CANADA: Apparent terror attack by man with machete at Calgary’s Marlborough Mall…no word on if it is Islamic terrorism

Severely wounded, a Calgary police officer made a last-ditch attempt to stop an allegedly armed and violent suspect Saturday afternoon — dropping him with a bullet. It was one of two unrelated incidents in the space of about an hour Saturday where a cop made the choice to open fire.

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Calgary Sun  (h/t Edna K) Deputy Chief Trevor Daroux said after hitting the suspect with a taser failed and the suspect had struck the officer with a large bladed weapon, the lone officer shot the suspect inside a department store at crowded Marlborough Mall in the city’s northeast.

The incident started moments earlier, around 2 p.m., at a nearby LRT platform, where police were called for reports of a man with a weapon fighting with several other people. Calgary police have confirmed an officer is in stable condition after sustaining a “severe injury” in an altercation at Marlborough Mall in Calgary Saturday afternoon.

Global News  Calgary police have confirmed an officer is in stable condition after sustaining a “severe injury” in an altercation at Marlborough Mall in Calgary Saturday afternoon.

The incident began shortly after 2:10 p.m. MT. One witness told Global News she was first aware of a problem when she heard shouting from a nearby CTrain station, and noticed a man who appeared to have a large knife fighting with a number of people.

“I was coming off of the bus to go on the train and I saw an altercation and all of a sudden a guy was chasing some people with a knife and ran into the mall and a bunch of cops showed up. Not really sure what happened after that but there was a guy with a big knife and he was chasing people,” Kayla Perrin said.

A police officer is wheeled on a stretcher out of the Sears in Marlborough Mall in Calgary, Alta., on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.

A police officer is wheeled on a stretcher out of the Sears in Marlborough Mall in Calgary, Alta., on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.

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CANADIAN Prime Minister condemns the savage beheading of a Canadian hostage in the Philippines by terrorists, but refuses to call them “Islamic” terrorists

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today denounced the execution of a Canadian hostage, John Ridsdel, by Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants in the Philippines, calling it “an act of cold-blooded murder” yet doesn’t mention the fact that the execution was committed by “Muslims.”

Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, Canadian tourists taken hostage

Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, Canadian tourists taken hostage

Reuters  John Ridsdel, 68, a former mining executive, was captured by Islamic militants along with three other people in September 2015 while on vacation on a Philippine island.

The Philippine army said a severed head was found on a remote island on Monday, five hours after the expiry of a ransom deadline set by militants who had threatened to execute one of four captives.

“Canada condemns without reservation the brutality of the hostage-takers and this unnecessary death. This was an act of cold-blooded murder and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group who took him hostage,” Trudeau told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting.

“The government of Canada is committed to working with the government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for this heinous act.”

John Ridsdel, kidnapped from a tourist resort along with three others by the Abu Sayyaf group in September of last year, pleads for their lives.

CALLING ALL BIKER PATRIOTS: On May 15th, join ‘American Bikers United Against Jihad’ at Islamberg, NY, home to one of 35 Islamic jihad training camps in America

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DEMAND THAT THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT DESIGNATE JAMMAT AL-FUQRA AN INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST ORGANIZATION!
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Between 22 and 35 jihadist training compounds have been identified in the U.S. Islamberg, its headquarters, is in Hancock, New York. Known as The Muslims of the Americas (MOA) or Soldiers of Allah, an American offshoot of the terrorist group Jamaat ul-Fuqra  in Pakistan, they are run by its founder, the Pakistani Cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani Hashemi.

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In the 1999 “Patterns of Global Terrorism Report,” the U.S. State Department listed Jammeat al-Fuqura as a terrorist group, but it has since been removed by the Clinton State Department under President Obama. Heavily armed, trained, and ready for violent jihad against innocent Americans, they prey on our prison populations and vulnerable youth to recruit, but the FBI’s hands are tied.

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JOIN US IN A RIDE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY TO LET THE FBI DO ITS JOB! Our children are counting on us.

Serious participants only should send a message to our private inbox or can email us at ABUAJ_ride@yahoo.com

FOR RESPECT, NO M.C. COLORS. Ride as individual American Bikers. Jeeps and pickups are welcome.

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JOIN US THIS SPRING IN A RIDE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY ON SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2016 . . .

FOR SERIOUS RIDERS AND INQUIRIES ONLY, CONTACT US AT:

EMAIL: ABUAJ_ride@yahoo.com
FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/814566501999381/

VOLUNTEER VIDEOGRAPHERS ALSO NEEDED

ISLAMBERG: Under the general anaesthesia of political correctness, radical Muslim groups are allowed to set up training camps in rural areas around America to prepare them for jihad against America. The Government knows about them but won’t do anything to shut them down until they commit an act of terror.

Clarion Project National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro talks to Bill O’Reilly about five Islamic radical groups in America: Muslims of the Americas; Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center; the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA); Masjid at-Taqwa led by Siraj Wahhaj and CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations)

The Christian Action Network(CAN) has produced an important new film about the 35 para-military training camps in 22 states in  the U.S. and Canada. These camps are sponsored by the terrorist group Jamaat ul-Fuqra (JF) or “community of the impoverished” and its notorious Pakistani founder, Sheik Mubarak  Ali Gilani. 

The film is entitled: “Homegrown Jihad: Terrorist Camps Around the  U.S.” This is an important documentary about  Jamaat ul-Fuqra: The best positioned group to help al-Qaeda launch an attack in the US.

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The group here in the US has committed attacks and robberies, acquired contraband arms, engaging in counterfeiting activities, and proselytized effectively among Afro-American prison inmates.  JF members participated in the 1993 terror bombing of the World Trade Center. JF seeks to “purify Islam” through violence.

What is of great concern is that federal and state law enforcement authorities have investigated and monitored JF and its front group Muslims of the Americas (MoA) and delisted the group as a terrorist organization. Nor has the IRS taken away MoA’s charitable tax exempt status.

HOMEGROWN JIHAD: Full Documentary on the 35 Muslim terrorist training camps located in 22 states around the United States:

Click screen below twice to watch on Youtube.

 

CANADA’s stealth Muslim Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, will end all military action against ISIS and use Canadian military bases to house as many as 50,000 Muslim invaders every year

Justin-Trudeau-is-the-PM-Useful-Idiot-620x271It’s shocking that Canadian Armed Forces personnel will be ordered to abandon the coalition battle against ISIS and return to Canada to become waiters, chauffeurs and social workers for ungrateful Muslim migrants. Taxpayer-funded Canadian Forces Bases will be turned into welfare camps for Muslims who will turn them into squalid, garbage-ridden dumping grounds as they have all over Europe.

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The Rebel  (h/t Jo P) It’s a disgrace that Canadian military personnel have been sent eviction notices to make way for foreign migrants. But for the DND’s budget to be diverted away from military purposes and towards buying Korans and building mosques for foreign migrants, is especially outrageous.

Included in the Department of National Defence budgets are hundreds of thousands of dollars set aside for “religious support,” including the purchase of Muslim qurans, prayer mats and foot-washing facilities. The plans also call for the construction of mosques or “worship centres,” using taxpayers dollars.

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The planning documents, in English and French, were released in response to a Rebel “Access to Information” request about religious expenditures by the Department of National Defence.

But the detailed Quebec budget plans also shed light on the sheer scale of the Trudeau government’s plans to set up refugee camp-style accommodations on seven Canadian Forces Bases across Quebec and Ontario.

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The budget for Quebec alone totals more than $46 million for the first six months. For a typical migrant family, that’s a $200,000/year subsidy — not including medicare or welfare.

To fight back against Justin Trudeau’s dangerous plan to rush tens of thousands of unvetted Muslim migrants to Canada, visit RefugeePause.ca and sign the petition!

CANADA: Imam compares Justin Trudeau to Islamic hero for honoring Muslims and removing suspicion that terrorism has anything to do with Islam

He also compared Trudeau to Turkish President Recep Erdogan who is turning Turkey into an Islamic fundamentalist state.

h/t Vlad Tepesblog

Lot of photos of Trudeau praying at mosques and kissing up to Muslims. Makes one wonder if he hasn’t already secretly converted to Islam.

