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About the Islamic State/ISIS Map
This map provides knowledge about the current position of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, means the areas i.e captured by the ISIS militants are shown in this map. The map is useful for political analyst, educationalists, and mass media professionals as well for general references.
What is Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a jihadist militant group currently wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria. . The group subscribes to an extreme version of Sunni Islam and denounces all people from all other religions and even Shia Muslims as infidels and apostates. Through active promotion of sectarian violence, the group has succeeded in maintaining military control over many parts of Iraq and Syria. The terrorist outfit, ISIS intends to establish a sharia-based caliphate stretching across many countries – spanning continents – and unite all these captured states under the Sunnah.In June 2014, the ISIS renamed itself ‘Islamic State’ and declared the establishment of its caliphate. The ISIS now holds sway from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala in Iraq. The caliphate is an obsolete form of Islamic government last seen in the days of the Ottoman reign.
Key Facts about Kobane
- Kobane, known in Arabic as Ayn al-Arab, and the villages surrounding it were home to about 400,000 people, most of them Kurds
- Kurdish parties have governed the area since the Syrian army withdrew two years ago
- In the first half of 2014, IS seized control of neighbouring areas, leaving Kobane surrounded on three sides
- IS launched a major offensive on 16 September, prompting more than 100,000 people to flee to Turkey
Is Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) a Global Threat?
History of Islamic State (ISIS)
The foundations of the ISIS were formed following the US-led invasion of Iraq (2003). The ISIS or the ISIL was formed by the insurgents of the Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, also known as the al-Qaeda in Iraq (aQI). Under the leadership of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the aQI formed part of the rebel factions that fought against the US-led forces. Soon after the fall of Saddam Hussein, some of the top military commanders of Hussein’s military joined the ISIS, unable to hold leadership roles under the new government. Though the group had initially enjoyed the support of other Sunni factions which were also part of the Mujahideen Shura, the violent ways of the ISIS soon led to an alienation of these groups till Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took over.
Key Person in ISIS
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi started to secure the loyalty of the Sunni populace of Iraq for the aQI cause. Iraq’s population constitutes of 97% Muslims, of which about 65% subscribe to the Shia sect of Islam. The country’s Sunni Muslims have been complaining of discrimination and political alienation for many years now. This proved to be al-Baghdadi’s greatest ally for his cause. The ISIS involvement in the Syrian Civil War allowed it to establish a sizable presence in the governerates of Aleppo, Ar-Raqqah, Deir ez-Zor, and Idlib.Through the greater part of 2014, the ISIS has waged a violent guerilla war in Iraq with the intention of establishing a caliphate state. As a corollary, the overthrow of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Shia-dominant National Alliance seemed imminent.In February 2014, the al-Qaeda denounced all ties with the ISIS and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was finally free to fight in teh name of ISIS.
Growth of ISIS or Islamic State
With the capture of the capital of Nineveh province and Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, almost half a million residents fled their homes in fear of the ISIS. The fall of Tikrit (located at a distance of about 150 kilometers from Baghdad) caused much worry since this meant that the ISIS troops had moved in very close to the Iraqi capital. On June 29, 2014, the ISIS renamed itself the Islamic State and declared the establishment of a caliphate on the territory under its control. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would be the new Caliph.
Currently, the US, the UK and a number of countries are in the process of forming a consolidated front to combat the growing threat of the Islamic State and curb the civil unrest in Iraq.
Other Names Used by Islamic Extremism
- Islamic State
- ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)
- ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the al-Sham)
- Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
- Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn
- al-Zarqawi network
- Jama’at al-Tawhid wa’al-Jihad
- al-Tawhid and al-Jihad
- al-Qa’ida/al-Quaeda of Jihad in the holy land
- Tanzeem Qa’idat al-Jihad/Bilad al Raafidaini
- Kateab al-Tawhid, Brigades of Tawhid
- al-Qa’ida/al-Quaeda in Iraq
- al-Qa’ida/al-Quaeda in Iraq – Zarqawi
- Islamic State in Iraq and Mujahidin Shura Council
Spread of the ISIS – A Timeline
2004 –Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi constitutes the al Qaeda in Iraq (aQI) amidst the US efforts to capture Saddam Hussein.
