in any way or only different? Also what types of Vehicles do
the ISIS forces use and why. this would help to clarify many
different things within the intro.
Literary practices- the literary practices are the modes of communication and interaction
among the community. This includes verbal and nonverbal modes of communication.
Radios and cell phones- A prominent mode of verbal communication for members of Ar-
Raqqah is cell phones and radios. A cell phones access to social media makes them that
much more of a huge mode of verbal communication
Propaganda and Preachings- To spread the word of Islam and ISIS control, the use of
propaganda and preachings have been implemented to reach the maximum number of
civilians. Types of propaganda are typically pamphlets and Islamic paraphernalia (flags,
banners, etc.) and are distributed by ISIS members and preaching vans. Celebrations are
held to parade the pride of ISIS and gather new recruits.
The environment- A nonverbal mode of communication in Ar-Raqqah is the
environment. Sharia law has very strict rules for behavior and appearance. When someone or
something is in violation with these laws, ISIS is able to identify the difference and correct it.
For example, a member of the Hisbah asked a man to remove a poster for his shop because it
represented western ideals

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS, is a Sunni jihadist organization
that has broken away from another popular jihadist group called Al-Qaeda. The two jihadist
organizations are now rivals, competing for recruits, supplies, and territory. ISIS has
significantly grown in power and numbers recently by invading parts of Iraq and Syria. They
control approximately 30% of the combined countries while seizing access to Syrian oil, Iraqi
water and weapons, and, supplies. The domain of ISIS is partly stated in the Quran, the Islamic
holy book, and is reiterated by all members faithful to the cause. Goal number one is to establish
a caliphate, an Islamic state run by a caliph. The second of the goals expand the caliphate into
surrounding areas of the Middle East and on through Europe. Thirdly, the goal established the
Quran is to eradicate false religions and those who believe in them. ISIS has brought both harm
and stability to the region. Previously Iraqi and Syria were run by a Shia dominate government
while the majority of the citizens were of the Sunni branch of Islam. By taking control of parts of
Iraq and Syria, ISIS has been able to relieve oppression from Syria president Al-Assad and Iraqi
president Fuad Masum. ISIS sets up medical clinics, kids carnivals, supplies, water and power,
along with establishing more means of control. On the contrary, the violence at which ISIS
enforces sharia law, a form of theocracy where a region is governed by the Quran, is being
spread through multiple news organizations. Persecution by the hundreds of thousands of
Yazidis and Christians. The main events that occur throughout the observations happen mostly in
the ISIS controlled former Syrian city of Ar-Raqqah. The city is characterized by crowded
streets, destroyed cars and other debris littering areas of the region, walls ridden with bullet
Commented [TB12]: Go into more depth on the multiple
names of ISIS(the islamic State, ISIS, ISIL). Include a brief
context for each name and reasons for using them. Possibily
include why different people use different names.
holes, public persecutions, and overwhelming presence of ISIS law enforcement. Other events
involving the Kurdish-Pershmerga forces occur in residential area Erbil and large city Mosul.

Observation 1
0:00-2:30- The scene begins in Ar-Raqqah, Syria. An ISIS fighter is firing a machine gun
from the back of a pickup truck. Another ISIS fighter is ordering the gunfire above to an aircraft.
The scenes are introducing ISIS and giving a short history of their origins and what they stand
for. A yellow car is shot off the road by ISIS gunfire. ISIS vehicles and tanks parade through the
village while people wave the ISIS flag. People crowd the streets with phones to record to
events. The area is dilapidated with remnants of destroyed vehicles, bullets hole ridden walls,
and high rising smoke. The scenes transitions to introduce Abu Mosa, an ISIS press officer who
acts as a tour guide.
