December 23, 2014

ISIS Timeline

A good primer on Iraqi insurgent groups such as al-Qaeda in the Land of Two Rivers, Ansar al-Islam/Sunnah and the Mujahideen Sura Council and how they have combined to create Islamic State or ISIS.

While the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) was only recently established, multiple iterations of the group have been documented since 2001, when the purported forefather Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi joined forces with al-Qa’ida.1 According to reports, Zarqawi cited disillusionment with US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq as his reasons for pledging allegiance to Osama bin Laden and establishing al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI)2 in 2004. From 2004 to 2006, AQI launched a number of attacks including multiple beheadings of American citizens.3
Following Zarqawi’s death by US airstrike in 2006,4 second-in-command Abu Ayyub al-Masri assumed leadership of the group and announced the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI)5 to politicize AQI’s activities, according to The National Counterterrorism Center. Although ISI (often referred to as AQI) was largely degraded by a US counterterrorism campaign from 2006 to 2011,6 the Sunni group managed to carry out various acts of sectarian violence, shown by events coded in red.

Recognizing an opportunity for further recruitment and mobilization amid the Syrian uprising, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who replaced al-Masri after his death, joined forces with Syrian Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra in 2013,7 reports claim. The new alliance was named the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and has been largely responsible for the 2014 attacks and land grabs in both Iraq and Syria. In June 2014, ISIS announced the establishment of a “caliphate” and renamed itself the Islamic State.

Many long time Jawa Report readers will recognize many of the groups.

One thing for certain there was no shortage of insurgent groups in Iraq. Many can be found in our archives. But this is a good general overview of them, especially the ones related to al-Qaeda and the former Baathist regime that have combined to form IS or ISIS.

The way I like to think of ISIS is this, its the Saddam method of governance, a fascist kill all those who oppose you wrapped in Islamic Salafist kill all who oppose you rhetoric.

I find that while early al-Qaeda was quite religiously motivated and saw themselves as pious Muslims, IS is much more pragmatic. It is first about its own power in the vein of Saddam's Iraq, Islam being used as the justification and for propaganda purposes. But the power of IS taking precedence over strict adherence to the core ideology.

For instance, under Islam killing one innocent is as if you killed all mankind, ISIS kind of turns this around to say, you can kill all humanity, even the innocent, so long as the end result is IS caliphate.

By Howie at 01:59 PM | Comments |