Written By: Isabella Frank
Most of you have heard of Isis, the terrorist group that is not afraid to attack, but do you know where they came from? To most, it seemed as if they just popped out of the ground. Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) was born from war, its origins the invasion of Iraq by America in 2003. To keep the story short, the administration of President George W. Bush accused the government of Iraq, then under the control of military dictator Saddam Hussein, of possessing weapons for mass destruction. The United States Congress authorized a military invasion of Iraq which ended Hussein’s rule over the country. Even though Hussein was captured and put to death, conflicts still remained between America and Iraq. Many men still fought the war that was already lost, calling themselves “insurgents”. While many of the insurgents were from Iraq, some were from different regions. One of the more prominent groups of insurgents were the Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, a religious extremist group lead by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This group ascribed to a version of Islam called Salafism, which is an intense variety of fundamentalism that advocates violence and a harsh interpretation of sharia law. Before long, al-Zarqawi’s fighters allied themselves with the infamous terrorist organization al-Qaeda. Al-Zarqawi was killed during the Iraq war and, under new leadership, the group renamed itself the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI). Their intention was to build a Islamic military theocracy, or caliphate, in one of Iraq’s fractured regions. Violence against Iraqi people formed a backlash and ISI nearly crumbled. By 2008, most of the group’s leaders weren’t Salafi extremists, but surviving members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist group. Otherwise, many fighters for ISI were from other countries. The biggest change for the Islamic State came with the Syrian Civil War. In the chaos of Syrian revolutionaries fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad, Islamic State insurgents entered Syria and began attempting to take control of another troubled country. This is why the group is sometimes called ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) but because the group’s actions and ambitions have included many other countries in the Middle East, the preferred term by the United States government is ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).
Now, ISIS is attacking Shia Muslims in Yemen, gunning down Western tourists in Tunisia, beheading Christians in Libya, and murdering or enslaving all who do not yield in Iraq and Syria. They have control over Mosul, Baiji, Fallujah, Raqqa, and many more large cities. They have taken over oil Fields that could make them around three million dollars a day in the black market. Their territory spreads far out beyond Iraq, as Omar Aziz said, “The first thing you need to know about [Iraq] is that it is not a country but a financial and religious empire with a million poisonous tentacles stretching across both the West and the Muslim world.” How can we stop them? Just a few ways would be to find and cut off supply routes that Isis uses for bomb transportation, dry up the black market of crude oil and gas, and give any information found to the government. Other than that, we must rely on the government to protect and defend us. So far they are destroying bomb assembly warehouses regularly and exploding Isis storage houses at a fast rate. Isis has lost a large amount of people and just barely making up for it with new recruits.