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MALA QARA, Iraq: Mohannad is a spy for Daesh. He eavesdrops on chatter in the street markets of Mosul and reports back to his handlers when someone breaks the militant group's rules. One man he informed on this year – a street trader defying a ban on selling cigarettes – was fined and tortured by Daesh (ISIS) fighters, according to a friend of Mohannad's family. The Baathists have strengthened the group's spy networks and battlefield tactics and are instrumental in the survival of its self-proclaimed caliphate, according to interviews with dozens of people, including Baath leaders, former intelligence and military officers, Western diplomats and 35 Iraqis who recently fled Daesh territory for Kurdistan.The Naqshbandi and smaller groups of Saddam-era officers made up the majority of fighters in the initial stages of last year's military onslaught, according to Sunni tribal leaders, Baathists and an Iraqi security commander.
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