Even a cursory glance at the current happenings in the world will tell one about the emergence and evolution of the ISIS. That it has claimed responsibility of various terrorist activities weaves a story of its actions and functioning. Despite being primarily based in the Levant region, it has managed to exert its influence on other parts of the world.
Here, we study the establishment, evolution, and expansion of this outfit.
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh, emerged from the remnants of the al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). AQI was a local offshoot of al Qaeda founded by Abu Musab al Zarqawi in 2004. It declined after the surge of U.S. troops to Iraq in 2007. However, its reemergence began in 2011. Over the next few years, it took advantage of the growing political instability in Iraq and Syria to carry out attacks and bolster its ranks.
The group changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2013. ISIS launched an offensive on Mosul and Tikrit in June 2014. ISIS made Baquba, Iraq, its capital and swore allegiance to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi as the group’s emir. In the same year, Baghdadi announced the formation of a caliphate stretching from Aleppo in Syria to Diyala in Iraq, and renamed the group the Islamic State.
Objectives & Expansion:
A declared goal of the ISIS is to establish a “lasting and expanding” caliphate. Its strategy for survival and growth is an amalgamation of military, political, social, and economic components. However, the response to ISIS has largely been restricted to military interventions. The gaps in the approach of the international actors as well as deep sectarian divides in Iraq coupled with shifting strategies of the Syrian regime and its allies have, in a sense, let the Islamic State to continue to exist and expand.
However, the ISIS is far from being a unified body. It faces significant internal challenges, including problems about its brutality, a limited governance capacity, and tensions between foreigners and locals within its ranks.
There have been incidents of terrorism carried out in the name of ISIS. These include attacks on churches in Hollande, the Paris attack, and many others in Europe and other parts of the world. All these incidents not just take the lives of people who are targeted, but also instill a deep sense of fear among everybody else.