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Updated on July 28, 2014

Test your knowledge of ISIS

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Table of Contents

  2. What is a Caliphate?
  3. How well are they trained?
  4. Will they be successful in their objective?
  5. What options do we have, going forward?
  6. Pictures of ISIS Militants & Equipment


Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and Levant is gaining major attention from the international community because of their recent attacks in the Middle East throughout Eastern Iraq and Western Syria. The militant group was a known associate of Al Qaeda until recent months when Al Qaeda’s leader dismissed ISIS as being too violent. The group imposes a strict version of Sharia law wherever they govern and more often than not are extremely violent towards Christians and non-believers of the Muslim faith.

They have been gaining attention because they’ve created a strong following of extremists from all over the world who are flocking to the Middle East to fight amongst the group’s ranks. There are fighters from North America and Europe who are travelling to these locations to assist the group in their cause, which is to establish a religious Caliphate that spreads from Iraq into Syria, quite literally tearing down the border which separates the two nation states.

It’s unfortunate because both governments in Iraq and Syria are facing major turmoil as their population consistently revolts and riots. Syria is in the middle of a civil war which has been going on for quite some time, their government is weak and susceptible large militant groups. The original revolutionaries in Syria, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has found that their revolution has been stolen from them by ISIS. Basically in Syria there’s a three way war shaping up between ISIS, the Syrian Government and the Free Syrian Army. Whereas in Iraq there’s a similar situation escalating. You have ISIS, the Iraqi Government, tribes and the Kurdish Forces all fighting over territory in Iraq.

The situation escalates each day in both regions as battles erupt all over the place between militia groups and government forces. The Middle East with high regard to Iraq and Syria is crumbling as we speak, the region is a pot of boiling water which is beginning to overflow. What comes next is all left to speculation and political writers like myself who have an edge over things like this.

What the ISIS wants their Caliphate to be

What is a Caliphate?

A Caliphate is the first form of governance in the Qur'an which is equivalent to the Bible in Christianity’s faith. The Caliphate was a system of government created the Prophet Mohammed who Muslims follow as their Messiah, much like Christians do with Jesus Christ. The Caliphate was ruled by Caliphs, who were the religious leaders for the people. This is the type of system that ISIS is looking to implement amongst the two nations of Iraq and Syria. Alongside this system of religious rule will be religious law also known as Sharia, which also, much alike the other things in Muslim faith contains unique interpretations which differ from person to person or group to group.

The ISIS group has a very strict version of Sharia law which has already been implemented amongst the cities that they have taken over control in Iraq and Syria. There are reports of mass executions taking place and as well hate crimes against Shiite Muslims. ISIS is not only looking to eliminate any foreign opposition in these territories but the group is actively hunting down Shiite Muslims and executing them as non-believers of the Muslim faith.

There are many more details yet to be release about what exactly ISIS intends to implement as far as regulations and legislature goes, however it looks as though being a minority in ISIS controlled territory is going to suck a lot. The other day ISIS offered Christians living in Mosul three options. 1) Pay a non-believer tax, 2) Leave the city immediately or 3) Convert immediately; failure to comply within one of these options would result in your head being chopped off.

How well are they trained?

The ISIS militia from what intelligence and news media outlets are reporting is a well trained group of young men enthusiastic about setting up their territory. The majority of the fighters from ISIS aren’t even from Iraq nor Syria, however they do agree that the Caliphate should be established within these two bordering countries. Images and videos from around the world which capture the group depict heavy weaponry and intense parading throughout the streets of the captured cities.

It appears as though ISIS has gotten their hands on all the leftover equipment that the United States of America decided to leave behind for the Iraqi government. This is sad news for the Iraqi and Syrian government which are already facing battles against their respective enemies, now they must face a very well equipped militant group with staggering numbers.

Since ISIS has gained control of anti-air and anti-tank weaponry it makes it that much harder to weaken the main forces on the ground. ISIS combatants have been described by those who have faced them in battle as not fearing death but rather laughing in the face of it and accepting it as a reward. The youth of these soldiers makes it incredibly difficult for the armies of the regimes to handle them in open combat, or close quarter combat. The conditioning and experience that these young ISIS militants possess far outweighs the condition that the Syrian and Iraqi armies are in. Most of the men in the Iraqi forces are old enough to be my grandfather and it doesn’t seem too different as far as the Syrian military is concerned.

Some weapons of choice which evidence suggests that the group has used them include but limited to: mortar rounds, RPGs, heavy machine guns, assault rifles, missile to air units, flak guns, tanks, personnel carriers, HUMVEES, trucks and probably more. It appears as well that the militants are trained on the weapon systems and they seem to be highly organized in comparison to Al Qaeda and the Taliban when it comes to ground missions and combat. One could say that ISIS is extremely well trained and have the equipment necessary in taking down any regime or government.

Will they be successful in their objective?

There is compelling evidence amounting that suggests that ISIS could possibly come out on top in Iraq and Syria, especially with the current state of both governments. Iraq’s government is extremely vulnerable at the moment while Syria’s government is corrupted all to hell and killing thousands of their own people daily. With both locations experiencing external factors other than combating ISIS, it provides an easier task for ISIS in taking over the countries via violence and force.

The group has been extremely successful in their recent missions of taking over the western border in Syria and eastern border in Iraq. They’re now marching towards Baghdad with a scary morale only seen in war movies. Each soldier isn’t afraid to die in the battlefield for the cause of ISIS while the same can’t be said for either the Syrian or Iraqi military forces. The not fearing death clause is an essential element within the ISIS movement which appears to be the driving force for their success in raiding the majors cities like Mosul in Iraq.

It’s a scary thought that Iraq and Syria could be under the complete control of an Islamic Extremist group but it seems as though the Sunni Muslims have had enough of the Shiite ruling the Middle East and are looking to overthrow the established governments from the Cold War era. These young militants are storming through the Middle East in American leftover combat equipment and are armed to the teeth in combat gear.

As of right now it appears that ISIS has been successful in their attempts at taking over the targeted cities and villages they’ve set their eyes on. However, they haven’t been able to fully occupy an area that represents a strategic stronghold like for example the capital Baghdad. Although they have seized control of smaller cities, the largest city the occupy at the moment is Mosul in Iraq. Traces of ISIS are seen throughout Syria, but it seems as though the main source of forces and fighting has transitioned into Iraq. The Free Syrian Army are the ones remaining in Syria still fighting the Al-Assad regime.

What options do we have, going forward?

  1. A UN intervention in both countries would put an immediate stop to the terrorists and the government corruption

  2. NATO can step in if things begin to get too messy with the murder rate of civilians and children

  3. Provide lethal weapons to both governments to help suppress the uprising that ISIS is causing and providing momentum to

  4. Help by emailing, calling your local politician to get them to do something to help the Middle East and it’s populace

  5. Write informative articles about the group and share this one with your friends who are wondering what’s happening in the Middle East and who ISIS is

Mortar Rounds

Confiscated Weapons Cache

Captured Iraqi & American HUMVEES

AA Gun

Assault rifles, rpgs, heavy machine guns

Mosul, city map

Reader's Poll

How worried are you about ISIS

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    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 

      3 years ago from Placentia California

      An excellent article that does a great job of explaining ISIS, their motivations and goals. I have also written an article about how the Shia, Sunni, and Kurds have more allegiance to their religious factions than to the countries they live in. Between the two articles, I think readers can gain a great perspective of today's middle east conflicts and why the U.S. should stay the hell out of a three way civil war. Voting Up and Sharing.

    • profile image

      Seas unit for America 

      4 years ago

      Stopping ISIS from using US Humvees. Support Seas Unit for America


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