Introduction to The Islamic State (ISIS)
The late Jordanian Musab al-Zarqawi is credited with founding the Islamic State. Zarqawi founded al-Jihad in 2002, a year after American troops invaded Iraq, and later created al-Qaeda in Iraq. He died in 2006, and al-Qaeda formed an umbrella organization called the Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS Fast Facts 1). ISIS was weakened, however, by American troops and the Sahwa councils (Awakening), which were formed by Sunni Arab tribesmen who condemned its brutality. Baghdadi took over as a leader in 2010 and fortified the group. This was seen in 2013 after several attacks were reported in Iraq. They also joined the rebellion against Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad. Baghdadi declared the merger of Syrian and Iraqi militia forces and the formation of ISIS in April 2013.
The Islamic State Movement
In December 2013, the group returned to Iraq, sparking a political standoff between the Sunni Arab minority and the Shia government. In fact, the tribesmen helped the group take over Falluja, the central city. ISIS captured Mosul in early 2014 and advanced toward Baghdad. By the end of June 2014, the group had consolidated its operations and was in charge of many towns and cities. Indeed, ISIS renamed itself the Islamic State and declared the establishment of a caliphate (What is Islamic State 1).
The Islamic State Concept
The group’s main goal is to establish a state ruled by a religious leader, also known as a Caliphate State, under Sharia or Islamic law. In fact, the group is confident of crossing borders such as Lebanon and Jordan and liberating Palestine. They receive support from other Muslims worldwide, but it is not forthcoming. Furthermore, as a show of solidarity, they demand that all Muslims swear allegiance to their leader (Deeb 1).