Prince Amir Al Saud

Crisis in the Middle East: What is the ISIS?

Crisis in the Middle East: What is the ISIS?




Indeed, the Middle East has been in crisis for so long. To describe the situation in Iraq, the country has crumbled and all that takes place between the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions is continuous exchange of gunfire. The only winner in Iraq is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS.


Meanwhile, the entire region is affected by civil war while succession problems plague the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Algeria. Egypt has returned to autocracy wherein government power is placed in the hands of a single individual. No country in the Middle East has been exempted from the growth of fanaticism. Tunisia remains as the most democratic nation. Ironically, it also supplies the most number of foreign combatants to the ISIS in Syria. It looks like that the largest threat this year in the region comes from terrorists (Al Qaeda and Al Nursa Front) who are now in control of Iraq, Libya and Syria.


These extremist groups have changed the entire region in terms of politics and geography. Revolutionaries dominate these territories and earned the support of over 18,000 overseas fighters. This brought about the worst humanitarian condition worldwide since the Second World War. As a result, some 2.8 million refugees flocked to Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.


ISIS Sinister Goals

Some political analysts say that the ISIS is a consequence of what is known as another Cold War in the Middle East. The underlying cause is the failure of concerned governments to control their respective boundaries and territories. At the same time, these leaders neglected the provision of basic services to their peoples and failed to create a reciprocal political character that could have been the basis of collaboration.


Authority of the state simply disintegrated in countries such as Iraq and Syria. This situation also happened in parts of Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen. Due to the nonexistence of centralized governments, local forces surfaced to fill the space. These were all espousing religious, ancestral and regional causes. Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government and Lebanon’s Hezbollah along with mercenaries in Syria and Iraq have turned out as signs of the failure of governance in these nations.


Origins of ISIS

Where did the ISIS originate? The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham captured Mosul, the second-biggest city of Iraq in June 10, 2014. Mosul’s capitulation and succeeding armed blitzkrieg of the ISIS and how it captured Sunni cities came as a shock to many Western powers especially the United States. The organization attained what the Al Qaeda did not achieve. The statement made by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or Caliph Ibrahim which described the ISIS as the “Islamic State” and established the “Islamic Caliphate” in Syria and Iraq reveals the shrewdness of the group’s military authority and cleverness of its ideology.


Ideological sources of ISIS may be traced to Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad established in Iraq more than one decade ago by Salafi-jihadi Jordanian Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi. He pledged his loyalty to Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden and changed the name of his group to Tanzim Al Qaeda fi Bilad al-Rafidayn. In English it means Al Qaeda Organization in the Country of the Two Rivers. It soon became known as Al Qaeda in Iraq. However, Al-Zarqawi was killed by US forces in 2006. He was succeeded by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir and Abu Omr al-Baghdadi. Both perished during encounters in 2010. After this, the leadership of Al Qaeda in Iraq was transferred to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.


Islamic State

The Islamic State follows a unique kind of Islam. ISIS rise to supremacy is not very similar to that of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or that of Jim Jones (the religious leader in Guyana). One thing is clear. Many Muslims and Christians alike look at the ISIS as a disgrace to Islam. The Levant has very little respect for the basic principles of the Islam religion. ISIS fighters incurred the ire of Iraqi Muslims because they murdered fellow Muslim brothers and sisters (Shia or Sunni). The ISIS even blew up copies of the Muslim Bible or Qu’ran. Even fanatical Islam fighters maintain stringent rules of combat engagement along with restrictions against causing injury or killing women and children. The ISIS does not consider all these.


Civilized nations and peoples believe that this is not the real form of Islam. It is an abnormal form that must not embody an educated Islamic world. As a matter of fact, numerous Muslim blocs all over the world have rejected the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham strongly. Civilized Muslims globally have made a very clear position. The ISIS cannot be Islamic by killing innocent people to gain power or terrorizing nations into submission. The word ISIS will forever be a severe profanity to the Christian and Muslim races.


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