FEBRUARY 23, 2015 – By now, we’ve all seen the horrifying videos released by the terrorist group, showing Western soldiers and journalists being beheaded. It’s caused a stir globally and made the war all the more terrifying. But has this group spread terrorism? Is their aim to cause terror and chaos?
ISIS is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and their aim is to create an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq and in Syria. In Iraq, it was known as al-Qaeda until February of 2014. ISIS was an arm of al-Qaeda until the Iraq group split after it claimed control of Syria and disregarded orders to kill fewer civilians there. Having claimed power in Syria from al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda Iraq became the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The United Nations and the European Union declared them a terrorist organization as of 2004.
Expanding its Influence
ISIS has currently been distributing written materials in Pakistan and its border regions with Afghanistan in attempts to expand its influence. Although formerly known as ISIS, the group called itself Daulat-e-Islamia, and implored the local population to join it in its struggle to establish an Islamic state. Hardcore groups along the border have proclaimed support for the group. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS now claims that al-Qaeda is in the past, and the future for other Islamic groups is with ISIS. More groups are splintering from al-Qaeda and proclaiming their allegiance to ISIS. Only weeks after the Egyptian terror faction Ansar Beit al-Maqdis gave its allegiance to ISIS, it executed an American oil worker. Allegiances are shifting, particularly in light of the seemingly limitless funding ISIS has through oil fields it controls. It’s the new rich uncle.
Isis has made clear that its primary goal is establishment of a broad Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was recently proclaimed the leader and caliph for all of Islam. ISIS has now dropped Iraq and Syria from its acronym. It now calls itself the Islamic State (IS). Its acts of terrorism continue to date. Most recently, ISIS was held to be responsible for the execution of more than 150 Iraqi women and girls in the Iraqi city of al Falluja for refusing to marry its fighters. Widespread executions and mass graves in the city had previously been reported. Hundreds of men and women are now being held prisoner in one of the city’s mosques.
Because of the tribal nature of the many loosely affiliated groups comprising ISIS and the religious philosophical differences of Shiite and Sunni Muslims, experienced leaders with masters degrees in diplomacy will find it difficult to negotiate a lasting peace, especially since the US is still maintaining its policy of non-negotiation with kidnappers in hopes that not providing payment will deter these events. Western military efforts at containing ISIS appear to be too little too late. Until such time as the murders are ordered stopped by ISIS, the killing will most likely continue, and terror will spread. This group has caused disorder and harm to many, the latest of which were the tragic deaths of Japanese journalist Kenjo Goto and American charity worker Kayla Mueller.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.