2:30-6:20- Abu Mosa and another press officer are driving through Ar-Raqqah. Abu
Mosa is explaining how they will have to drive past a checkpoint guarded by the Syrian Regime
Division, one of the last standing pieces of the Syrian Army. There is a sniper atop a sugar
factory building, none of the members in the car are harmed. Abu Mosa talks about the death of
his two brothers along with more civilians due to attacks from the Syrian Army. He says they
attack with 23mm cannons, snipers, machine guns, and mortars. A map shows the region that
ISIS currently has control of in relation to the last Syrian stronghold in the city of Ar-Raqqah. As
they continue down the road, Abu Mosa and his partner arrive at an ISIS stronghold. They exit
the vehicle, scan the area near the Syrian stronghold, and begin firing shots from a far. Abu Mosa
explains how ISIS has cut off the Syrian armys supplies.
6:20-8:30- A cut scene shows that ISIS has invaded the Syrian Armys Stronghold. The
Syrian army suffer approximately 50 casualties, of which ISIS fighters decapitated the troops and
display in a plaza of Ar-Raqqah. The scene transitions to a crowd of people gathering mosque.
The people are worshiping Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the newly established ISIS
caliphate. All the civilians are wearing casual clothes while Baghdadi is dressed in an ankle-long
black robe accompanied with black headgear. Inside the building are tall, beautiful stone pillars
with interesting archways. Baghdadi preaches to the people about the cause for ISIS and how
people should be willing to sacrifice everything, including their life, for Allah. At another
Mosque in Ar-Raqqah called Al-Fordos, A speaker proclaims to price of victory through
sacrifice and the crowd swears allegiance to Baghdadi. Various recruits explain their reasons for
pledging allegiance for the cause.
8:30-14:40- Abu Mosa talks about family. He doesnt get to see them much because he is
out fighting for ISIS. He only returns home when he is terribly ill or a problem arises. Abu Mosa
and his partner drive to the Euphrates River and request that a Preaching Van accompany
them. The preaching van distributes pamphlets to kids playing in the river. There is surprisingly
high output of positive energy among the people at the river, kids and adults alike. Various kids
explain how they are eager to join the cause of ISIS. Kids as young as 9 express their desire to
fight to kill infidels with stomaching churning energetic tones. The accounts of the people at the
Commented [TB13]: reword
river provide a reciprocal viewpoint on conflicts in the Middle East. Most people justify attacks
against terrorist organizations because of the violence threatening or committed against innocent
people. The members of ISIS justify their violence and hatred for the United States from the
civilian casualties caused by US Airstrikes our hatred for Muslims, of which may or may not be
true. ISIS gains support when the US airstrikes claim civilian casualties because the message
ISIS sends now has proof. Children can begin participation in ISIS as young as desired. Children
under 15 attend camps to learn ISIS ideologies while children at the age of 16 are trained to
participate in combat operations.
14:40-18:00- ISIS holds a celebration ceremony for the establishment of the caliphate.
The event is organized and structured, showing more implications of what ISIS military
operation are capable of accomplishing. The ceremony progresses and many ISIS members who
have previously pledged allegiance to Baghdadi praise the establishment of the caliphate. The
ceremony is used as a recruiting opportunity. A speaker holding an automatic rifle speaks of his
experience. He has travelled from Europe to establish his commitment to the cause. He
denounces all other false religions and strongly encourages the crowd to join ISIS. The
alternative to not joining will be death. The crowd concludes the ceremony with a pledge of
allegiance to the caliph, Baghdadi, followed by more motivational chants.
18:00-23:55- The focus is now directed towards daily life in Ar-Raqqah and how the
presence of ISIS is changing it. ISIS has established Sharia Law, which has strict rules about all
aspects of life from appearance, behavior, and even issues pertaining to economics and court
issues. Street vendors accompany both sides of the street selling various products. Signs resonate
in abstract colors and unfamiliar encryptions above beaten down shops with no more space than
a vacant storage closet. Traffic stops for no one while the vendors shout in attempt to grab the
attention of those walking by, all adding the chaotic confusion of the environment. A new actor
is introduced. Abu Obida is a Hisbah patrol leader whose job is to enforce Sharia Law in Ar-
Raqqah. He takes in his work and explains how he offers individuals a chance to change without
arousing conflict. If they do not comply then he must take action. As Abu Obida drives through
town, he spots a young man and requests to have a word with him. The man has displayed an
image that conflicts with the views of Sharia Law and comply when asked to remove it. Further
down the road Abu Obida calls to man from his car and orders him to change his wifes veil. He
explains under Sharia law, it is a violation for a female to display any part of her body. It is the
holy month Ramadan, so the Hisbah is responsible for monitoring the citizens activities in
regard to meals. Abu Obida continues to visit each shop vendor to ensure they are selling and
trading fairly. He visit a meat shop to speak to the owner about meat prices. After he is satisfied,
Abu Obida leaves to continue his patrol.