2006 –aQI indulges in sectarian violence in the country and starts to garner Sunni support against the Shia majority of the country.
June 7, 2006 – Al-Zarqawi’s death in a US strike deprives the group of a leader. Abu Ayyub al-Masri, takes over as head of the aQI.
October 2006 – Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) is set up by the aQI under Abu Ayyub al-Masri with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi as nominal head.
April 2010 – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi takes over the leadership of the ISI following the death of both Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri in an encounter.
April 8, 2013 – ISI merges with, Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. The group together name themselves Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The ISIL/ISIS has the support of the al-Quaeda. Some al-Nusra leaders such as Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani resist the merger. Both groups are caught in many violent incidents February 3, 2014 – al Qaeda detaches itself from the ISIS over the al-Nusra issue and a number of other differences.
May-June, 2014 – Many violent incidences of kidnappings, religious violence, and other atrocities by ISIS come to light.
June 10, 2014 – ISIS seizes control of Mosul city – second largest city of Iraq
June 11, 2014 – ISIS seizes control of Tikrit – establishes base close to Baghdad
June 21, 2014 – Al-Qaim and a number of other towns fall to the ISIS forces
June 28, 2014 – Iraqi Kurdistan restricts border crossings into the region for refugees fleeing the fighting.
June 29, 2014 – ISIS renames itself IS (Islamic State) and announces the establishment of a caliphate with al-Baghdadi as the caliph. He is now declared the leader of all the Muslims in the world (about 1.5 billion)
July 2014 – US support for Iraqi forces increases; a number of Syrian cities are taken by ISIS troops; crisis deepens as more atrocities are reported and towns along the Iraq-Syria border ravaged
July 3, 2014 – ISIS seizes al-Omar, one of the biggest oil field in Syria
August 8, 2014 –US President Barack Obama authorizes “targeted airstrikes” in the areas controlled by the ISIS. Airstrikes may be used to protect minority groups and to protect US personnel. The US starts to garner support in its anti-ISIS mission. Many European nations seem inclined.
August 19, 2014 –ISIS posts a video showing the execution of American journalist James Foley on YouTube
September 2, 2014 – ISIS posts another video showing the execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
September 13, 2014 – ISIS posts a video showing the execution of British aid worker David Haines in retaliation to Britain’s “evil alliance with America.”British Prime Minister David Cameron announces resolve to join the alliance against ISIS
September 15, 2014 – Senior diplomats and leaders from 20 countries including the US, UK, France,and many Arab countries meet in Paris to discuss the prospect of a joint military action against the ISIS
October 06, 2014 – Islamic State (IS) militants have entered the key Syria-Turkey border town of Kobane and are engaged in street-to-street fighting with Syrian Kurd defenders.
Who’s Who in Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS)
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (real name – Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarai): The Islamic State leader is the self-proclaimed Caliph and the supreme leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). He is believed to be the true representative of God by his followers and his wishes are carried out without appeal.