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In Justin Trudeau’s ‘Canadastan,’ you get arrested for speaking out against Muslim terrorist attacks in Paris

TORONTO: Free speech activist Eric Brazau was arrested for publicly expressing his outrage at the bloodbath in Paris by Muslim terrorists. Looks like the newly-elected government of Justin Trudeau wasted no time in accommodating the powerful Muslim lobby that helped him come to power.

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Blogwrath  The events shown in the video took place on November 13, 2015. After hearing about the Muslim terrorist attacks in Paris, the free speech activist Eric Brazau decided to express his frustration by speaking with people on the street. However, any criticism of Islam is taboo among the Muslims and leftists who dominate downtown Toronto. Though he didn’t say anything hateful, Brazau was physically assaulted and verbally attacked. In the end his attackers called the police and he was taken away in handcuffs.

Eric Brazau, no stranger to controversy, is a Canadian political prisoner who spent nearly two years in jail for ridiculing and criticizing Islam in flyers and street shows (he is a licensed street art performer).

Just like in Germany, a crackdown on those who dare criticize Islam is underway. On the day of the Paris attacks Trudeau’s government threw out the appeal against allowing Muslim supremacists to mock the citizenship ceremony by appearing in face-covering headbags.

By BareNakedIslam 

[12] [ The Islamic exodus to Europe]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“ISIL”, “ISIS”, “Daesh”, “Daish” and “Islamic State group” redirect here. For other uses, see ISIL (disambiguation), ISIS (disambiguation), Daish (disambiguation), and Islamic state (disambiguation).
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام
ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī ‘l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām

Participant in the Syrian Civil War, Iraq War (2003–2011), Iraqi insurgency,Iraq War (2014–present), Second Libyan Civil War, Boko Haram insurgency, War in North-West Pakistan, War in Afghanistan, Yemeni Civil War, and other conflicts


Primary target of Operation Inherent Resolve and of the military intervention against ISIL: in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria.

AQMI Flag.svg

Active 1999–Present

  • Joined al-Qaeda: October 2004
  • Declaration of an Islamic state in Iraq: 13 October 2006
  • Claim of territory in the Levant: 8 April 2013
  • Separated from al-Qaeda:[1][2] 3 February 2014,[3]
  • Declaration of caliphate: 29 June 2014
  • Claim of territory in: Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen: 13 November 2014
    • Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India: 29 January 2015[4]
    • Nigeria: 12 March 2015[5][6]
    • North Caucasus: 23 June 2015[7]
Ideology

Rebel group controlling territory
Current control in
 Syria[14]
 Iraq[14]
 Libya[15]
 Nigeria[16]
 Yemen[17][18]

Leaders
Headquarters Ar-Raqqah, Syria
(de facto capital)
Area of operations Syrian, Iraqi, and Lebanese insurgencies.png
Military situation as of 14 August 2015, in the Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese conflicts.

  Controlled by Iraqi government forces
  Controlled by Syrian government forces
  Controlled by the Lebanese government
  Controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
  Controlled by Iraqi Kurdistan forces
  Controlled by Syrian Kurdistan forces
  Controlled by Syrian opposition forces
  Controlled by al-Nusra Front
  Controlled by Hezbollah

Note: Iraq and Syria contain large desert areas with limited populations. These areas are mapped as under the control of forces holding roads and towns within them.

Detailed map of Syrian Civil War
Detailed map of Iraqi insurgency
Detailed map of Lebanese insurgency
Detailed map of Libyan Civil War
Detailed map of Nigerian insurgency
Detailed map of Yemeni Civil War

Strength Inside Syria and Iraq
200,000[30] (Kurdish claim)
100,000[31] (Jihadist claim)
20,000–31,000[32] (CIA estimate)
Outside Syria and Iraq
32,600–57,900 (See Military of ISIL for more detailed estimates.)
Estimated total
52,600–257,900
Originated as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād (1999)[33]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL; Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام‎), also known as theIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, /ˈsɨs/) or the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham,[34]Daesh (داعش,Arabic pronunciation: [ˈdaːʕiʃ]), or Islamic State (IS),[35] is a Salafi jihadistextremist militant group and self-proclaimed Islamic state and caliphate, which is led by and mainly composed of Sunni Arabs from Iraq andSyria.[36] As of March 2015, it has control over territory occupied by ten million people[37] in Iraq and Syria, as well as nominal control over small areas of Libya and Nigeria. The group also operates or has affiliates in other parts of the world, including South Asia.[38][39]

The group is known in Arabic as ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī ‘l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām, leading to the acronym Da’ishor Daesh, the Arabic equivalent of “ISIL”.[34] On 29 June 2014, the group proclaimed itself to be a worldwide caliphate, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being named its caliph,[40] and renamed itself ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah (الدولة الإسلامية, “Islamic State” (IS)). As a caliphate, it claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide, and that “the legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organisations, becomes null by the expansion of the khilāfah’s [caliphate’s] authority and arrival of its troops to their areas”.[41][42]

The United Nations has held ISIL responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes, and Amnesty International has reported ethnic cleansing by the group on a “historic scale”. The group has been designatedas a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other governments. Over 60 countries are directly or indirectly waging war against ISIL.

The group originated as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004. The group participated in the Iraqi insurgency, which had followed the March 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces. In January 2006, it joined other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council, which proclaimed the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in October 2006. After the Syrian Civil War began in March 2011, the ISI, under the leadership of al-Baghdadi, sent delegates into Syria in August 2011. These fighters named themselves Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahli ash-Shāmal-Nusra Front—and established a large presence in Sunni-majority areas of Syria, within the governorates of Ar-Raqqah, Idlib,Deir ez-Zor, and Aleppo.[43] In April 2013, al-Baghdadi announced the merger of the ISI with al-Nusra Front and that the name of the reunited group was now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). However,Abu Mohammad al-Julani and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leaders of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda respectively, rejected the merger. After an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with ISIL on 3 February 2014, citing its failure to consult and “notorious intransigence”.[3][44] In Syria, the group has conducted ground attacks on both government forces and rebel factions in the Syrian Civil War. The group gained prominence after it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in western Iraq in an offensive initiated in early 2014. Iraq’s territorial loss almost caused a collapse of the Iraqi government and prompted a renewal of US military action in Iraq.[45]

ISIL is adept at social media, posting Internet videos of beheadings of soldiers, civilians, journalists and aid workers, and is known for its destruction of cultural heritage sites.[46]Muslim leaders around the world have condemned ISIL’s ideology and actions, arguing that the group has strayed from the path of true Islam and that its actions do not reflect the religion’s true teachings or virtues.[47] The group’s adoption of the name “Islamic State” and idea of a caliphate have been widely criticised, with the United Nations, NATO, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups rejecting both.

Name[edit]

The group has had various names since it began.[48]

