Known by various names over the last few years—ISIS, ISIL, and now simply IS— this terrorist group’s origins and goals have not changed. It is also known that this radical group—and many like it—are not going away any time soon. The old adage that “knowledge is power” is just as true today as it ever has been. With that in mind, knowing more about this enemy to mankind is a worthy endeavor. Check out the fast fact sheet below to learn the basics about the United State’s new enemy.
This group of radical jihadists is an off-shoot of al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). It became known as ISIL which stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” ISIL then became known as ISIS, “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIS has now morphed into IS, or simply “Islamic State.” These name changes reflect the group’s evolving philosophical, political, and geographic growth and expansion.
Armed groups must have access to financing. It has been estimated that IS has assets of at least $2 billion. Of this amount, 5% comes from outside donations, 40% comes from sales of oil and electricity in certain areas, 30% comes from theft, extortion, and taxes they impose on those they overrun and 25% comes from other unknown sources.
- Takeover of Raqqa, a provincial capitol city in Syria: March 2013
- IS captures the Iraq city of Fallujah: January 2014
- IS captures Mosul and declares caliphate: June 2014
- US airstrikes begin: August 2014
Who Are They?
IS (Islamic State) is a Sunni jihad group that has the stated goal of establishing an Islamic nation in the Middle East, with the ultimate goal of forcing Islam onto all peoples of the world. The group itself was created and formed by various fringe groups and movements that came together into this current fighting force. Current estimates of its numbers fall between 10,000 and 18,000 fighters. While small in size, its methods of brutality on those it overpowers has made it a force of fear, causing many Iraqi and Syrian forces to flee from them without putting up much of a fight. It has been suggested that IS forces are better paid and trained than other radical Islamic groups, which helps in its recruiting efforts.
The following is just one example of the many statements that IS puts out when it overtakes a city or village. This statement was released in June of 2014 to the citizens of Mosul:
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
The State of Nineveh
In the Name of Allah the Merciful
After liberation of the State of Nineveh, and the welcome shown by the people of the state to their brotherly mujahideen, and after the great conquest, and the defeat of the Safavid [Persian] troops in the State of Nineveh, and its liberation, and Allah willing, it will become the headquarters for the mujahideen.
Therefore we request that the people of this state offer their unmarried women so that they can fulfill their duty of jihad by sex to their brotherly mujahideen. Failure to comply with this mandate will result in enforcing the laws of Sharia upon them.
Allah we have notified, Allah bear witness.
Sha’ban 13, 1435
June 12, 2014
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