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Islami Movement In Iraq


Historical names

The group has had various names since it was founded in 1999 by Jordanian radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi under the name Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād (lit. "The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad"). When in October 2004 al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden, he renamed the group Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn (lit. "The Organisation of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia"), commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq or AQI. Although the group never called itself al-Qaeda in Iraq, this remained its informal name over the years.

In January 2006, AQI merged with several other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC). After al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006, the MSC merged in October 2006 with several more insurgent factions to form a new group, ad-Dawlah al-ʻIraq al-Islāmiyah, which translates as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).The ISI was led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who were killed in a US–Iraqi operation in April 2010, after which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the group's new leader.

Current name

In April 2013, having expanded into Syria, the group adopted the name ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām (الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام‎). As al-Shām is a region often compared with the Levant or Greater Syria, the group's name has been variously translated as "Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham", "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (both abbreviated as ISIS), or "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (abbreviated as ISIL).

While the use of either one or the other acronym has been the subject of debate,[31][65] the distinction between the two and its relevance has been considered not so great.[31] Of greater relevance is Daesh, an acronym of ISIL's Arabic name al-Dawlah al-Islamīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām. Daesh, or Da'ish (داعش‎), has been widely used by ISIL's Arabic-speaking detractors,[clarification needed][66][67] although – and to a certain extent because – it is considered derogatory, as it resembles the Arabic words Daes (lit. "one who crushes, or tramples down, something underfoot") and Dāhis (loosely translated: "one who sows discord"). Within areas under its control, ISIL considers use of the acronym Daesh punishable by flogging or cutting out the tongue.

In May 2014, the United States Department of State announced its decision to use "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) as the group's primary name. It kept to this decision when in late June 2014 the group renamed itself ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah (lit. Islamic State or IS), thereby declaring itself a worldwide caliphate. The name "Islamic State" and the group's claim to be a caliphate have been widely rejected, with the UN, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups refusing to use the new name.

Later in 2014, however, some top US officials shifted toward using the name Daesh, since this was the name that their Arab allies preferred to use. In 2015, over 120 British parliamentarians asked the BBC to use the name Daesh, following the example of John Kerry and Laurent Fabius. It subsequently adopted the phrase "so-called Islamic State".


Un-Islamic Non-State refers to the term used by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, to describe ISIL. Similar statements have been made by Muslim groups in Britain. In remarks to the UN Security Council, Ban Ki-moon had said, "They should more fittingly be called the 'Un-Islamic Non-State'". He argued that "Muslim leaders around the world have said, groups like ISIL – or Daesh – have nothing to do with Islam, and they certainly do not represent a state."

The term "Islamic State" was objected to by Muslim groups in Europe even before Ban Ki-moon's letter, and according to The New York Times, using the term "Un-Islamic Non-State" was signaling that a "semantic war" was about to happen. In Britain, members of the Islamic Society of Britain and the Association of British Muslims sent an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron suggesting that the group should be referred to as the "Un-Islamic State" or "UIS". The letter, which was signed by a number of Britain Islamic figures such as Sughra Ahmed, President of the Islamic Society of Britain, Mohammed Abbasi, from the Association of British Muslims, and Amjad Malik QC, President of the Association of Muslim Lawyers, said: "We do not believe the terror group responsible should be given the credence and standing they seek by styling themselves Islamic State. It is neither Islamic, nor is it a state."


The group was founded in 1999 by Jordanian radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi under the name Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād (lit. "The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad").

In October 2004, al-Zarqawi pledged allegiance (bay'ah) to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and renamed the group Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn (lit. "The Organisation of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia"), commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq or AQI. Under al-Zarqawi, the group participated in the Iraqi insurgency following the March 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces.

In January 2006, the group joined other Sunni insurgent groups to form the short-lived Mujahideen Shura Council. After al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006, the Mujahideen Shura Council merged in October 2006 with several more insurgent factions to establish ad-Dawlah al-ʻIrāq al-Islāmiyah, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).[61] The ISI was led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri,

until they were killed in a US–Iraqi operation in April 2010, after which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the group's leader.

In August 2011, following the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, ISI, now under the leadership of al-Baghdadi, delegated a mission into Syria, which under the name Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahli ash-Shām (or al-Nusra Front) established a large presence in Sunni-majority Al-Raqqah, Idlib, Deir ez-Zor, and Aleppo provinces. In April 2013, al-Baghdadi decreed the reunification of the Syrian al-Nusra Front with ISI to form the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL). However, Abu Mohammad al-Julani and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leaders of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda respectively, rejected the merger. After an eight-month

power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with ISIL by February 2014, citing its failure to consult and "notorious intransigence".[3][55]

In early 2014, ISIL drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Anbar campaign

which was followed by the capture of Mosuland the Sinjar massacre.The loss of control almost caused a collapse of the Iraqi government and prompted a renewal of US military action in Iraq. In Syria, the group has conducted ground attacks on both government forces and rebel factions.

