Rukmini Callimachi, a New York Times and AP international correspondent, is on the streets of the city of Mosul in Iraq, which has been partially retaken from ISIS. The fight for Mosul has raged since November, involving well over 100,000 soldiers. ISIS and supporters took the city in 2014, after American troops followed Bush-era orders and largely departed the nation under President Obama in 2011. In a series of tweets today, she reported what she was seeing and hearing on the ground.
Iraqi coalition forces have won East Mosul and forced ISIS forces to the other side of the Tigris river. Having been on the ground for the beginning of the battle, Callimachi notes one very important difference between 2016 and 2017: Iraqis and ISIS are talking about Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. And one of the two groups is “openly celebrating” it, calling it the “Blessed Ban.”
The account would seem to confirm that ISIS is attempting to use Trump’s Muslim ban as propaganda to polarize Muslims. By painting the United States as uniformly anti-Muslim, ISIS can more easily pitch and maintain their simplistic and violent narrative, which pits Muslims against the West.