23:50-26:30- A group of prisoners share their individual account and the crimes they
committed. The room containing these men looks like a 10 by 10 room with beige tiled walls
and floor mats. The first man explains he is in prison because he was in possession of alcohol.
The mans tone is calm and sincere as he repents his sins and thanks the Hisbah for bringing him
closer to Allah. His son was also arrested for possession of alcohol. Another man says he was
arrested for smoking during the holy month of Ramadan. Most of these men will be sentenced to
lashings varying by sentence. One man is likely to receive a death sentence for possession of
drugs. Collectively, the prisoners advice the citizens of Ar-Raqqah to stay true to Allah.
26:30-31:00- The storyline returns to Abu Mosa. He is riding in a car through Ar-Raqqah
explaining how Sharia law is established to help the peoples way of life. ISIS plans to govern
every aspect of people life through Sharia law. Harsh sentences have been a common answer to
crime in Ar-Raqqah ever since ISIS has taken over the courts. The scene cuts to man who has
been convicted of murder and been publicly crucified. Crowds of people by the hundreds
surround the dead body with their phones taking pictures and videos of the event. Abu Mosa
visits the courts under ISIS control. The courts hear issues pertaining to all aspects and work as
arbitrators. A man explains to Abu Mosa that he is reporting a claim against his cousin for not
sharing the familys crop yield. Haidara, a clerk for the court in Ar-Raqqah helps to explain how
the courts work. He says the main purpose of the courts is arbitration by the word of Allah. All
sentences can be found in the Quran. The court affairs offices are divided into Muslim affairs
and non-Muslim affairs. Non-Muslims are permitted to live under ISIS if they convert to Islam
or comply with a non-Muslim tax.
31:00-34:25- The focus is shifted to the refugees fleeing Iraqi and Syria. Almost 300,000
refugees have fled the surrounding area in fear of ISIS violence. Churches and Mosques of Shia
Muslims are being destroyed and converted into ISIS preaching centers. In a particular ISIS
preaching center, more pamphlets are passed around to children and adults. The ISIS members
also collect money from the rich as it is mandatory the wealthy giving a percentage of their
income to the poor. A young boy around the age of 10 expresses his rage towards the United
States and his passion for ISIS. He swear on behalf of ISIS to divide America in two and
eradicate all false religions.
34:25-42:30-Two ISIS member are riding in the back of a truck on their way towards the
Iraqi Syrian border. The border was once guarded by troops denying citizens the access to free
cross back and forth. One man in the back of the truck is firing random shot into the air while the
other chants. ISIS has gained control of the border and have expressed satisfaction in being able
to cross the border free. Not only is ISIS taking control of the border and allowing access to
freely cross, but ISIS is dissolving the border placed by the previous Sykes-Picot agreement.
ISIS is doing this by placing of barbed wire and bulldozing part of the 12 foot tall sand barriers
down. ISIS filmed the attack of the Iraqi border and publicized the video. It contains segment
showing the captured Iraqi soldiers piled into the back of a truck. Before they are driven off, an
ISIS fighter tells all the soldiers their heads are going to be chopped off. An Iraqi man wearing a
red-white checkered head cover displaying his satisfaction in the opened borders. He is now can
now visit son, sister, uncle, and nephew who reside in Syria. ISIS fighter Abu Laith Al Jazerwe
concludes the scene be denouncing all other false religions and shares his desires to enforce
Sharia law throughout the region. He states that whether the people agree with the domain of
ISIS of not, they will enforce Sharia Law throughout the land.

