The Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a militant group that follow a doctrine of Sunni Islam “Wahhabi.” The group started to gain traction after they participated in the Iraqi insurgency that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces. The Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi aligned his militant group, Jama’at al-Tawhis w’al-Jihad, with al-Qaeda, which turned into al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Islamic State proclaimed itself as a caliphate in 2014, in parts of eastern Syria and northern Iraq. A caliphate is a political body whose political ambitions and “laws” are modeled after the original ruling order established by Muhammad. According to Islam, the caliphate is the only acceptable form of government, as well as having political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.
When the Islamic State first started out, it was functioning solely as a terrorist organization. ISIS uses terror in order to frighten enemies as well as to force obedience. By doing so they have been able to seize land, that territory builds up a population to govern, which allows them to transform into a functioning state that uses extreme violence (terror) as its main tool. ISIS also has a lot of similarities to a functioning government, policing streets, collecting taxes, pumping oil, and it is even planning to issue its own currency. Mosul, Iraq is the largest city under ISIS control, they are setting tariffs for waste disposal and banning litter, as well as revising school curriculums.
ISIS has tried to use propaganda in order to paint a false picture of Mosul, trying to make it look like a peaceful and prosperous city with busy restaurants and markets, and streets filled with traffic. They have also tried to limit news from the outside world, by putting a ban on satellite dishes and have confiscated the ones already there. The Islamic State only operates in the interests of its members; for the average person life is not so easy. If a person doesn’t already have money they will probably find themselves eating eggplant and rice, because ISIS provides no services or help. The Islamic State acts like a government, as well as an institutional gang, taking care of its own members.
The Islamic State has been able to use modern technology to its advantage, by try to influence people in many parts of the world. In Paris, France in 2015 there was a series of attacks that resulted in the death of 130 people, 368 injured, 100 of whom were seriously injured. In San Bernardino, California 14 people were shot and killed, and another 22 were seriously injured. In Orlando, Florida in 2016 Omar Mateen walked into a nightclub and shot and killed 49 people. On January 1st 2017, 39 people were shot and killed and another 70 were injured in Istanbul, Turkey. The Islamic State still has the attention of new U.S. President Donald Trump, it can be seen that they are losing grip on the caliphate, but it might be hard to eliminate them completely. These events go hand in hand with their main tools, fear and hatred. The Islamic State has been able to combine terror, forced obedience, along with the internet in order to have a wide spread influence on many different countries outside of their caliphate.