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (real name – Fadel Ahmed Abdullah al-Hiyali): Apart from being the deputy to the caliph, he also oversees the Iraqi provinces of the Islamic state. In governing the state he is assisted by six governors:
Abu Nabil (real name – Wissam Abed Zaid al-Zubeidi): Salaheddin province
Abu Fatma (real name – Nena Abed Naif al-Jubouri): Kirkuk province
Abu Jumas (real name – Ahmed Mohsin Khalal al-Jihaishni): middle and southern provinces
Abu Abdul Salem (real name – Adnan Latif Hamid al-Sweidawi): Anbar province
Abu Mayasara (real name – Ahmed Abdul Kader al-Jazza): Baghdad province
The main cabinet of the Islamic State currently consists of 6 members:
Abu Abdul Kadr (real name – Shawkat Hazem al-Farhat): General management
Abu Mohamed (real name – Bashar Ismail al-Hamdani): Prison management
Abu Louay (real name – Abdul Wahid Khutnayer Ahmed): Security management
Abu Salah (real name – Muafaq Mustafa Mohammed al-Karmous): Finance management
Abu Hajar al-Assafi (real name – Mohammed Hamid al-Duleimi): Transport management
Abu Kassem (real name – Abdullah Ahmed al-Meshedani): Recruitment of foreign jihadis
The ISIS War Office is managed by:
Abu Suja (real name – Abdul Rahman al-Afari): Martyrs’ families and women
Abu Kifah (real name – Khairy Abed Mahmoud al-Taey): Construction and rigging of explosives
Abu Shema (real name – Fares Reif al-Naima): Warehouse security
Islamic State Vocubulary
|Abbreviation||English name||Arabic name|
|al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah||the Islamic State|
|AQI||Al-Qaeda in Iraq||Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn|
|Daʿesh, Daesh, Daish, Daash, Da’ash, Daas, Da’ish, Dā’ash, Daiish||Various latinisations of the acronym||al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām|
|IS||Islamic State||al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah|
|ISI||Islamic State of Iraq||Dawlah al-‘Iraq al-Islāmīyah|
|ISIL||Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant||al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām|
|ISIS||Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham)||al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām|
|JTJ||NA||Jamāʻat al-Tawīd wa-al-Jihād|
|QSIS||Al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria|
Is Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) a Global Threat?
At first look the ISIS does not seem to be a major threat to much of the Western world if the attacks on Iraq and Syria are halted. Asia and much of Europe also seems to be out of harm’s way. The group’s intentions only seemto be restricted to carving out a caliphate along the Iraqi-Syrian border and in the Middle East. This could not be further from the truth. The threat to the world at large is an imminent one. The abduction and murder of European citizens and American journalists is a direct challenge to the Western world.
The ISIS also has global ambitions and plans on achieving Sunni Islamic world dominion. Soon after the declaration of the ISIS caliphate, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, asked jihadists from all over the world to join his mission. He said, “Muslims’ rights are forcibly seized in China, India, Palestine, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Caucasus, Sham (the Levant), Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Ahvaz, Iran, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco, in the East and in the West…. Terrify the enemies of Allah and seek death in the places where you expect to find it. Your brothers, on every piece of this earth, are waiting for you to rescue them” (sic). The planned Islamic caliphate map circulated by the group stretches from all the way from Spainin the west, right across most of northern and western Africa including Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Somalia, Ethiopia, through the Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia. The ISIS map of the intended caliphate goes beyond the Turkey, the Gulf nations, Iraq, and Iran, to cover Afghanistan, Pakistan, almost all of India, Sri Lanka, and the south western provinces of China. It also covers the Balkans and some parts of Europe.
Funding the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS)
Much of the funding received by the ISIS comes from extortion, loot, robberies, smuggling oil,and from private donors who are sympathetic to the cause. According to news reports, the organizations top and medium level commanders (about a 1000 of them) draw salaries between USD 300 and USD 2000 each month. Families of those who are killed on the job are cared for and children’s educations taken care of. It is believed that Abu Salah, (real name – Muafaq Mustafa Mohammed al-Karmoush) manages the finances within the Iraqi provinces.
In the early days of the millennium, it was estimated by the US intelligence that the al Qaeda was receiving between USD 25 million to USD 30 million per annum. The ISIS seems to have financial resources that outdo the al Qaeda – most of it coming in from wealthy families of the Middle East and some European governments. While European governments are by no means known to promote terrorism, they are said to have paid seven-figure ransoms for hostages taken by the ISIS.
The spoils of war are another major source of income for the organization. Selling oil from the oil wells captured is a key source. The oil fields captured by the ISIS are likely to fetch the organization about USD 2 million a day. Loots from banks and other financial institutions that are ransacked is another. In June 2014, the ISIS militants raided the central bank of Mosul and looted over USD 400 million worth currency and gold, according to official reports. Unofficial sources peg the income from this loot to be much higher than this figure.
Despite being capable of earning an impressive funding the ISIS may find it difficult to sustain the income over a period of time. Even as the US starts to choke every imaginable source of income for the ISIS, the cost of running and administering a caliphate is high and undiminishing. Financial woes may soon be knocking at the doors of the Islamic State.