Observation 2:
0:00-1:25- To start the video, a reporter asks a Kurdish-Peshmerga troops opinion about
the Iraqi army. In light of a recent ISIS attacks on the Iraqi army, he responds that the Iraqis are
cowards for retreating against ISIS. The Kurdish-Peshmerga forces would never be responsible
for such actions. The setting now takes place in Mosul, Iraq. The area contains destroyed
vehicles still ablaze along with tall black smoke clouds. The area appears to be residential. The
Peshmerga forces currently control the northern area of Iraq and Syria.
1:25-3:50- There is a refugee camp located in Erbil, Iraq with rows of blue tents. Water
and food are being supplied to the refugees. An elder male refugee is interview about the
situation. He says he has brought his family to the camp because they were afraid. His family
was fired upon by ISIS fighters while receiving no protection from the Iraqi forces. Iraqi Prime
Maliki and the Iraqi soldiers have been terrorizing the citizens as well.
3:50-9:10- At a Peshmerga checkpoint, troops monitor entrance into the Kurdish-
Peshmerga controlled area of Mosul. Not far from the checkpoint resides an ISIS controlled
checkpoint in Mosul. The Peshmerga forces do not fear ISIS as an officer explains ISIS already
has multiple enemies. Confronting another strong force such as the Peshmerga would hurt ISIS.
The Peshmerga forces are expanding their region of control in the disputed areas. An Iraqi
citizen who is returning to home in Mosul gives his input. He suggests that the presence of ISIS
is not all bad. ISIS brings stability and order to Mosul by fixing things that Iraq neglected. The
man rejects that ISIS is persecuting innocent minorities, instead he states the no matter what
religion people are, if they repent they will be left alone. When ISIS overtook parts of Mosul
Iraq, the Iraqi troops fled. The reason for this is unknown, but troops dropped everything,
allowing Kurdish- Peshmerga to capitalize and take the equipment. Reports conclude that ISIS
executed masses of Iraqi troops after the attack on Mosul.
9:10-13:55- Scenes are showing Iraqi forces regrouping after the loss of Mosul. There is
chaos among civilians as Iraqi troops try to re-establish stability to the region. There are troops
lined across the road patting down civilians as they cross. There are huge military vehicles with
men filling the truck beds. These men seem to be militia fighters against ISIS. The Iraqi Prime
Minister, Maliki, is accusing officers of war crimes after deserting the fight in Mosul. The
location is now Erbil, Iraq, a residential area. Many Iraqi army troops have fled their post and
occupy Erbil. A troop shares his account. He proclaims that the ISIS attack took the Iraqis
completely by surprise. The collapse of the city occurred nearly overnight as small skirmishes
evolved into a takeover. After Iraqi generals and leader fled Mosul, the troops were clueless and
scared and also fleeing Mosul. The former troop blames treason within the ranks or that someone
was working with ISIS. There had been minor attacks on Mosul before, but no efforts to seize
the city.
13:55-17:30- The focus is on Kirkuk, Iraq. At one time there were disputes between
Kurdish-Peshmerga forces and Iraq on who should control the city. Currently Kurdish-
Peshmerga forces control the city while ISIS controls the region to the south. Attacks on
Peshmerga forces by ISIS and Sunni group occur often. The location in now Erbil, Iraq at a
Kurdistan government office. Head of foreign relations, Falah Mustafa Bakir, explains the
significance of Kirkuk to the Kurdish people and what it means for the city to be in Kurdish
control. Kirkuk is a symbol of national pride to Kurdistan. The oil and natural gas that Kurdistan
possess give them importance and recognition on the international stage. The Kurdish-
Peshmerga forces have no intentions of giving up control of Kirkuk like the Iraqis gave up
17:30-21:00- The scene cuts to the Iraqis 12
division army base in Kirkuk, Iraq. The
Iraqi base was abandoned by the troops and Peshmerga forces have claimed the base. Peshmerga
commander Nakib Abdula explains the situation from the start, beginning with the abandonment
by Iraqi forces. When ISIS overtook Mosul, they burned all of the supplies. He talks about the
composition of ISIS fighters ranging from violent terrorist, to Naqshbandi [Sunni extremist], and
ISIS themselves. Their weapons were acquired from attacks on Iraqi bases and are being used to
fight Peshmerga. The commander reinforces the idea that Kirkuk will remain Kurdish territory
no matter the outcome of the conflict.
