A group in Iraq, called The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has appeared as the leader of the jihadi movement in the last few years. The group originates from al-Qa’ida, a group that was founded by Osama bin Laden. Formed from al-Qa’ida in 2010, ISIS is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Cockburn). The group has tightened its grip on Iraq and Syria, spreading the land on which it enforces Sharia law.
ISIS has called attention to itself from the media in recent months because of its growth and power. The group utilizes untrained foreign volunteers to perform its dirty work like suicide bombings. ISIS always attacks quickly and viciously, leaving a large death toll on the areas it attacks and accumulating few deaths of members. Although the group formed from al-Qa’ida, it is more experienced and successful than al-Qa’ida. The group carefully rose to power with campaigns against the Shia- dominated government in Iraq. ISIS showed its potential through events like the Abu Ghraib attack last year, in which it attacked the prison to release powerful leaders (Cockburn). Sunni Muslims support the use of violent action because of the lack of attention they have received since Saddam Hussein’s loss of power.
ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, became the leader of al-Qa’ida in 2010 after its leaders died in an attack by US troops (Cockburn). He is a very organized leader and has even issued “detailed annual reports” recording “operations in each Iraqi province” (Cockburn). He demands secrecy among his soldiers so that when asked, they state that they have never met him.
The group obtains money through theft and by threatening businesses. It has obtained and continues to obtain money through oil ransoms. With the money the group is collecting, which is said by Tim Lister of CNN to be 600,000 British pounds (985,653 US dollars) per day. The group uses this money to pay its members and purchase military equipment for its forces. The group has been installed in Syria since 2011 and has increased violence and occupation since. It added “al Sham” to its name after seizing control over parts of Syria, evolving from ISI to ISIS.
According to Matthew Olsen, a counter-terrorism official, ISIS “is not invincible” and can be mastered with and international partnership using “tools to defeat ISIS based on a determined and comprehensive all-of-government approach” (Johnston). Although the group has risen to a horrifying level of power and taken control over a vast area of Syria and Iraq, there is hope that organized, cooperative force can knock the extremist group from power.
Cockburn, Patrick. “Who Are Isis? The Rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 16 June 2014. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.
Johnston, Ian. “The Rise of Isis: Terror Group Now Controls an Area the Size of Britain, Expert Claims.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 03 Sept. 2014. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.
Lister, Tim. “ISIS: The First Terror Group to Build an Islamic State?” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.