  1. The group was founded in 1999 by Jordanian radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād, “The Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad” (JTJ).[33]
  2. In October 2004, al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden and changed the group’s name to Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn, “The Organisation of Jihad’s Base in Mesopotamia“, commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).[48][49] Although the group has never called itself al-Qaeda in Iraq, this has been its informal name over the years.[50]
  3. In January 2006, AQI merged with several other Iraqi insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council.[51] Al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006.
  4. On 12 October 2006, the Mujahideen Shura Council merged with several more insurgent factions, and on 13 October the establishment of the ad-Dawlah al-ʻIraq al-Islāmiyah, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), was announced.[52] The leaders of this group were Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri.[53] After they were killed in a US–Iraqi operation in April 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the new leader of the group.
  5. On 8 April 2013, having expanded into Syria, the group adopted the name Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, which more fully translates as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[citation needed] or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.[54][55][56] These names are translations of the Arabic name ad-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fī-l-ʻIrāq wa-sh-Shām,[57][58]al-Shām being a description of the Levant or Greater Syria.[34] The translated names are commonly abbreviated as ISIL or ISIS, with a debate over which of these acronyms should be used.[34][58]The Washington Post concluded that the distinction between the two “is not so great”.[34]
  6. The name Daʿish is often used by ISIL’s Arabic-speaking detractors. It is based on the Arabic letters Dāl, alif, ʻayn, and shīn, which form the acronym (داعش) of ISIL’s Arabic name al-Dawlah al-Islamīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām.[59][60] There are many spellings of this acronym, with Daesh gaining acceptance. ISIL considers the name Da’ish derogatory, because it sounds similar to the Arabic words Daes, “one who crushes something underfoot”, and Dahes, “one who sows discord”.[61][62] ISIL also reportedly uses flogging as a punishment for those who use the name in ISIL-controlled areas.[63][64] In 2015, over 120 British parliamentarians asked the BBC to use Daesh, following the example of John Kerry and Laurent Fabius.[61][65]
  7. On 14 May 2014, the United States Department of State announced its decision to use “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) as the group’s primary name.[59]However, in late 2014, top US officials shifted toward Daesh, since it was the preferred term used by their Arab allies.[61]
  8. On 29 June 2014, the group renamed itself ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah (الدولة الإسلامية, “Islamic State” (IS)) and declared it a worldwide caliphate.[40][66][67] Accordingly, the “Iraq and Shām” was removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name became the Islamic State from the date of the declaration. The name “Islamic State” and the claim of a caliphate have been widely criticised, with the UN, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups refusing to use it.[65][68][69][70][71][72][73][74]

History[edit]

Foundation, 1999–2006[edit]

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Jordanian Salafi jihadistAbu Musab al-Zarqawi and his militant group Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, founded in 1999, achieved notoriety in the early stages of the Iraqi insurgency for the suicide attacks on Shia Islamicmosques, civilians, Iraqi government institutions and Italian soldiers partaking in the US-led ‘Multi-National Force‘. Al-Zarqawi’s group officially pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden‘s al-Qaeda network in October 2004, changing its name to Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (تنظيم قاعدة الجهاد في بلاد الرافدين, “Organisation of Jihad’s Base in Mesopotamia“), also known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).[1][75][76] Attacks by the group on civilians, Iraqi government and security forces, foreign diplomats and soldiers, and American convoys continued with roughly the same intensity. In a letter to al-Zarqawi in July 2005, al-Qaeda’s then deputy leaderAyman al-Zawahiri outlined a four-stage plan to expand the Iraq War. The plan included expelling US forces from Iraq, establishing an Islamic authority as a caliphate, spreading the conflict to Iraq’s secular neighbours, and clashing with Israel, which the letter says “was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity”.[77]

Iraqi insurgents in 2006

In January 2006, AQI joined with several smaller Iraqi insurgent groups under an umbrella organisation called the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC). According to Brian Fishman, this was little more than a media exercise and an attempt to give the group a more Iraqi flavour, and perhaps to distance al-Qaeda from some of al-Zarqawi’s tactical errors, more notably the 2005 bombings by AQI of three hotels in Amman.[78] On 7 June 2006, a US airstrike killed al-Zarqawi, who was succeeded as leader of the group by the Egyptian militant Abu Ayyub al-Masri.[79][80]

On 12 October 2006, the MSC united with three smaller groups and six Sunni Islamic tribes to form the “Mutayibeen Coalition”. It swore by Allah “to rid Sunnis from the oppression of the rejectionists (Shi’ite Muslims) and the crusader occupiers … to restore rights even at the price of our own lives … to make Allah’s word supreme in the world, and to restore the glory of Islam”.[81][82] A day later, the MSC declared the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), comprising Iraq’s six mostly Sunni Arab governorates.[83]Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was announced as its emir,[52][84] and al-Masri was given the title of Minister of War within the ISI’s ten-member cabinet.[85]

A joint US–Iraqi Army training exercise near Ramadi in November 2009. The Islamic State of Iraq had declared the city to be its capital.

As Islamic State of Iraq, 2006–13[edit]

Main article: Islamic State of Iraq

According to a study compiled by United States intelligence agencies in early 2007, the ISI—also known as AQI—planned to seize power in the central and western areas of Iraq and turn it into a Sunni caliphate.[86] The group built in strength and at its height enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar, Diyala and Baghdad, claiming Baqubah as a capital city.[87][88][89][90]

The Iraq War troop surge of 2007 supplied the United States military with more manpower for operations targeting the group, resulting in dozens of high-level AQI members being captured or killed.[91]

Between July and October 2007, al-Qaeda in Iraq was reported to have lost its secure military bases in Al Anbar province and theBaghdad area.[92] During 2008, a series of US and Iraqi offensives managed to drive out AQI-aligned insurgents from their former safe havens, such as the Diyala and Al Anbar governorates, to the area of the northern city of Mosul.[93]

By 2008, the ISI was describing itself as being in a state of “extraordinary crisis”.[94] Its violent attempts to govern its territory led to a backlash from Sunni Arab Iraqis and other insurgent groups and a temporary decline in the group, which was attributable to a number of factors,[95] notably the Anbar Awakening.

In late 2009, the commander of US forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, stated that the ISI “has transformed significantly in the last two years. What once was dominated by foreign individuals has now become more and more dominated by Iraqi citizens”.[96] On 18 April 2010, the ISI’s two top leaders, Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, were killed in a joint US-Iraqi raid near Tikrit.[97] In a press conference in June 2010, General Odierno reported that 80% of the ISI’s top 42 leaders, including recruiters and financiers, had been killed or captured, with only eight remaining at large. He said that they had been cut off from al-Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan.[98][99][100]

On 16 May 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was appointed the new leader of the Islamic State of Iraq.[101][102] Al-Baghdadi replenished the group’s leadership, many of whom had been killed or captured, by appointing former Ba’athist military and intelligence officers who had served during Saddam Hussein‘s rule.[103] These men, nearly all of whom had spent time imprisoned by the US military, came to make up about one third of Baghdadi’s top 25 commanders. One of them was a former colonel, Samir al-Khlifawi, also known as Haji Bakr, who became the overall military commander in charge of overseeing the group’s operations.[104][105] Al-Khlifawi was instrumental in doing the ground work that led to the growth of ISIL.[106]

Former Ba’athists in ISI are “true believers” in the religious ideology they espoused and not secularists using ISI as a front for their cause.[107] Islamification policies started by Saddam after 1989 resulted in the spread of a hybrid ”Ba’athist-Salafism”.[108]

In July 2012, al-Baghdadi released an audio statement online announcing that the group was returning to former strongholds from which US troops and the Sons of Iraq had driven them in 2007 and 2008.[109] He also declared the start of a new offensive in Iraq called Breaking the Walls, aimed at freeing members of the group held in Iraqi prisons.[109]Violence in Iraq had begun to escalate in June 2012, primarily with AQI’s car bomb attacks, and by July 2013, monthly fatalities exceeded 1,000 for the first time since April 2008.[110]

Syrian Civil War[edit]

In March 2011, protests began in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad. In the following months, violence between demonstrators and security forces led to a gradual militarisation of the conflict.[111] In August, al-Baghdadi began sending Syrian and Iraqi ISI members experienced in guerilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organisation there. Led by a Syrian known as Abu Muhammad al-Julani, this group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country.[112][113] In January 2012, the group announced its formation as Jabhat al-Nusra li Ahl as-ShamJabhat al-Nusra—more commonly known as al-Nusra Front. Al-Nusra grew rapidly into a capable fighting force, with popular support among Syrians opposed to the Assad government.[112]

As Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, 2013–14[edit]

On 8 April 2013, al-Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced that al-Nusra Front had been established, financed, and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq,[114] and that the two groups were merging under the name “Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham”.[54] Al-Julani issued a statement denying the merger, and complaining that neither he nor anyone else in al-Nusra’s leadership had been consulted about it.[115] In June 2013, Al Jazeera reported that it had obtained a letter written by al-Qaeda’s leaderAyman al-Zawahiri, addressed to both leaders, in which he ruled against the merger, and appointed an emissary to oversee relations between them to put an end to tensions.[116]The same month, al-Baghdadi released an audio message rejecting al-Zawahiri’s ruling and declaring that the merger was going ahead.[117] The ISIL campaign to free imprisoned ISIL members culminated in July 2013, with the group carrying out simultaneous raids on Taji and Abu Ghraib prisons, freeing more than 500 prisoners, many of them veterans of the Iraqi insurgency.[110][118] In October 2013, al-Zawahiri ordered the disbanding of ISIL, putting al-Nusra Front in charge of jihadist efforts in Syria,[119] but al-Baghdadi contested al-Zawahiri’s ruling on the basis of Islamic jurisprudence,[117] and his group continued to operate in Syria. In February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda disavowed any relations with ISIL.[44]