21:00-24:10- While still in Kirkuk, most of the people are celebrating Kurdish control.
Kids play happily in a park and the streets are calm with the absence of tall smoke clouds and
gunfire. A Sunni Muslim leader shares his thought about Peshmerga controlled Kirkuk. He says
the Peshmerga forces are greedy for claiming an Iraqi city as their own in such events. Kirkuk is
city rich in oil, agriculture, and infrastructure. He does not approve of the actions the Kurdish-
Peshmerga forces are taking in regards to ISIS, hinting at corruption within the ranks of
Peshmerga who are striking deals with ISIS in return for territory.
24:10-31:30- In Khanaqin Base, Diyala Province, Iraq, there more activity as compared
to the other base due to increased attacks from the south. Troops are loading small arms weapons
with ammunition, piling into trucks, and being transported. When troops are not on rotation, they
spend their down time on the base winding down. The next morning, the troops load trucks and
organize a convoy to head to the frontlines. A Peshmerga officer explains the position on the
frontlines. ISIS and other Arab militias hold positions to the west and south of Peshmerga. ISIS
is fighting from the neighborhoods. Everyone on the frontlines is alert ready for an ISIS attack.
Observation 3:
0:00-6:38- The location is Bartella, Ninawa Province in northern Iraq, very close to
Mosul. Bartella is a Christian dominated region that is currently under attack by ISIS forces,
even though many Christian refugees from Mosul are seeking refuge in Bartella. The Peshmerga
forces are busy on the frontlines. Trucks loaded with troops and weapons. The troops are
unloading mortars from a truck and scurrying through trenches. Another city, Qaraqosh, is under
attack by ISIS fighters, causing the Christians within the town to flee the area. Around 1700
hours the roads exiting the city were packed with cars. Hundreds of cars honk their horns
chaotically while in traffic. A truck carried a large family in the back. Eventually people got out
of their cars and worked on foot. In the morning, the city is nearly vacant, despite a few
Christians who are trapped or guarding the surrounding churches. A middle-aged Christian man
who stayed behind explains the significance of retaking the city. He says Qaraqosh has a history
with the Christians. The majority of the people in the area are Assyrian Catholics. There has been
no electricity or water in the area. Like previous ISIS attacks, the attacks were unexpected,
catching the Peshmerga and the citizens off guard. Families fled to Erbil and Dohuk. The man
and his family stayed to defend the church and have faith the Lord will protect them from ISIS
6:38-13:00- Yazidi refugees are forced to flee to the Sinjar mountains in Derik, Syria.
The US has claimed to have taken care of ISIS forces in that area, but the Yazidis are still
trapped. The flat barren landscape is scattered with refugee tents. At the camp known as Newroz,
men distribute supplies from a truck bed to a sea of waving arms and calls of distress. The camp
contains about 7000 people. A refugee gives his account of how ISIS attacked his village and
forced them into the mountains. There are workers at the camp to help distribute aid and supplies
to the women and children. More of the story comes from Senior PYD official Aldar Xelil, who
states denies the Syrian regime is providing any other the aid Yazidi refugees are receiving.
Instead of US military intervention, Xelil suggests the US support small militia like YPG to fight
ISIS themselves.
13:00-19:00- The scene moves to the Iraqi- Syrian border, of which has been a particular
area of tension even before the birth of ISIS. Citizens are attempting to make the 3 hour journey
through the border towards the refugee camps, but that particular road has been a popular ISIS
ambush point. On the return from the Iraqi-Syrian border, Peshmerga forces stop at an outpost
for water. At another refugee camp in northeastern Syria, people are scattered on the dry desert
floor trying to get some sleep. Many dont have blankets or cover over their heads.