Foundation, 1999–2006

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Jordanian Salafi jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his militant group Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, founded in 1999, achieved notoriety in the early stages of the Iraqi insurgency for their suicide attacks on Shia Islamic mosques, civilians, Iraqi government institutions and Italian soldiers partaking in the US-led 'Multi-National Force'. Al-Zarqawi's group officially pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in October 2004, changing its name to Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (تنظيم قاعدة الجهاد في بلاد الرافدين, "Organisation of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia"), also known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

Attacks by the group on civilians, Iraqi government and security forces, foreign diplomats and soldiers, and American convoys continued with roughly the same intensity. In a letter to al-Zarqawi in July 2005, al-Qaeda's then deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri outlined a four-stage plan to expand the Iraq War. The plan included expelling US forces from Iraq, establishing an Islamic authority as a caliphate, spreading the conflict to Iraq's secular neighbours, and clashing with Israel, which the letter says "was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity".[85]


In January 2006, AQI joined with several smaller Iraqi insurgent groups under an umbrella organisation called the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC). According to Brian Fishman, this was little more than a media exercise and an attempt to give the group a more Iraqi flavour, and perhaps to distance al-Qaeda from some of al-Zarqawi's tactical errors, more notably the 2005 bombings by AQI of three hotels in Amman.

On 7 June 2006, a US airstrike killed al-Zarqawi, who was succeeded as leader of the group by the Egyptian militant Abu Ayyub al-Masri.On 12 October 2006, the MSC united with three smaller groups and six Sunni Islamic tribes to form the "Mutayibeen Coalition". It swore by Allah "to rid Sunnis from the oppression of the rejectionists (Shi'ite Muslims) and the crusader occupiers ... to restore rights even at the price of our own lives ... to make Allah's word supreme in the world, and to restore the glory of Islam"A day later, the MSC declared the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), comprising Iraq's six mostly Sunni Arab governoratesAbu Omar al-Baghdadi was announced as its emirand al-Masri was given the title of Minister of War within the ISI's ten-member cabinet.

As Islamic State of Iraq, 2006–13

According to a study compiled by United States intelligence agencies in early 2007, the ISI planned to seize power in the central and western areas of Iraq and turn it into a Sunni caliphate.The group built in strength and at its height enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar, Diyala and Baghdad, claiming Baqubah as a capital city.The Iraq War troop surge of 2007 supplied the United States military with more manpower for operations targeting the group, resulting in dozens of high-level AQI members being captured or killed.Between July and October 2007, al-Qaeda in Iraq was reported to have lost its secure military bases in Al Anbar province and the Baghdad area.During 2008, a series of US and Iraqi offensives managed to drive out AQI-aligned insurgents from their former safe havens, such as the Diyala and Al Anbar governorates, to the area of the northern city of Mosul.By 2008, the ISI was describing itself as being in a state of "extraordinary crisis". Its violent attempts to govern its territory led to a backlash from Sunni Arab Iraqis and other insurgent groups and a temporary decline in the group, which was attributable to a number of factors,

notably the Anbar Awakening.

In late 2009, the commander of US forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, stated that the ISI "has transformed significantly in the last two years. What once was dominated by foreign individuals has now become more and more dominated by Iraqi citizens".

On 18 April 2010, the ISI's two top leaders, Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, were killed in a joint US-Iraqi raid near Tikrit.In a press conference in June 2010, General Odierno reported that 80% of the ISI's top 42 leaders, including recruiters and financiers, had been killed or captured, with only eight remaining at large. He said that they had been cut off from al-Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan.On 16 May 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was appointed the new leader of the Islamic State of Iraq. Al-Baghdadi replenished the group's leadership, many of whom had been killed or captured, by appointing former Ba'athist military and intelligence officers who had served during Saddam Hussein's rule. These men, nearly all of whom had spent time imprisoned by the US military, came to make up about one third of Baghdadi's top 25 commanders. One of them was a former colonel, Samir al-Khlifawi, also known as Haji Bakr, who became the overall military commander incharge of overseeing the group's operations.Al-Khlifawi was instrumental in doing the ground work that led to the growth of ISIL.

In July 2012, al-Baghdadi released an audio statement online announcing that the group was returning to former strongholds from which US troops and the Sons of Iraq had driven them in 2007 and 2008. He also declared the start of a new offensive in Iraq called Breaking the Walls, aimed at freeing members of the group held in Iraqi prisons. Violence in Iraq had begun to escalate in June 2012, primarily with AQI's car bomb attacks, and by July 2013, monthly fatalities exceeded 1,000 for the first time since April 2008.




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