According to journalist Sarah Birke, there are “significant differences” between al-Nusra Front and ISIL. While al-Nusra actively calls for the overthrow of the Assad government, ISIL “tends to be more focused on establishing its own rule on conquered territory”. ISIL is “far more ruthless” in building an Islamic state, “carrying out sectarian attacks and imposing sharia law immediately”. While al-Nusra has a “large contingent of foreign fighters”, it is seen as a home-grown group by many Syrians; by contrast, ISIL fighters have been described as “foreign ‘occupiers'” by many Syrian refugees.[120] It has a strong presence in central and northern Syria, where it has instituted sharia in a number of towns.[120] The group reportedly controlled the four border towns of Atmeh, al-Bab, Azaz and Jarablus, allowing it to control the entrance and exit from Syria into Turkey.[120]Foreign fighters in Syria include Russian-speaking jihadists who were part of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA).[121] In November 2013, the JMA’s Chechen leader Abu Omar al-Shishani swore an oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi;[122] the group then split between those who followed al-Shishani in joining ISIL and those who continued to operate independently in the JMA under new leadership.[123]

In January 2014, rebels affiliated with the Islamic Front and the US-trained Free Syrian Army[124] launched an offensive against ISIL militants in and around the city ofAleppo.[125][126] In May 2014, Ayman al-Zawahiri ordered the al-Nusra Front to stop its attacks on its rival, ISIL.[127][not in citation given] In June 2014, after continued fighting between the two groups, al-Nusra’s branch in the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal pledged allegiance to ISIL.[128][129] In mid-June 2014, ISIL captured the Trabil crossing on the Jordan–Iraq border,[130] the only border crossing between the two countries.[131] ISIL has received some public support in Jordan, albeit limited, partly owing to state repression there.[132] ISIL has undertaken a recruitment drive in Saudi Arabia,[133] where tribes in the north are linked to those in western Iraq and eastern Syria.[134]

As Islamic State, 2014–present[edit]

On 29 June 2014, the organisation proclaimed itself to be a worldwide caliphate.[135] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—known by his supporters as Amir al-Mu’minin, Caliph Ibrahim—was named its caliph, and the group renamed itself ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah (الدولة الإسلامية, “Islamic State” (IS)).[40] As a “Caliphate”, it claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.[42][136] The concept of it being a caliphate and the name “Islamic State” have been rejected by governments and Muslim leaders worldwide.[68][69][70][71][72][73][74]

In June and July 2014, Jordan and Saudi Arabia moved troops to their borders with Iraq, after Iraq lost control of, or withdrew from, strategic crossing points that then came under the control of ISIL, or tribes that supported ISIL.[131][137] There was speculation that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had ordered a withdrawal of troops from the Iraq–Saudi crossings in order “to increase pressure on Saudi Arabia and bring the threat of ISIS over-running its borders as well”.[134]

In July 2014, ISIL recruited more than 6,300 fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, some of whom were thought to have previously fought for the Free Syrian Army.[138] On 23 July 2014, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Totoni Hapilon and some masked men swore loyalty to al-Baghdadi in a video, giving ISIL a presence in the Philippines.[39][139] In September 2014, the group began kidnapping people for ransoming, in the name of ISIL.[140]

Yazidi refugees and American aid workers on Mount Sinjar in August 2014

On 3 August 2014, ISIL captured the cities of Zumar, Sinjar, and Wana in northern Iraq.[141] The need for food and water for thousands ofYazidis, who fled up a mountain out of fear of approaching hostile ISIL militants, and the threat of genocide to Yazidis and others as announced by ISIL, in addition to protecting Americans in Iraq and supporting Iraq in its fight against the group, were reasons for the 2014 American intervention in Iraq on 7 August, to aid the Yazidis stranded on Mount Sinjar[142] and to start an aerial bombing campaign in Iraq on 8 August.

On 11 October 2014, it was reported that ISIL had dispatched 10,000 militants from Syria and Mosul to capture the Iraqi capital city ofBaghdad,[143] and Iraqi Army forces and Anbar tribesmen threatened to abandon their weapons if the US did not send in ground troops to halt ISIL’s advance.[144] On 13 October, ISIL fighters advanced to within 25 kilometres (16 mi) of Baghdad Airport.[145]

At the end of October 2014, 800 radical militants gained partial control of the Libyan city of Derna and pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, thus making Derna the first city outside Syria and Iraq to be a part of the “Islamic State Caliphate”.[146] On 2 November 2014, according to the Associated Press, in response to the coalition airstrikes, representatives from Ahrar ash-Sham attended a meeting withal-Nusra Front, the Khorasan Group, ISIL, and Jund al-Aqsa, which sought to unite these hard-line groups against the US-led coalition and moderate Syrian rebel groups.[147]However, by 14 November 2014, it was revealed that the negotiations had failed.[148] On 10 November 2014, a major faction of the Egyptian militant group Ansar Bait al-Maqdisalso pledged its allegiance to ISIL.[149]

Coalition airstrike on ISIL position, October 2014

ISIL has often used water as a weapon of war. The closing of the gates of the smaller Nuaimiyah dam in Fallujah in April 2014, resulted in the flooding of surrounding regions, while water supply was cut to the Shia-dominated south. Around 12,000 families lost their homes and 200 km² of villages and fields were either flooded or dried up. The economy of the region also suffered with destruction of cropland and electricity shortages.[150]

In mid-January 2015, a Yemeni official said that ISIL had “dozens” of members in Yemen, and that they were coming into direct competition with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with their recruitment drive.[151]

In January 2015, Afghan officials confirmed that ISIL had a military presence in Afghanistan,[152] recruiting over 135 militants by late January. However, by the end of January 2015, 65 of the militants were either captured or killed by the Taliban, and ISIL’s top Afghan recruiter, Mullah Abdul Rauf, was killed in a US drone strike in February 2015.[153][154][155]

In late January 2015, it was reported that ISIL members had infiltrated the European Union and disguised themselves as civilian refugees who were emigrating from the war zones of Iraq and the Levant.[156] An ISIL representative claimed that ISIL had successfully smuggled 4,000 fighters, and that the smuggled fighters were planning attacks in Europe in retaliation for the airstrikes carried out against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria. However, experts believe that this claim was exaggerated to boost their stature and spread fear, although they acknowledged that some Western countries were aware of the smuggling.[157]

In early February 2015, ISIL militants in Libya managed to capture part of the countryside to the west of Sabha, and later, an area encompassing the cities of Sirte, Nofolia, and a military base to the south of both cities.

In February 2015, it was reported that some Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen members had broken from al-Qaeda and pledged allegiance to ISIL.[158]

On 16 February 2015, Egypt conducted airstrikes in Libya, in retaliation against ISIL’s beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians. By the end of that day, 64 ISIL militants in Libya had been killed by the airstrikes, including 50 militants in Derna.[159] However, by early March, ISIL had captured additional Libyan territory, including a city to the west of Derna, additional areas near Sirte, a stretch of land in southern Libya, some areas around Benghazi, and an area to the east of Tripoli.