CIA reports from September suggest that the Islamic State has between 20,000 and 31,500. About 3,000 of these fighters are foreign (including about 750 British nationals and a number of Belgian citizens). Each of these fighters is equipped with three sets of M16 rifles apart from full body armor suits.Armored carrier vans and vehicles seized from the Iraqi army help in transport of the troops and the arms. The jihadist group is believed to have about 10 Soviet T-72 battle tanks and about 30 Soviet T-55 tanks.Their arsenal includes ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns, FIM-92 Stinger portable infrared homing surface-to-air missiles, SA-7 surface-to-air missiles, and BM-21 Grad 122-mm multiple rocket launchers, Yugoslav-made portable M79 Osa 90 mm anti-tank weapons, AT-4 Spigot anti-tank weapons, and Hongjian-8 anti-tank missile systems. It is also likely that the ISIS now own a few helicopters.
Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) – Atrocities and killings
According to a June 2014 report by the United Nations, over 5,570 civilians have died in the civil war in Iraq. Since the time the Islamic State (ISIS) took over Ramadi in January, the outfit has been responsible for a number of terror strikes wounding about 11,665 civilians apart from killing 5,576 others. ISIS atrocities have driven some 1.2 million people to abandon their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. The damage to property and livelihood is incalculable, said the report.
In what is believed to be a well-considered propaganda, the ISIS has been releasing a series of videos broadcasting the group’s ruthless activities in Iraq, Syria, and other regions which are now considered parts of the Islamic State. In one such ISIS propaganda video, the group is seen propping up the dead bodies of children that have been killed in retaliation to a Syrian air-attack in the Al-Qaim region. Another such video shows ISIS attacks on Shia Muslims and streets strewn with such corpses. One of the most horrifying videos was the execution of civilians in a public square in Slouk and the disposal of their bodies in a deep ravine nearby. Among other ISIS propaganda videos, another featured the execution of 1,700 army troops by ISIS jihadists.
In August 2014, the group released gruesome set of images showing the execution of over 500 Sunni tribesmen from the Yazidi faith by death squads of armed ISIS jihadis.The images showed the brutalities inflicted on the men, their murder, the corpses and remains, and crucifixion of the dead.
The ISIS terrorist group is known to be ruthless when it comes to eliminating opposition. Hassan Abboud and nearly 50 other senior commanders of the Syrian rebel group called Ahrar-al-Sharm were killed in a blast as they met in a fortified barrack in the city of Ram Hamdan (Idlib province). The ISIS group is deemed responsible for the blast and the deaths. The group was a strong critic of the Islamic State and its ways.
Among the ISIS killings, the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff causes much furor in the US. Foley went missing in Syria in November 2012. For a long time it was believed that he was imprisoned in a Syrian jail. On August 19, 2014, representatives of the Islamic state, ISIS, released a video in which showed the execution of the reported by beheading him. The video warned the US to quit bombing ISIS in Iraq. Another ISIS video was released on September 2, 2014, showing the brutal execution and murder of Steven Sotloff. On September 13, 2014, another ISIS killing video surfaced in which the British aid worker David Haines was executed by ISIS militants in retaliation to the UK’s alliance with America against the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria. Towards the end of the video, the group threatened to kill another British citizen, identified as Alan Henning, if the British government did not withdraw support soon. The three brutal murders have shaken up the Western world.
US-led Coalition against the Islamic State
|1||United States of America|
ISIS Vs. ISIL
The ISIS acronym has been the cause of much anguish to a good many people and organizations across the world named Isis. It is estimated that in the US alone there are over 3,000 women named after Isis, the Egyptian goddess of fertility. In September 2014, the US-based Isis Mobile Wallet, a mobile wallet platform which is used extensively by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon users, renamed its service Softcard in an effort to disassociate itself from the terrorist group. A number of other organizations using the name have redone their logos or made attempts at distancing themselves from the terrorist organization. While the Obama administration and many states officially refer to the Islamic State as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), most media houses continue to refer to it as ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) causing much distress to those using the ISIS name.