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What is Isis?

Updated on September 1, 2014

What does Isis stand for literally?

Is this a terrorist group? According to Wikipedia, the group has evolved from another with a different title. ISIS stood for " Islamic State of Iraq and Syria." And it has also been known as simply IS (Islamic State). It was also called ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). My first question, or one of my questions asks the meaning of Levant. Levant refers to a region that includes Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Syris, Palestine, Cyprus, Lebanon and part of southern Turkey. That information is according to Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, the group evolved slowly throughout the war in Iraq. Al-Qaeda, formed by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, combined with other Sunni insurgents to form the group, also know as simply ISI( Islamic State of Iraq). Wikipedia states that, at some point in February of 2014, Isis and Al-Qaeda cut ties with one another following a power struggle that lasted eight months over differing views regarding ISIS's "hardheadedness." Isis claims its authority as a caliphate form of government as reason to rule over all Muslims. A caliphate, according to Wikipedia, is a form of Islamic state led by a "successor" of the prophet "Muhammed." Involvement in the current Syrian civil war has contributed to the wealth of the IS group and led to the group's proclamation of new caliphate. On June 29, 2014, Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was chosen as caliph and renamed Amir al Mu'minin Caliph Ibrahim. The IS then expanded its desire for authority over Muslims in Iraq to include Syria as well after becoming involved in Syrian civil war.

The earliest record of the group, according to Wikipedia, dates back to 2004 when it was titled "The Organization of Monotheism and Jihad." From there, the then group leader, Al Zarqawi, swore allegiance to Bin Laden and the group title translated to "The Organization of Jihad's Base in the Country of the Two Rivers." Most commonly referred to as Al Qaeda.

Al Zarqawi was killed in 2006 and the group had already begun to head in a new direction. By October of 2006, the group merged with a number of others becoming known as "ISI."

The newly formed group named ISI formed a cabinet that placed a figurehead as its emir. The figurehead was named Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi and as a figurehead he held less power than the Egyptian Abu Ayyub al Masri. Both of these individuals were killed in a joint Iraqi- American operation in 2010.

The current abbreviation used to refer to the group now led by Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi is constantly being revised according to which group or individual is in charge of it. Recently, the group has claimed responsibility for the internet video of U.S. photojournalist James Foley being beheaded allegedly in response to U.S. bombing of ISIS targets. The video goes on to threaten a second beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff should the U.S. continue to use bombs.


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