Foreign Affairs (Nov 22, 2017)
In the darkness of a Mosul safe house in which ten Iraqi soldiers slept, bluish light still emanated from the mobile devices of two intelligence officers busy locating suicide cars, IEDs, and Islamic State (ISIS) bases, and tracking down the names of ISIS members. Providing that information were civilians deep in ISIS territory. On the other side of the battle, the same process was happening in reverse. And those operations were, in many ways, far more sophisticated. Even now that the terrorist organization is disintegrating, its intelligence bureau still presents a major challenge.
THE INFORMATION WAR
For many of the civilians providing information about ISIS to Iraqi authorities, doing so was their way of fighting back against a miserable situation. “So many people in Mosul wanted to cooperate with us because they wanted revenge [against] ISIS for killing their family members,” one Iraqi Army intelligence officer told us. For others, the job was purely for material benefit—the payouts whose size depended on the information provided.