On 7 March 2015, Boko Haram swore formal allegiance to ISIL, giving ISIL an official presence in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.[16][6][160] On 13 March 2015, a group of militants from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan swore allegiance to ISIL;[161] the group released another video on 31 July 2015 containing its spiritual leader also pledging allegiance.[162] On 30 March 2015, the senior sharia official of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, Abdullah Al-Libi, defected to ISIL.[163]

From March through mid-April 2015, advances by Iraqi forces into ISIL-controlled territory were focused on Tikrit and the Saladin Governorate.[164]

In June 2015, the US Deputy Secretary of State announced that ISIL had lost more than 10,000 members in airstrikes over the preceding nine months.[165]

In the same month, three simultaneous attacks occurred: two hotels were attacked by gunmen in Tunisia, a man was decapitated in France, and a bomb was detonated at a Shia mosque in Kuwait. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attacks in Kuwait and Tunisia. ISIL flags were present at the crime scene in France, but ISIL has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

Worldwide caliphate aims[edit]

Goals[edit]

Since at least 2004, a significant goal of the group has been the foundation of a SunniIslamic state.[166][167] Specifically, ISIL has sought to establish itself as a caliphate, an Islamic state led by a group of religious authorities under a supreme leader—the caliph—who is believed to be the successor to Muhammad.[168] In June 2014, ISIL published a document in which it claimed to have traced the lineage of its leader al-Baghdadi back to Muhammad,[168] and upon proclaiming a new caliphate on 29 June, the group appointed al-Baghdadi as its caliph. As caliph, he demands the allegiance of all devout Muslims worldwide, according to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh).[169]

When the caliphate was proclaimed, ISIL stated: “The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organisations becomes null by the expansion of the khilafah’s [caliphate’s] authority and arrival of its troops to their areas.”[168] This was a rejection of the political divisions in the Middle East that were established by Western powers during World War I in the Sykes–Picot Agreement.[170][171][172]

Ideology and beliefs[edit]

ISIL is a Salafi group.[173][174] It follows an extremist interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence, and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels orapostates.[8] According to Hayder al Khoei, ISIL’s philosophy is represented by the symbolism in the Black Standard variant of the legendary battle flag of Muhammad that it has adopted: the flag shows the Seal of Muhammad within a white circle, with the phrase above it, “There is no God but Allah“.[175] Such symbolism has been said to point to ISIL’s belief that it represents the restoration of the caliphate of early Islam, with all the political, religious and eschatological ramifications that this would imply.[176]

According to some observers, ISIL emerged from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the first post-Ottoman Islamist group dating back to the late 1920s in Egypt.[177] It adheres to global jihadist principles and follows the hard-line ideology of al-Qaeda and many other modern-day jihadist groups.[8][3] However, other sources trace the group’s roots to Wahhabism. The New York Times wrote:

For their guiding principles, the leaders of the Islamic State … are open and clear about their almost exclusive commitment to the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group’s territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.[178]

According to The Economist, dissidents in the ISIL capital of Ar-Raqqah report that “all 12 of the judges who now run its court system … are Saudis”. Saudi Wahhabi practices also followed by the group include the establishment of religious police to root out “vice” and enforce attendance at salat prayers, the widespread use of capital punishment, and the destruction or re-purposing of any non-Sunni religious buildings.[179]Bernard Haykel has described al-Baghdadi’s creed as “a kind of untamed Wahhabism”.[178]

ISIL aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting all innovations in the religion, which it believes corrupts its original spirit. It condemns later caliphates and the Ottoman Empire for deviating from what it calls pure Islam,[180] and seeks to revive the original Wahhabi project of the restoration of the caliphate governed by strict Salafist doctrine. Following Salafi-Wahhabi tradition, ISIL condemns the followers of secular law as disbelievers, putting the current Saudi government in that category.[181]

Salafists such as ISIL believe that only a legitimate authority can undertake the leadership of jihad, and that the first priority over other areas of combat, such as fighting non-Muslim countries, is the purification of Islamic society. For example, ISIL regards the Palestinian Sunni group Hamas as apostates who have no legitimate authority to lead jihad and fighting Hamas as the first step toward confrontation with Israel.[178][182]

Eschatology[edit]

One difference between ISIL and other Islamist and jihadist movements is its emphasis on eschatology and apocalypticism, and its belief that the arrival of the Mahdi is near. ISIL believes that it will defeat the army of “Rome” at the town of Dabiq, in fulfilment of prophecy.[183] Following its interpretation of the Hadith of the Twelve Successors, it also believes there will be only four more legitimate caliphs after al-Baghdadi.[183]

Territorial claims and international presence[edit]

     Areas controlled (as of 4 May 2015)     Remaining territory in countries with ISIL presence

In Iraq and Syria, ISIL uses many of those countries’ existing Governorate boundaries to subdivide its claimed territory; it calls these divisions wilayah or provinces.[184] As of June 2015, it had established official branches in Libya, Egypt (Sinai Peninsula), Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and the North Caucasus.[185] Outside Iraq and Syria, it controls territory in only Sinai, Afghanistan, and Libya.[186] ISIL also has members in Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and Palestine, but does not have official branches in those areas.[187]

Libyan Provinces[edit]

Current military situation in Libya:

  Under the control of ISIL and Ansar al-Sharia

ISIL divides Libya into three historical provinces, claiming authority over Cyrenaica in the east, Fezzan in the desert south, and Tripolitaniain the west, around its capital Tripoli.[188]

On 5 October 2014, the Shura Council of Islamic Youth and other militants in Libya were absorbed and designated the Cyrenaica Province of ISIL.[189][190] The Libyan branch of ISIL has been the most active and successful of all ISIL branches outside Iraq and Syria. It has been active mainly around Derna and Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte.[191][192]

On 4 January 2015, ISIL forces in Libya seized control of the eastern countryside of Sabha, executing 14 Libyan soldiers in the process.[193][194] They temporarily controlled part of Derna before being driven out in Mid 2015.[195] Reports from Sirte suggest ISIL militants based there are a mixture of foreign fighters and ex-Gaddafi loyalists.[196] An initiative between pro-Dawn forces associated with Misrata and Operation Dawn clashed with these IS militants in Sirte.[197][198][199] Fighting between Libya Dawn forces and ISIL militants was also reported in the Daheera area west of the city of Sirte, and at the Harawa vicinity east of Sirte.[200]

ISIL uses its bases in Libya to smuggle its fighters into the European Union posing as refugees.[201][202]

Sinai Province[edit]

On 10 November 2014, many members of the group Ansar Bait al-Maqdis took an oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi.[149] Following this, the group assumed the designation Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province).[189][203][204][205] They are estimated to have 1,000–2,000 fighters.[39][206]A faction of the Sinai group also operates in the Gaza Strip, calling itself the Islamic State in Gaza.[207] On 19 August 2015, members of the group bombed an Egyptian security headquarters building in northern Cairo, injuring 30 people.[208]

Algerian Province[edit]

Members of Jund al-Khilafah swore allegiance to ISIL in September 2014.[209] ISIL in Algeria gained notoriety when it beheaded French tourist Herve Gourdel in September 2014. Since then, the group has largely been silent, with reports that its leader Khalid Abu-Sulayman was killed by Algerian forces in December 2014.[185]

Khorasan Province[edit]

On 26 January 2015, a new Wilayat (Province) was announced, with Hafiz Saeed Khan named as Wāli (Governor) and Abdul Rauf as his deputy after both swore an oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi. The province includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, and “other nearby lands”.[4][210][211][212]

On 9 February 2015, Mullah Abdul Rauf was killed by a NATO airstrike.[213] On 18 March 2015, Hafiz Wahidi, ISIL’s replacement deputy Emir in Afghanistan, was killed by the Afghan Armed Forces, along with nine other ISIL militants who were accompanying him.[214] In June, Reuters received reports that villages in several districts of Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province had been captured from the Taliban by ISIL sympathisers.[215] On 10 July 2015, Hafiz Saeed Khan, the Emir of ISIL’s Khorasan Province, was reportedly killed in U.S. drone strike in eastern Afghanistan.[216] However Khorasan Province released an audio tape claimed to be of Hafiz Saeed Khan on 13 July 2015.[217]

Yemen[edit]

Current military situation in Yemen:

  Controlled by the Revolutionary Committee
  Controlled by the Hadi-led government and the Southern Movement
  Controlled by Ansar al-Sharia/AQAP forces

