Working for the Islamic State

OK, it’s clear the armed gentlemen you see in this picture don’t want to talk to the press, so let me step in and let you know about a new way to escape with your head still attached to your body after falling into their hands. (Although you may have heard of this already; the article says CNN also has coverage of this.)

Those 20 sanitarios extranjeros are foreign personnel ISIL soldiers recently captured while taking over a hospital; they are mostly Filipinos but also other nationalities such as Ukrainian, Indian and Serbian. They were told that “if they wanted to continue to live” then they would be expected to continue living in the area and continue their work at the hospital, which of course would largely be transformed into a medical facility for treating ISIL fighters.

Now, the first important stipulation to this report is that all of this took place in Libya, near the port city of Sirte which was ex-Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s home town and also where he was finally tracked down and killed. These militants are said here to be “jihadists” from the “Islamic State,” but we have to remember that the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL proper – the one operating in Syria and Iraq – has lately taken to franchising its operations, to Libya and to Nigeria: so these are but Islamic State franchisees.

Probably a bigger stipulation about this story is that it is ludicrous to believe that these hospital employees can just be ordered to continue their work, under ISIL occupation, and that everything can go on as before. Who pays them? How much? Who procures the hospital’s needed supplies? What happens when/if those opposing these “Islamic State” forces counterattack to take back this territory?

Some of these questions can no doubt be answered by looking at similar institutions in the captured Iraqi city of Mosul – although Sirte is quite a bit smaller than that, and the unique aspect of this story is the new way these fighters have come up with here to make these Libyan hospital personnel “loose” sorts of hostages – slaves, really.

But at least we are spared quite a few more grisly execution videos.

Side-note: It’s easy to see the two ISIL soldiers in the pictures are carrying very different types of weapons. In fact, the one on the left is carrying an M16/M4 type assault rifle (civilian version: the AR15) which characterizes American and American-outfitted forces. Hard to figure that one out, if these guys are supposed to be in Libya. Easier to figure out if they are ISIL in Syria or Iraq: the equipment was captured from the Iraqi Army.

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