Terrorism is an important topic for the UPSC exam. It is a part of the international relations segment of the IAS syllabus. In this article, you can get a brief on the Islamic State (IS), which is a terrorist organisation working chiefly in parts of Syria and Iraq, and seeking to create a global caliphate.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
- The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), alternatively called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a jihadist organisation controlling parts of Iraq and Syria, with claims to be a worldwide caliphate. It is also called Daesh sometimes.
- The organisation, as a caliphate, claims to have political, religious and military authority of all Muslims in the world. (Almost all Muslim countries reject this).
- Wherever they have control, a strict interpretation of Sharia law is observed, along with massacres and brutalities for anyone who opposes them.
- It is accused of gross human rights violation and ethnic cleansing by the UN and Amnesty International.
- The IS’s stated objectives are to eliminate obstacles to restoring God’s rule on earth and to defend the Umma (Muslim community) against non-believers.
- The IS is known for its videos of beheadings and executions. The ISIS soldiers also engage in public floggings and summary executions.
- It also engages in sex slavery of women it captures from combat areas. Women and even young girls are sold as slaves or forcibly married off to ISIS fighters.
- It uses propaganda, especially by social media, to attract recruits.
- It also engages in forced conversions, group massacres and expulsion of minorities. There are also reports of ethnic cleansing.
- The ISIS also engages in destroying places of worship, heritage sites and buildings which it deems unislamic. Many tombs of Islamic prophets and imams were also destroyed because ISIS considered worshiping at graves to be idolatrous.
- Current leader of the organisation is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
- Many terrorist organisations in different countries have declared their allegiance to ISIS. a few prominent ones are Boko Haram, Jundallah, Caucasus Emirate, etc.
- It is speculated that the states of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syrian government and Turkey are discreetly supporting the ISIS by various means including funding. This is, although denied by these countries officially.
- India has banned this terrorist body in December 2016.
- It started out in 1999 as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad.
- This organisation had sprung up during the insurgency in Iraq following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US-led forces.
- By 2015, it held large swathes of area in western Iraq and eastern Syria, and had over 30000 fighters.
- It was founded by a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi under its previous name.
Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
- The Global Coalition, also called Counter-ISIL Coalition, is a group of countries and non-state actors working together to defeat the ISIS.
- This coalition is led by the United States.
- The codename for the joint operations against ISIS is called Operation Inherent Resolve.
- Members of this coalition are the USA, European Union, NATO, GCC and the Arab League.
- There are some other nations as well who are supporting the fight against ISIS, but are not part of the coalition. They are Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Azerbaijan and Yemen.
- There are some non-state opponents of ISIS as well. Some of them are the Taliban, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front, Hamas, Hezbollah, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), etc.
- In 2017, the US military reported that the terrorist organisation now holds less than 2% of the territory it had once captured.
- In December 2017, the prime minister of Iraq stated that the last remnants of the IS had been driven out from Iraq, some three years after about one-third of the country had been captured by terrorist organisation.
- By March 2019, the ISIS had lost one of their major territories in West Asia, in the Syrian town of Al-Baghuz Fawqani to the SDF. Currently, there is no territory under the control of the ISIS in Iraq or Syria.