We all knew this would happen. It’s been a while since we talked about how cheese, tulips, and murder are The Netherlands’ biggest export product. To counter the jovial, liberal, and straight-to-your-face Dutch attitude that is (mostly) beloved around the world, we had a few among us who were making less than pleasant fame abroad. With murderous expats such as Joran van der Sloot and Tanja Nijmeijer (formerly) butchering their way through South America, the next thing was a not-so modest stream of Dutch jihadists. An estimated 150 of them are believed to be active in the Middle East as part of the IS network. Some of them have already been killed in battle, but now a new low has been reached, as it has been confirmed by the news-outlet Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently that IS has executed eight Dutch jihadists.
So what happened?
This conflict has also been dubbed the ‘social media war’ and the Dutch have their fair share of good reporters on the (ambigious and sometimes digital) frontlines of Syria and Iraq, and be sure to follow @arabthomness and @BrendaStoter for the newest shifts at the fronts and insider info. But once again, Harald Doornbos takes the crown with a great 24-tweet translation of the report by the ‘Raqqa is being slaughtered silently’
1/ letterlijke vertaling. > “ISIS fighters with Dutch nationalities were able to form their own group due to their numbers >— Harald Doornbos (@HaraldDoornbos) 29 februari 2016
…and their ability to attract dutch nationals from Moroccan origin until their number reached 75 members. They took the area of Al Furusiyya in Ar-Raqqa as a base. They were almost semi isolated from their surroundings. But they kept following orders of IS-leadership, although there was tension between the Dutch nationals and the Iraqi commanders in IS. Around a month ago, the situation deteriorated when a patrol from Electricity HQ (new security IS-headquarters, reporting to Base11), went to the camp in al-Furusiyya-club, (it is a horse riding club) where the members of the Dutch group live. The patrol arrested one of the (Dutch) members to interrogate him, accusing him of encouraging others to defect. He (the arrested Dutch IS-member) is young in age and was planning to escape IS-territory, according to the reporter of @Raqqa_SL. IS arrested then two others from the Dutch group.
Next day, 1 of the arrested Dutch was killed by Intelligence Unit of IS. He died due to extreme beating he received during interrogation. His Dutch colleagues learned about this. They went to the headquarters which reports to Base 11, located behind the electricity station. A severe argument took place. And there was shooting between the Dutch IS-members and the Iraq IS-commanders at the headquarters. Situation spilled over and became an argument between Dutch nationals &leadership of IS in Raqqa. Specifically with Abu Ahmad al-Iraqi. European IS-members accused the Iraqi IS-leadership of patronizing them and not giving them equal rights similar to Iraqi fighters. Next day, Abu Labeeb al-Amni, deputy of the Wali of Raqqa, went to Al Furusiyya HQ to meet with Dutch nationals & solve the problems. The moment Abu Labeeb al-Amni arrived there, Dutch IS-fighters killed him to avenge their friend, who was earlier beaten to death. Members of the Dutch-unit didn’t want to say who specifically shot Abu Labeeb al-Amni.
IS leadership in Raqqa reported to higher #IS leadership in Iraq about fitna between European Muhajireen &Iraqi IS-commanders in Raqqa. Leadership of #IS issued an order to arrest all members of Dutch unit, to interrogate them and to find out who killed Abu Labeeb. If they don’t say who killed Abu Labeeb, they all will be accused of defection, instigation against IS &charged with corruption. Immediately, Intelligence Unit of IS headed with several cars to HQ Dutch fighters &encircled Furusiyya where European fighters stay. Intelligence Unit of IS tried to enter HQ to arrest the Dutch. Some resisted. Started shooting at them. Some people on both sides injured. Then IS-intelligence unit entered, arrested entire Dutch unit, around 75 members. They were taken to prisons in Maadan and Tabaqa.
Serious gratitude goes out to the brave people of @Raqqa_SL and of course Harald Doornbos, epic tweet story!
So what to think of this?
So first off, IS is not doing so well. People want to defect, their ranks are talking not-so-covertly about it and they’ve serious difficulty in getting their troops in line.
Second, since there’s a lot of driving going on between camps and prisons it just shows once more how limited the bombing campaign has been so far. One would expect every little tent that could contain any jihadi’s would have been bombed to oblivion by now.
And finally, what will the reaction be like from the Netherlands? Twitter has already seen some sarcastic mourning for these ‘Dutchies’ and you can bet your clog on it (don’t worry, not a real saying in the Netherlands) that Wilders will be cheering the execution in the morning. He cannot be blamed for that, we are after all at war with IS, and these 8 have betrayed this country (and the whole of humanity for that matter). Unlike Jitse Atske, who fought with the good side in this conflict (YPG, the fellas that defended Kobane against IS) and was consequently thanked by the Dutch government with a medal, a violent arrest.
So what now?
Undoubtedly the Raqqa area will get more and more attention since there are now 75 Dutch jihadi’s incarcerated. Will they bombed by Russia or the US? Will they be executed by IS? And will there be widespread cheering after that?
There will probably be a lot of sad families in the town of Delft, The Hague and Utrecht as well, these wicked jihadis are still their family.
Only the future can tell…