19:00-25:30- In Khazer, near the residential area Erbil, cars have been deserted about 100
yards from the road by refugees. Chief of Staff Shwan Aziz accounts the events on the frontlines
between ISIS and the Peshmerga forces. The Peshmerga forces have a reputation for being a
strong and daring fighting force. When ISIS made an attack on Erbil, the Peshmerga were forced
to retreat, hurting their reputation. US airstrikes were completed to aid the Peshmerga in
stabilizing their position and have temporarily discontinued the ISIS advancement. General
Makded Harki of the 2
Brigade, Zeravani Division, describes how all religious minorities or
fleeing Iraq.
25:30-30:00- At a base located near the Mosul Dam, Peshmerga forces hold a position
about two kilometers away. The Peshmerga and the US are both working to regain Mosul Dam
because of its military significance. Tall black smoke plumes were visible over the horizons.
Peshmerga forces launch 107mm cannon shells into ISIS positions; ISIS returns fire with mortar
shells. Later that night, the Peshmerga and US retake Mosul Dam.
Interview #1 ISIS fighter
1. Tell me about your connection and experiences with the Islamic State?
I am a fighter for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. I joined the force in earlier
last year during the takeover of Ar-Raqqah. Ive decided to help fight with ISIS because I
wish to be a part of the caliphate and honor Allah by striking down all infidels.
2. Please describe some common misconceptions the general public is unaware of pertaining to
the Islamic faith and history.
All the media talks about is irrational violent acts committed by ISIS. We have
brought stability to the region by freeing the peole from an oppressive dictator. We have
established medical clinics, running water, and oil to help the Muslims of the region. ISIS has
support from the regions people because we take care of them better than Al-Assad and
Maliki. The demands of ISIS are simply. Just follow the word of Allah written in the Quran,
nothing more, nothing less.
3. How has Islam evolved from its origins to modern day?
Islam has not evolved. Allah has written his word in the Quran and those who call
themselves Muslims must abide by those rules.
4. What are the future goals for ISIS?
ISIS aims to expand the borders of the caliphate on into Europe and Asia until the
caliphate has no borders. All other false religions must be eradicate for they disagree with the
one true Allah. ISIS has grown greatly since its birth and gain international recognition; we
must continue to recruit members for the cause.

Interview #2 Peshmerga Fighter
1. What is your connection with the Peshmerga and how have you been involved in the
I am Kurdish by birth and have been living in London since I was elven. When
the conflict started getting huge media recognition, I was concerned for my peoples
safety. I decided to return home and volunteer for in the Peshmerga force. After a couple
weeks of training I was ready fight and protect my people from harm.
2. Describe some of the consequences involving the establishment of a ISIS caliphate and
how it would affect your people.
ISIS has escalated its violent acts since its break from Al-Qaeda. Anyone who
doesnt believe their extreme views have and will be executed. ISIS has even displayed
public executions to discourage all other false religions. The establishment of a ISIS
caliphate in the Middle East would put my people danger of persecution.
3. Tell me about the condition of the religious minorities being forced to flee ISIS control.
The mission currently has been to rescue refugees stranded in the northern Syrian
mountains. These refugees have fled areas of Iraq and Syria to avoid the reign of ISIS.
The mission has been successful so far in providing aid and transport in Peshmerga
controlled areas.
4. How do you believe the international community should be responding to the situation?
The Peshmerga need the help of the US to fight ISIS. The airstrikes have been
effective specifically in retaking the Mosul. We also need weapons and supplies

Beauchamp, Zach. "Myth #1: ISIS Is Crazy and Irrational." Vox. Accessed September
14, 2014. http://www.vox.com/cards/isis-myths-iraq/crazy-irrational.
Robinson, B.A. "Islam: The Second Largest World Religion...and Growing." The
Religion of Islam. Accessed September 14, 2014. http://www.religioustolerance.org/islam.htm.