On 13 November 2014, unidentified militants in Yemen pledged allegiance to ISIL.[209] By December of that year, ISIL had built an active presence inside Yemen, with its recruitment drive bringing it into direct competition with al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[151][218] In February 2015, it was reported that some members of Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen had split from AQAP and pledged allegiance to ISIL[219] As the Yemeni Civil War escalated in March 2015, at least seven ISIL Wilayat, named after existing provincial boundaries in Yemen, claimed responsibility for attacks against the Houthis, including the Hadhramaut Province, the ShabwahProvince, and the Sana’a Province.[220][221]

Shi’aHouthis (Revolutionary Committee) are principal enemies of Yemen’s ISIL branch.[222][223] U.S. supports the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen against the Houthis,[224] but many in U.S. SOCOM reportedly favor Houthis, as they have been an effective force in rolling back al-Qaeda and recently ISIL in Yemen, “something that hundreds of U.S. drone strikes and large numbers of advisers to Yemen’s military had failed to accomplish”.[225]The Guardian reported: “As another 50 civilians die in the forgotten war, only Isis and al-Qaida are gaining from a conflict tearing Yemen apart and leaving 20 million people in need of aid.”[226]

West African Province[edit]

Main article: Boko Haram

On 7 March 2015, Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant via an audio message posted on the organisation’s Twitter account.[227][228] On 12 March 2015, ISIL’s spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani released an audio tape in which he welcomed the pledge of allegiance, and described it as an expansion of the group’s caliphate into West Africa.[5] ISIL publications from late March 2015 began referring to members of Boko Haram as part of Wilayat Gharb Afriqiya (West Africa Province).[221]

North Caucasus Province[edit]

Some commanders of the Caucasus Emirate in Chechnya and Dagestan switched their allegiance to ISIL in late 2014 and early 2015.[229] On 23 June 2015, ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani accepted the pledges of allegiance and announced a new Wilayat Qawqaz (North Caucasus Province) under the leadership of Rustam Asildarov.[7][185]

Other areas of operation[edit]

  • Unidentified militants in Saudi Arabia pledged allegiance to ISIL – designated as a province of ISIL.[209]
  • The Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade (Lebanon) pledged allegiance to ISIL.[39]
  • Sons of the Call for Tawhid and Jihad (Jordan) pledged allegiance to ISIL.[230]

Leadership and governance[edit]

Mugshot of al-Baghdadi by U.S. armed forces while in detention at Camp Bucca in 2004

The group is headed and run by al-Baghdadi, with a cabinet of advisers. There are two deputy leaders, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (KIA) for Iraq andAbu Ali al-Anbari for Syria, and 12 local governors in Iraq and Syria. A third man, Abu Ala al-Afri, is also believed to hold a prominent position within the group, having been rumored to be the deputy leader of ISIL. Unusually, all three are believed to be ethnic Turkmens. The former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was also said to have had senior Turkmen within his inner circle.[231][232] While al-Bahdadi has told followers to “advise me when I err” in sermons, “any threat, opposition, or even contradiction is instantly eradicated”, according to observers.[233] Beneath the leaders are councils on finance, leadership, military matters, legal matters—including decisions on executions—foreign fighters’ assistance, security, intelligence and media. In addition, a Shura council has the task of ensuring that all decisions made by the governors and councils comply with the group’s interpretation of sharia.[234] The majority of ISIL’s leadership is dominated by Iraqis, especially former members of Saddam Hussein’s government.[235][236] It has been reported that Iraqis and Syrians have been given greater precedence over other nationalities within ISIL due to the fact that the group need the loyalties of the local Sunni populations in both Syria and Iraq in order to be sustainable.[237][238]Other reports have indicated however that Syrians are at a disadvantage to foreign members of ISIL, with some native Syrian fighters resenting alleged ‘favoritism’ towards foreigners over pay and accommodation.[239][240]

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in theGreat Mosque of al-Nuri inMosul (July 2014)

In September 2014, The Wall Street Journal estimated that eight million Iraqis and Syrians live in areas controlled by ISIL.[241]Ar-Raqqah in Syria is the de facto headquarters, and is said to be a test case of ISIL governance.[242]As of September 2014, governance in Ar-Raqqah has been under the total control of ISIL where it has rebuilt the structure of modern government in less than a year. Former government workers from the Assad government maintained their jobs after pledging allegiance to ISIL. Institutions, restored and restructured, provided their respective services. The Ar-Raqqah dam continues to provide electricity and water. Foreign expertise supplements Syrian officials in running civilian institutions. Only the police and soldiers are ISIL fighters, who receive confiscated lodging previously owned by non-Sunnis and others who fled. Welfare services are provided, price controls established, and taxes imposed on the wealthy. ISIL runs a soft power programme in the areas under its control in Iraq and Syria, which includes social services, religious lectures and da’wah—proselytising—to local populations. It also performs public services such as repairing roads and maintaining theelectricity supply.[243]

British security expert Frank Gardner concluded that ISIL’s prospects of maintaining control and rule were greater in 2014 than they had been in 2006, and that despite being as brutal as before, ISIL had become “well entrenched” among the population and was not likely to be dislodged by ineffective Syrian or Iraqi forces. It has replaced corrupt governance with functioning locally controlled authorities, services have been restored and there are adequate supplies of water and oil. With Western-backed intervention being unlikely, the group will “continue to hold their ground” and rule an area “the size of Pennsylvania for the foreseeable future”, he said.[184][244] Further solidifying ISIL rule is the control of wheat production, which is roughly 40% of Iraq’s production. ISIL has maintained food production, crucial to governance and popular support.[245]

Non-combatants[edit]

Although ISIL attracts followers from different parts of the world by promoting the image of holy war, not all of their recruits end up in combatant roles. There have been several cases of new recruits who expected to be mujihadeen that returned from Syria disappointed by the everyday jobs that had been assigned to them, like drawing water or cleaning toilets, or by the ban imposed on use of mobile phones during military training sessions.[246]

ISIL also publishes material directed to women. Although women are not allowed to take up arms, media groups encourage them to play supportive roles within ISIL: providing first aid, cooking, nursing and sewing, to become “good wives of jihad”.[247]

Designation as a terrorist organisation[edit]

Organisation Date Body References
Multinational organisations
 United Nations 18 October 2004 (as al-Qaeda in Iraq)
30 May 2013 (after separation from al‑Qaeda)
United Nations Security Council [248][249][250]
 European Union 2004 EU Council(via adoption of UN al-Qaida Sanctions List) [251]
Nations
 United Kingdom March 2001 (as part of al-Qaeda)
20 June 2014 (after separation from al‑Qaeda)
Home Secretary of the Home Office [252]
 United States 17 December 2004 (as al-Qaeda in Iraq) United States Department of State [253]
 Australia 2 March 2005 (as al-Qaeda in Iraq)
14 December 2013 (after separation from al‑Qaeda)
Attorney-General for Australia [254]
 Canada 20 August 2012 Parliament of Canada [255]
 Turkey 30 October 2013 Grand National Assembly of Turkey [256][257]
 Saudi Arabia 7 March 2014 Royal decree of the King of Saudi Arabia [258]
 Indonesia 1 August 2014 National Counter-terrorism Agency BNPT (id) [259]
 United Arab Emirates 20 August 2014 United Arab Emirates Cabinet [260]
 Malaysia 24 September 2014 Ministry of Foreign Affairs [261]
 Egypt 30 November 2014 The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters [262][263]
 India 16 December 2014 Ministry of Home Affairs [264][265]
 Russia 29 December 2014 Supreme Court of Russia [266]
 Kyrgyzstan 25 March 2015 Kyrgyz State Committee of National Security [267]
 Syria [268]
 Jordan [269]
 Pakistan 29 August 2015 Ministry of Interior [270]

The United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 1267 (1999) described Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda associates as operators of a network of terrorist training camps.[271] The UN’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee first listed ISIL in its Sanctions List under the name “Al-Qaida in Iraq” on 18 October 2004, as an entity/group associated with al-Qaeda. On 2 June 2014, the group was added to its listing under the name “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”. The European Union adopted the UN Sanctions List in 2002.[251]

Many world leaders and government spokespeople have called ISIL a terrorist group or banned it, without their countries having formally designated it as such. Some examples:

The Government of Germany banned ISIL in September 2014. Activities banned include donations to the group, recruiting fighters, holding ISIL meetings and distributing its propaganda, flying ISIL flags, wearing ISIL symbols and all ISIL activities. “The terror organisation Islamic State is a threat to public safety in Germany as well”, de Mazière said. “Today’s ban is directed solely against terrorists who abuse religion for their criminal goals.” The ban does not mean ISIL has been outlawed as a foreign terrorist organisation, as that requires a court judgement.[272]

In October 2014, Switzerland banned ISIL’s activities in the country, including propaganda and financial support of the fighters, with prison sentences as potential penalties.[273]

In mid-December 2014, India banned ISIL, after arresting the operator of a pro-ISIL Twitter account.[274] Pakistan designated ISIL as a banned organisation in late August 2015, under which all elements expressing sympathy for the group would be blacklisted and sanctioned.[270]

Media sources worldwide have also described ISIL as terrorist.[34][105][259][275][276][277]

Human rights abuse and war crime findings[edit]

In July 2014, the BBC reported the United Nations’ chief investigator as stating: “Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) may be added to a list of war crimes suspects in Syria.”[278] By June 2014, according to United Nations reports, ISIL had killed hundreds of prisoners of war[279] and over 1,000 civilians.[280][281][282] In August 2014, the UN accused ISIL of committing “mass atrocities” and war crimes,[283][284] including the mass killing of up to 250 Syrian Army soldiers near Tabqa Air base.[279] Other known killings of military prisoners took place in Camp Speicher, where 1,095–1,700 Iraqi soldiers were shot and “thousands” more went “missing”, and the Shaer gas field, where 200 Syrian soldiers were shot.[285]Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that they were performing “widespread ethnic and religious cleansing in the areas under their control”.[286]

In early September 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council agreed to send a team to Iraq and Syria to investigate the abuses and killings being carried out by ISIL on “an unimaginable scale”. Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad, the newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged world leaders to step in to protect women and children suffering at the hands of ISIL militants, who he said were trying to create a “house of blood”. He appealed to the international community to concentrate its efforts on ending the conflict in Iraq and Syria.[287]

In November 2014, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said that ISIL was committing crimes against humanity.[288][289] A report by Human Rights Watch in November 2014 accused ISIL groups in control of Derna, Libya of war crimes and human rights abuses and of terrorising residents. Human Rights Watch documented three apparent summary executions and at least ten public floggings by the Islamic Youth Shura Council, which joined ISIL in November. It also documented the beheading of three Derna residents and dozens of seemingly politically motivated assassinations of judges, public officials, members of the security forces and others. Sarah Leah Watson, Director of HRW Middle East and North Africa, said: “Commanders should understand that they may face domestic or international prosecution for the grave rights abuses their forces are committing.”[290]

Speaking of ISIL’s methods, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has stated that the group “seeks to subjugate civilians under its control and dominate every aspect of their lives through terror, indoctrination, and the provision of services to those who obey”.[291]

Religious and minority group persecution[edit]

Yazidi refugees on Mount Sinjar in August 2014

ISIL compels people in the areas that it controls to live according to its interpretation of sharia law.[275][292] There have been many reports of the group’s use of death threats, torture and mutilation to compel conversion to Islam,[275][292] and of clerics being killed for refusal to pledge allegiance to the so-called “Islamic State”.[293] ISIL directs violence against Shia Muslims, Alawites, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac andArmenianChristians, Yazidis, Druze, Shabaks and Mandeans in particular.[294]

ISIL fighters are targeting Syria’s minority Alawite sect.[295][296] Islamic State and affiliated jihadist groups reportedly took the lead in anoffensive on Alawite villages in Latakia Governorate of Syria in August 2013.[297][298]

Amnesty International has held ISIL responsible for the ethnic cleansing of ethnic and religious minority groups in northern Iraq on a “historic scale”. In a special report released on 2 September 2014, it describes how ISIL has “systematically targeted non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslim communities, killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands, and forcing more than 830,000 others to flee the areas it has captured since 10 June 2014”. Among these people are Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shia, Shabak Shia, Yazidis, Kaka’i and Sabean Mandeans, who have lived together for centuries in Nineveh province, large parts of which came under ISIL’s control.[299][300]

Among the known killings of religious and minority group civilians carried out by ISIL are those in the villages and towns of Quiniyeh (70–90 Yazidis killed), Hardan (60 Yazidis killed), Sinjar (500–2,000 Yazidis killed), Ramadi Jabal (60–70 Yazidis killed), Dhola (50 Yazidis killed), Khana Sor (100 Yazidis killed), Hardan (250–300 Yazidis killed), al-Shimal (dozens of Yazidis killed), Khocho (400 Yazidis killed and 1,000 abducted), Jadala (14 Yadizis killed)[301] and Beshir (700 Shia Turkmen killed),[302] and others committed near Mosul (670 Shia inmates of the Badush prison killed),[302] and in Tal Afar prison, Iraq (200 Yazidis killed for refusing conversion).[301] The UN estimated that 5,000 Yazidis were killed by ISIL during the takeover of parts of northern Iraq in August 2014.[303] In late May 2014, 150 Kurdish boys from Kobani aged 14–16 were abducted and subjected to torture and abuse, according to Human Rights Watch.[304] In the Syrian towns of Ghraneij, Abu Haman and Kashkiyeh 700 members of the Sunni Al-Shaitat tribe were killed for attempting an uprising against ISIL control.[305][306] The UN reported that in June 2014 ISIL had killed a number of Sunni Islamic clerics who refused to pledge allegiance to it.[293]

Christians living in areas under ISIL control who want to remain in the “caliphate” face three options: converting to Islam, paying a religious levy—jizya—or death.[307][308] “We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword”, ISIL said.[309] ISIL had already set similar rules for Christians in Ar-Raqqah, once one of Syria’s more liberal cities.[310][311]

On 23 February 2015, in response to a major Kurdish offensive in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, ISIL abducted 150 Assyrian Christians from villages near Tal Tamr (Tell Tamer) in northeastern Syria, after launching a large offensive in the region.[312][313]

It was claimed that ISIL campaigns against Kurdish and Yezidi enclaves in Iraq and Syria were a part of organised Arabization plans. For instance, a Kurdish official in Iraqi Kurdistan claimed that the ISIL campaign in Sinjar was a case of Arabization campaign.[314]

Treatment of civilians[edit]

During the Iraqi conflict in 2014, ISIL released dozens of videos showing its ill treatment of civilians, many of whom had apparently been targeted on the basis of their religion or ethnicity. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned of war crimes being committed in the Iraqi war zone, and disclosed a UN report of ISIL militants murdering Iraqi Army soldiers and 17 civilians in a single street in Mosul. The UN reported that in the 17 days from 5 to 22 June, ISIL killed more than 1,000 Iraqi civilians and injured more than 1,000.[280][281][282] After ISIL released photographs of its fighters shooting scores of young men, the UN declared that cold-blooded “executions” by militants in northern Iraq almost certainly amounted to war crimes.[315]

ISIL’s advance in Iraq in mid-2014 was accompanied by continuing violence in Syria. On 29 May, ISIL raided a village in Syria and at least 15 civilians were killed, including, according to Human Rights Watch, at least six children.[316] A hospital in the area confirmed that it had received 15 bodies on the same day.[317] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that on 1 June, a 102-year-old man was killed along with his whole family in a village in Hama province.[318] According to Reuters, 1,878 people were killed in Syria by ISIL during the last six months of 2014, most of them civilians.[319]

In Mosul, ISIL has implemented a sharia school curriculum which bans the teaching of art, music, national history, literature and Christianity. Although Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has never been taught in Iraqi schools, the subject has been banned from the school curriculum. Patriotic songs have been declared blasphemous, and orders have been given to remove certain pictures from school textbooks.[320][321][322][323] Iraqi parents have largely boycotted schools in which the new curriculum has been introduced.[324]

