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Islamic State In Iraq And


Greater Syria (ISIS)

Also known as the Islamic State (IS), the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Islamic State, or Da‘esh (the Arabic abbreviation of ISIS, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham), is a Sunni militant group that came to prominence after seizing the Iraqi city of Mosul in June 2014.  

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019 

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ISIS

Counter-Terrorism Report

ISIS has declared wilayas (provinces) in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus.

 

Beyond this, the terror group has waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Bangladesh, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019 

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Overview

A listing of known terrorist organizations and their AKAs.

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Doctrine

ISIS’s overarching goals center on the reestablishment of a global, Islamic caliphate and fostering violent conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims.  In October 2015, ISIS’s then-spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani issued a statement urging Muslims around the world to engage in a “holy war” against Russia and the United States, which he claimed were leading a “crusaders’ war against Muslims.”  

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019 

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Organizational Structure

ISIS is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its emir (commander, chieftain, or prince), whom the group proclaimed caliph of ISIS’s self-declared Islamic State in June 2014.  Beneath al-Baghdadi are two chief deputies, who oversaw ISIS territory in Syria and Iraq, respectively.  These two deputies, al-Baghdadi, and his cabinet of advisers are reported to comprise ISIS’s executive branch, called “Al Imara” or “The Emirate.”

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019 

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Financing

At the height of its power in Iraq and Syria, ISIS was called the richest terrorist organization in the world.  Months after the caliphate’s formation in June 2014, analysts estimated the group’s assets at $1.3–2 billion, with a daily income of $3 million.  

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019 

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Recruitment And Training

Since its inception, ISIS has maintained a powerful online media campaign aimed at recruiting members internationally.  According to national security pundit John Little, ISIS “launched [its] offensive with a . . . media campaign well planned in advance.  [The campaign] wasn’t an afterthought.”  Recruitment methods include slickly produced videos, an online magazine, and the use of social media outlets.

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019 

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Ties To Extremist Entities

ISIS was responsible for a score of terrorist bombings that resulted in the death of thousands.  In February 2014, the two groups split over a leadership dispute when ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, refused to obey al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.  Al-Zawahiri cut ties with ISIS due to the group’s repeated attempts to subsume al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, under its command.  Despite losing its formal alliance with al-Qaeda, ISIS has the same ideology and goals and uses the same brutal tactics as its former parent organization.

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019 

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Media Coverage

 In October 2002, the Saudi paper Al-Riyadh reported al-Qaeda’s statements in response to the Bush administration’s allegations that al-Qaeda and Iraq were connected.  According to the paper, the organization claimed that Saddam Hussein was “on al-Qaeda’s assassination list,” and its spokesman, who called himself Abdulrahman al-Rashed, said that Saddam was just like Bush in terms of “barbarism, brutality, and [religious] disbelief,” adding that Bush made allegations against Saddam “to control the oil of Iraq.”

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019 

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Executive Summary

ISIS is an extremist group formed from al-Qaeda offshoots in Iraq and Syria.  Since its formation in 2013, ISIS has worked to sustain a self-declared caliphate in eastern Syria and western Iraq.  Ultimately, ISIS seeks to unite the world under a single caliphate, and to that end the group has begun to establish satellite operations in nine countries.  Initially, ISIS gained support within Iraq as a Sunni insurgency group fighting what some Sunnis viewed as a partisan Shi’ite-led Iraqi government.  

DATE LAST EDITED:  07-2019