Islamic State: Terror as a weapon

Damascus (Prensa Latina) A synonym for terror, the Islamic State (IS) is now the new public enemy number one of Washington, creator of this organization and for years one of its main sponsors as part of its geopolitics in the Middle East. 

With tens of thousands of men, sophisticated weaponry and abundant financing, Daesh (the initials of the group in Arabic) developed from a tiny trained group to pose a real threat to Iraq and Syria.
Supporting and arming the opposition in Syria, we create a safe haven for jihadists, recently denounced the US Senator Rand Paul.

The Islamic State and its former ally Al Nusra Front, an arm of Al Qaeda in Syria, were able to grow thanks to the donations of allies of the White House in the Persian Gulf, considered Andrew Tabler, an expert at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy.
Also the former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki denounced for years the involvement of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the financing of terrorism in his country.

Although its origins are not entirely clear, it is considered that the seed was the group created in 2002 by Jordanian Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, known as the Al Tawhid wal Jihad Yamaat (Community of Monotheism and Holy War).

A year after the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, he and his followers swore allegiance to Al Qaeda and began to call themselves Organization Base of Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers (in reference to the Euphrates and Tigris rivers) and then the Islamic State of Iraq.

With the death of Al Zarqawi, in 2006, the command passed to Abu Omar Al Baghdadi and this happened in April 2010. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who once engaged in the Syrian war, changed its name in 2013 to the Islamic State of Iraq and Countries of Sham (ISIS, its acronym in English).
Some versions indicate that the seeds of the current structure of the Islamic State (last of the long list of names) incubated in the American prison at Camp Bucca, Iraq, where Al Baghdadi was arrested a decade ago.
The supporters of this theory claim that the fact that he was four years behind bars helped in the radicalization of the now self-proclaimed Caliph and allowed him to meet many inmates who today are its main lieutenants.

The IS soon gained a dark fame for its massacres against minorities and its more orthodox and radical vision of Islam even when comparing with the fundamentalists themselves. Lynchings, beheadings, crucifixions, stonings and executions in areas under their control have become everyday events and a show to win fans while terrorizing detractors. Raqqa, capital of the eastern Syrian province of the same name, is a city that went back in time after its full time occupation by Daesh earlier this year.

There, Sharia Law is practiced in a harsh manner and activities prohibited are smoking, consumption of alcoholic beverages, listening to music or any entertainment other than executions of "apostates" or "criminals" in the public squares. In Raqqa extremists control all aspects of daily life, from the clothes the inhabitants wear to the food they eat.

In this town it is mandatory for women to use Nikab (black veil that leaves only the eyes visible) and even commercials of Western brands are prohibited. Although the cafes and similar places have been closed, fundamentalists visit them often as evidenced by the photos they publish on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. True to its radical vision, IS destroyed the temples of other religions or turned them into mosques, as was the case with the Armenian Church in the city of Deir Ezzor, 460 kilometers northwest of Damascus.

As part of the new education system various ultraconservative  teaching programs were banned: history, sport, philosophy and psychology, among others, as they opened schools and camps that cater to brainwash the young.  Armed brigades separated by sex (Al Jansaa, women, and Hesbeh for men), are responsible for giving their particular vision of justice to peers.

Although officially they are volunteers, the average salary of their militia base, most of them foreigners, is between $300 and $500 monthly, much higher than that obtained by a Syrian worker.
In an attempt to legitimize their actions and extend their power, the IS has created its own government with numerous ministries from Education and Defense to water and Religious Themes.

With 30 000 combatants, it is estimated that this organization, qualified as terrorist by the international community, controls 50 thousand square kilometers on both sides of the border between Syria and Iraq, where six million people live.
*-Responsible for Prensa Latina in Syria.


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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey