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Lecturrete Topic 112 - ISIS


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant(ISIL) also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) officially known as the Islamic State (IS) and also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh is a militant group and former unrecognized proto-state that follows a Salafi jihadist doctrine.ISIL was founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and gained global prominence in 2014 when it drove Iraqi security forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, followed by its capture of Mosule and the Sinjar massacre.

The group has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations. ISIL is known for its videos of beheadings and other types of executions of both soldiers and civilians, including journalists and aid workers, and its destruction of cultural heritage sites.The United Nations holds ISIL responsible for committing human rights abuses, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.The Islamic State committed genocide and ethnic cleansing on a historic scale in northern Iraq.

ISIL originated in 1999, pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and participated in the Iraqi insurgency following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces. In June 2014, the group proclaimed itself a worldwide caliphate and began referring to itself as the Islamic State .As a caliphate, it claimed religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.Its adoption of the name Islamic State and its idea of a caliphate have been criticised, with the United Nations, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups rejecting its statehood.


The group was founded in 1999 by Jordanian Salafi jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi under the name Jamāʻat al-Tawḥid wa-al-Jihad ( '"The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad"').In a letter published by the Coalition in February 2004, Zarqawi wrote that jihadis should use bombings to start an open sectarian war so that Sunnis from the Islamic world would mobilise against assassinations carried out by Shia, specifically the Badr Brigade, against Ba'athists and Sunnis.


ISIL is a theocracy, proto-state and a Salafi-Jihadi group.ISIL's ideology has been described as being a hybrid of Salafism, Salafi jihadism , Wahhabism and Sunni Islamist fundamentalism. There exists a general consensus that the ideology of the Islamic State is primarily based upon the writings of the radical Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood theoretician Sayyid Qutb.Muslim Brotherhood began the trend of political Islamism in the 20th century seeking a gradualist establishment of another Caliphate which would be a comprehensive Islamic system ruling by sharia. Through Sayyid Qutb's doctrines of Jahiliyya (pre-Islamic ignorance), hakimiyya (Divine Sovereignty) and Takfir of entire societies, a radicalised vision of Muslim Brotherhood's political Islam project would form the core of Qutbism(skeletal Salafi-Jihadism). Qutb was the precursor to all Jihadist thought, from Abdullah Azzam to Zawahiri and to Daesh. Alongside Sayyid Qutb, Ibn Taymiyya, Abdullah Azzam, and Abu Bakr Naji are amongst the most invoked ideological figures of ISIS.

It is estimated that between 27,000 and 31,000 foreign recruits, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa, have traveled to Iraq and Syria since fighting broke out in 2011. The largest numbers come from the following countries: 6,500 from Tunisia; 2,500 from Saudi Arabia; 2,300 from Russia; 2,200 from Jordan; 2,100 from Turkey; and 1,700 from France. Of these recruits, experts estimate that 20-30% have returned home! Since 2015, foreign recruits have also fallen off globally due to enhanced security measures and the general weakening of ISIS, among other reasons. While considerably fewer ISIS recruits come from the U.S. than from Europe or elsewhere, the number of Americans going to join ISIS has, according to the FBI, dropped to no more than one per month.


People join ISIS for a variety of reasons. Through its propaganda and recruitment process, ISIS targets those who are outcasts in their community or minorities in their country or people who have been discriminated against in a Western context. These individuals are usually either men in their mid-twenties who have a history of criminal, radical, or violent behavior or association, or orthodox, traditional Muslims who often have personal radical views. Younger recruits find ISIS’ violent actions combined with the accessible propaganda glorifying ISIS’ victories alluring and exciting. Orthodox Muslims, however, often confuse the Islamic State’s narrative with legitimate traditional Islam and see joining it as a pledge of loyalty to their faith. Others are inspired to fight to defend civilians in the conflict in Syria. Additionally, refugees from the conflict in Syria, often feeling that they have no other choice, swear allegiance to ISIS in exchange for food, shelter, and a promise of safety.


ISIS taps various sources to finance itself, including methods of self-financing, oil profits derived from refineries and wells ISIS controls in northern Iraq and northern Syria, looting and selling artifacts, taxation of people in areas it controls, and ransoms from kidnapping. Though the Saudi government has publicly condemned the Islamic State, private funding has also been known to come from wealthy Saudi businessmen. Often it is sent through Kuwait, a country allegedly known for being permissive in regard to funding terrorist organizations. Additionally, many of the weapons currently held by ISIS were unintentionally supplied by the United States, which had originally sent them to the Free Syrian Army to overthrow the Assad regime. These resources supplied by the United States were a key component in launching ISIS from a small jihadist group to the biggest growing threat in the Middle East.

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