The militant group offers a compelling proposition to would-be jihadistsby Josh Lowe / June 12, 2014 / Leave a comment
ISIS: the militant islamic force now threatening to take control of northern Iraq
What is ISIS?
It is a Sunni Muslim militant group operating in Western Iraq and Syria. The name is an acronym, standing for “the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (the Levant).” The group has dominated headlines this week after launching an assault on the northern part of Iraq, conquering the city of Mosul (population 1.8m). With a reputation as ferocious fighters, they reportedly met with little resistance as professional security forces fled the city in the face of their advance. “The city fell like a plane without an engine,” a local businessman told The Guardian. “[ISIS militants] were firing their weapons into the air, but no one was shooting at them.”
What does it want?
International recognition as an independent state for the territory it controls, which spans parts of eastern Syria and western Iraq. In this area, it functions as a de facto government, operating schools and courts. It also wants to control more territory. If it can sustain and consolidate its new gains in Iraq, it will control much of the northern part of the country, and reports say it plans to mount an assault on the capital, Baghdad (its advance has been halted just short of the city). It also wants to seize control of rebel-held areas in central Syria and potentially expand into the Lebanon to the West. In both Iraq and Syria, ISIS’s enemies are S…