By now many are talking about this transition from being “ISIS/ISIL” and becoming simply the Islamic State. I certainly found the whole thing rather interesting.
The ISIS/ISIL enclave had become incredibly rich through their exploits and captured loads of great military supplies of US origin — including helicopters. They even joked that they expect the USA to service them and honor the warranty. They also seized an esitmated $400 million in currency (source: NY TImes). Certainly, these are very serious characters.
That does not mean that I think this is the erection of a permanent and recognizable state. This honestly depends on the will of the Iranians & the Syrians at this point, and the diplomatic skill of the new IS rulers. I also wonder if the Turkish will involve themselves, and in what capacity the Israelis & the US will act. Obama the cowardly lion brings little to the table though I wouldnt’ be surprised if he takes some sort of misguided, probably illogical action.
What is most interesting about this series of developments is the identity of this new “Caliph” which can shed some light on the issue.
His new, official name and identity, is as follows (and is as released by IS itself) and likewise explains their motive in dropping the geographic specifications of their title:
a khalīfah for the Muslims, and the pledge of allegiance to the shaykh (sheikh), the mujāhid, the scholar who practices what he preaches, the worshipper, the leader, the warrior, the reviver, descendent from the family of the Prophet, the slave of Allah, Ibrāhīm Ibn ‘Awwād Ibn Ibrāhīm Ibn ‘Alī Ibn Muhammad al-Badrī al-Hāshimī al-Husaynī al-Qurashī by lineage, as-Sāmurrā’ī by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdādī by residence and scholarship. And he has accepted the bay’ah (pledge of allegiance). Thus, he is the imam and khalīfah for the Muslims everywhere. Accordingly, the “Iraq and Shām” in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration.
He is being identified in popular media and elsewhere simply as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which wikipedia notes as his nom de guerre.
One interesting aspect of his origin is that he was a Ph.D. student of Islamic studies at the University of Baghdad and that he apparently can claim lineage from the Prophet. I am guessing that both of these are correct — we may disagree with the IS and their cruel actions, but we can certainly consider that somewhere among that massive organization there may surely be a descendent of the Prophet. They even say that Prince George is a descendant of the Prophet (the Local, France). There is no shortage of people with this distinction.
I found another interesting tidbit that shows the inaccuracy and lameness of popular media coverage of the whole background of events concerning how ISI (Islamic State in Iraq) essentially took power over Jabhat al-Nusra:
When the formation of ISIS was announced in April 2013, al-Baghdadi stated that the Syrian Civil War jihadist faction,Jabhat al-Nusra, had been an extension of the ISI in Syria, and was now to be merged with ISIS. The leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Jawlani, disputed this merging of the two groups and appealed to al-Qaeda emirAyman al-Zawahiri, who issued a statement that ISIS should be abolished and that al-Baghdadi should confine his group’s activities to Iraq. Al-Baghdadi, however, dismissed al-Zawahiri’s ruling and took control of a reported 80% of Jabhat al-Nusra’s foreign fighters. In January 2014, ISIS expelled Jabhat al-Nusra from the Syrian city of Raqqa, and in the same month clashes between the two in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Governorate killed hundreds of fighters and displaced tens of thousands of civilians. In February 2014, al-Qaeda disavowed any relations with ISIS.
Those dumb asses everywhere from NPR to the Guardian touted this title of them being “Too extreme for al-Qaeda!” (look at all these articles via google search) but there is little to really verify such a fact (hell, the Guardian article points out that they were told to not raise any hands against religious / tribal / clan groups that did not want to fight on their behalf).
Really, we are just dealing with a scenario where there was in-fighting within al-Qaeda and clearly they wanted to have their own, centralized body that was independent of the al-Qaeda network. It was a powerplay by ISI & al-Baghdadi, and it appears that it has truly paid off over there.
I am very fascinated to see how things are going to unfold and to see what this new “Caliph” is going to declare and do. This is a very fascinating point for Middle East history, and I am excited to say that I can write about a portion of it.
Now let’s just see where this is all heading and how the rest of the world reacts.
Keep your eyes peeled and dig for the truth — this is a complex scenario, so do not depend on mainstream media alone concocting some strange story. There is a lot of moving pieces here that have large political ramifications for the Middle East, and if you do not find a good thread to follow you will run the risk of getting duped or being ill informed.
I also recommend following some famous twitter handles that the Islamic State is using; many of them appear and disappear but a few of them for you are:
These are changing all the time and I am unsure which are directly linked, but it appears @Islam4allXs is perhaps the best one for English source on it that I have seen so far, and they are incredibly active.