Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

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Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام
Flag of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Territory currently controlled by the ISIL as of June 2014 (in red)
Territory currently controlled by the ISIL as of June 2014 (in red)
Status Unrecognized state
Capital Ar-Raqqah[1]
Official languages Arabic
Government Islamic state
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (killed in June 2017)
Separation from Iraq and Syria
• Islamic State of Iraq Proclaimed
15 October 2006[2]
• Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant Proclaimed
9 April 2013[3]
Time zone (UTC+3)

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS),[4] or Islamic State, (IS)[5][6] is a Sunni[7] jihadist militant group. In Arabic it is often called "Daesh". It operates in Libya,[8] Nigeria,[9] Syria and a small part of northern Iraq. It is influenced by the Wahhabi version of Islam.[10][11] It claims the status of independent state for the territories under its control in Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, and Syria. It is opposed to Shiism and has been described as "Shiaphobic".[12][13]

The group was started in the early years of the Iraq War and associated itself with Al-Qaeda in 2004. ISIL was composed of different insurgent groups. Its aim was to establish a caliphate in the Sunni majority regions of Iraq, later expanding this to include Syria.[14] In February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle, Al-Qaeda cut all ties with ISIL.[15]

ISIL is millenarianist,[16] meaning it believes that society is going to change a lot over the course of 1,000 years.[17]

Fighting[change | change source]

At the height of the Iraq War, ISIL was in the Iraqi provinces of Al Anbar, Ninawa, Kirkuk, most of Salah ad Din, parts of Babil, Diyala and Baghdad. It claimed Baqubah as its capital.[18][19][20][21] In the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the group has a large presence in the Syrian governorates of Ar-Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo.[22][23]

The group has attacked government and military targets. It has claimed responsibility for attacks that killed thousands of Iraqi civilians.[24] During the time coalition forces were present in Iraq, the group suffered some setbacks. By 2012, it was thought to have regained most of its strength and more than doubled the number of its members to about 2,500.[25]

In 2013, a letter and an audio recording of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, was leaked to Al Jazeera. In it, al-Zawahiri disbanded the Syrian faction of ISIL.[26] The group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, opposed this ruling on the basis of Islamic law.[27] The group has since continued to operate in Syria. Starting in April 2013, it made rapid military gains in large parts of Northern Syria, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights described them as "the strongest group".[28] They have sought publicity by releasing videos of the decapitation (beheading) of journalists and other prisoners of war mainly done by member Jihadi John. He was killed in November 2015.

Worldwide Caliphate[change | change source]

In June 2014, it announced a worldwide caliphate. In 2014, ISIL successfully fought in a large-scale offensive in Iraq. After this offensive, ISIL is reported to have seized control of most of Mosul, the second biggest city in Iraq, its surrounding Nineveh province, and the city of Fallujah.[29] In the spring of 2015 ISIL fought for control of Tikrit, the administrative center of the Salah ad Din Governorate.[30]

In spring of 2016 the Army of Iraq took back Fallujah. At the end of 2016 the army took back Ramadi in Al Anbar Province, and in early 2017 Iraqi government forces retook Mosul. In October Raqqa, the former headquarters, fell.

Film[change | change source]

The 2014 film The Blue Man,[31] which is related to The New York Times article titled "Uncovering Iraq's Horrors in Desert Graves" written by John F. Burns,[32] also mentions mass killings of Shia Muslims by the Islamic State between 2003 to 2006.

References[change | change source]

  1. "ISIS on offense in Iraq". Al-Monitor. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  2. "The rump Islamic Emirate of Iraq". Long War Journal. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  3. "Iraqi al Qaeda wing merges with Syrian counterpart". Reuters. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  4. Arabic: الدولة الاسلامية في العراق والشام ad-Dawlat al-Islāmiyya fī’l-‘Irāq wa’sh-Shām
  5. Lizie Dearden (23 September 2014). "Isis vs Islamic State vs Isil vs Daesh: What do the different names mean – and why does it matter?". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  6. Ian Black (21 September 2014). "The Islamic State: is it Isis, Isil – or possibly Daesh?". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  7. Iraq in Crisis - Page 175, Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai - 2014
  10. by therearenosunglasses (2014-05-18). "The dangerous spread of Wahhabi "Holy Fascism" | ThereAreNoSunglasses". Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  11. "Profile: Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)". 7 January 2014. BBC. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  13. Rise of ISIS: a threat we can't ignore - p 8, Jay Sekulow - 2014.
  14. Cockburn, Patrick (9 June 2014). "Battle to establish Islamic state across Iraq and Syria". The Independent. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  15. Liz Sly (February 3, 2014). "Al-Qaeda disavows any ties with radical Islamist ISIS group in Syria, Iraq". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  16. Wood, Graeme C.A. March 2015. The Atlantic What ISIS really wants
  17. "Millenarian-Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  18. Situation called dire in west Iraq. The Washington Post, 2006-SEP-10.
  19. "Anbar Picture Grows Clearer, and Bleaker". The Washington Post, 28 November 2006
  20. "Reporting under al-Qaida control". MSNBC. 27 December 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  21. Engel, Richard (17 January 2007). "Dangers of the Baghdad plan". MSNBC. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  22. "Iraq jailbreak highlights al-Qaeda affiliate's ascendancy". The Washington Post. 23 July 2013. 
  23. "Islamic law comes to rebel-held Syria". The Washington Post. 23 July 2013. 
  24. "Al Qaeda tightens grip on western Iraq in bid for Islamic state". 11 December 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  25. Uppsala Conflict Data Program Conflict Encyclopedia, Iraq, In depth, Continued armed conflict after USA's troop withdrawal from Iraq,
  26. "Zawahiri disbands main Qaeda faction in Syria". 8 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  27. "Iraqi al-Qaeda chief rejects Zawahiri orders". Al Jazeera. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  28. Gul Tuysuz, Raja Razek, Nick Paton Walsh (6 November 2013). "Al Qaeda-linked group strengthens hold in northern Syria". CNN. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  29. "Sunni militants drive Iraqi Army out of Mosul". The New York Times. 10 June 2014. 
  30. "Iraq city of Tikrit falls to ISIL fighters". Al Jazeera. 11 June 2014. 
  31. [1]
  32. Burns, John F. (June 6, 2006). "Uncovering Iraq's horrors in desert graves". The New York Times.