After capturing cities in Iraq, ISIL issued guidelines on how to wear clothes and veils. ISIL warned women in the city of Mosul to wear full-face veils or face severe punishment.[325]A cleric told Reuters in Mosul that ISIL gunmen had ordered him to read out the warning in his mosque when worshippers gathered. ISIL ordered the faces of both male and female mannequins to be covered, in an order which also banned the use of naked mannequins.[326] In Ar-Raqqah the group uses its two battalions of female fighters in the city to enforce compliance by women with its strict laws on individual conduct.[327]

ISIL released 16 notes labelled “Contract of the City”, a set of rules aimed at civilians in Nineveh. One rule stipulated that women should stay at home and not go outside unless necessary. Another rule said that stealing would be punished by amputation.[243][328] In addition to the Muslim custom of banning the sale and use of alcohol, ISIL has banned the sale and use of cigarettes and hookah pipes. It has also banned “music and songs in cars, at parties, in shops and in public, as well as photographs of people in shop windows”.[329]

According to The Economist, Saudi practices also followed by the group include the establishment of religious police to root out “vice” and enforce attendance at salat prayers, the widespread use of capital punishment, and the destruction of Christian churches and non-Sunni mosques or their conversion to other uses.[179]

ISIL carried out executions on both men and women who were accused of various acts and found guilty of crimes against Islam such as homosexuality, adultery, watching pornography, usage and possession of contraband, rape, blasphemy, witchcraft,[330]renouncing Islam and murder. Before the accused are executed their charges are read toward them and the spectators. Executions take various forms, including stoning to death, crucifixions, beheadings, burning people alive, and throwing people from tall buildings.[331][332][333][334]

Child soldiers[edit]

According to a report by the magazine Foreign Policy, children as young as six are recruited or kidnapped and sent to military and religious training camps, where they practise beheading with dolls and are indoctrinated with the religious views of ISIL. Children are used as human shields on front lines and to provide blood transfusions for Islamic State soldiers, according to Shelly Whitman of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. The second installment of a Vice News documentary about ISIL focused on how the group is specifically grooming children for the future. A spokesman told VICE News that those under the age of 15 go to sharia camp to learn about religion, while those older than 16 can go to military training camp. Children are also used for propaganda. According to a UN report, “In mid-August, ISIL entered a cancer hospital in Mosul, forced at least two sick children to hold the ISIL flag and posted the pictures on the internet.” Misty Buswell, a Save the Children representative working with refugees in Jordan, said, “It’s not an exaggeration to say we could lose a whole generation of children to trauma.”[335]

Sexual violence and slavery[edit]

Sexual violence perpetrated by ISIL includes: using rape as a weapon of war;[336] instituting forced marriages to its fighters;[337] and trading women and girls as sex slaves.[338]

There are many reports of sexual abuse and enslavement in ISIL-controlled areas of women and girls, predominantly from the minority Christian and Yazidi communities.[339][340]Fighters are told that they are free to have sex with or rape non-Muslim captive women.[341] Haleh Esfandiari from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has highlighted the abuse of local women by ISIL militants after they have captured an area. “They usually take the older women to a makeshift slave market and try to sell them. The younger girls … are raped or married off to fighters”, she said, adding, “It’s based on temporary marriages, and once these fighters have had sex with these young girls, they just pass them on to other fighters.”[342]

The capture of Iraqi cities by the group in June 2014 was accompanied by an upsurge in crimes against women, including kidnap and rape.[343][344][345] According to Martin Williams in The Citizen, some hard-line Salafists apparently regard extramarital sex with multiple partners as a legitimate form of holy war and it is “difficult to reconcile this with a religion where some adherents insist that women must be covered from head to toe, with only a narrow slit for the eyes”.[346]

As of August 2015, the trade in sex slaves appeared to remain restricted to Yazidi women and girls.[338] It has reportedly become a recruiting technique to attract men from conservative Muslim societies, where dating and casual sex are not allowed.[338]Nazand Begikhani said of the Yazidi victims, “These women have been treated like cattle … They have been subjected to physical and sexual violence, including systematic rape and sex slavery. They’ve been exposed in markets in Mosul and in Raqqa, Syria, carrying price tags.”[347]

A United Nations report issued on 2 October 2014, based on 500 interviews with witnesses, said that ISIL took 450–500 women and girls to Iraq’s Nineveh region in August, where “150 unmarried girls and women, predominantly from the Yazidi and Christian communities, were reportedly transported to Syria, either to be given to ISIL fighters as a reward or to be sold as sex slaves”.[340] In mid-October, the UN confirmed that 5,000–7,000 Yazidi women and children had been abducted by ISIL and sold into slavery.[348][349]In November 2014 The New York Times reported on the accounts given by five who escaped ISIL of their captivity and abuse.[350] In December 2014, the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights announced that ISIL had killed over 150 women and girls in Fallujah who refused to participate in sexual jihad.[351][352] Non-Muslim women have reportedly been married off to fighters against their will. ISIL claims the women provide the new converts and children necessary to spread ISIL’s control.[353]

Shortly after the death of US hostage Kayla Mueller was confirmed on 10 February 2015,[354] several media outlets reported that the US intelligence community believed she may have been given as a wife to an ISIL fighter.[355][356][357] In August 2015 it was confirmed that she had been forced into marriage[358] to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who raped her repeatedly.[359][360][361][362][363][364][364][365] The Mueller family was informed by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had sexually abused Ms. Mueller, and that Ms. Mueller had also been tortured.[364]Abu Sayyaf‘s widow, Umm Sayyaf, confirmed that it was her husband who had been Mueller’s primary abuser.[366]

In its digital magazine Dabiq, ISIL explicitly claimed religious justification for enslaving Yazidi women.[367][368][369] According to The Wall Street Journal, ISIL appeals to apocalyptic beliefs and claims “justification by a Hadith that they interpret as portraying the revival of slavery as a precursor to the end of the world”.[370] ISIL appeals to the Hadith and Qur’anwhen claiming the right to enslave and rape captive non-Muslim women.[367][371][372] According to Dabiq, “enslaving the families of the kuffar and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharia’s that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’an and the narration of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam.” Captured Yazidi women and children are divided among the fighters who captured them, with one fifth taken as a tax.[372][373]ISIL has received widespread criticism from Muslim scholars and others in the Muslim world for using part of the Qur’an to derive a ruling in isolation, rather than considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.[367][371][372] According to Mona Siddiqui, ISIL’s “narrative may well be wrapped up in the familiar language of jihad and ‘fighting in the cause of Allah’, but it amounts to little more than destruction of anything and anyone who doesn’t agree with them”; she describes ISIL as reflecting a “lethal mix of violence and sexual power” and a “deeply flawed view of manhood”.[353]Dabiq describes “this large-scale enslavement” of non-Muslims as “probably the first since the abandonment of Shariah law”.[372][373]

In late 2014, ISIL released a pamphlet that focused on the treatment of female slaves.[374][375] It claims that the Quran allows fighters to have sex with captives, including adolescent girls, and to beat slaves as discipline. The pamphlet’s guidelines also allow fighters to trade slaves, including for sex, as long as they have not been impregnated by their owner.[374][375][376] Charlie Winter, a researcher at the counter-extremist think tankQuilliam, described the pamphlet as “abhorrent”.[376][377] In response to this document Abbas Barzegar, a religion professor at Georgia State University, said Muslims around the world find ISIL’s “alien interpretation of Islam grotesque and abhorrent”.[378] Muslim leaders and scholars from around the world have rejected the validity of ISIL’s claims, claiming that the reintroduction of slavery is un-Islamic, that they are required to protect “People of the Scripture” including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Yazidis, and that ISIL’s fatwas are invalid due to their lack of religious authority and the fatwas’ inconsistency with Islam.[379][380]

The Independent reported in 2015 that the usage of Yazidi sex slaves had created ongoing friction among fighters within ISIL. Sajad Jiyad, a Research Fellow and Associate Member at the Iraqi Institute for Economic Reform, told the newspaper that many ISIL supporters and fighters had been in denial about the trafficking of kidnapped Yazidi women until a Dabiq article justifying the practice was published.[381][382]The New York Times said in August 2015 that “[t]he systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution.”[338] The article claims that ISIL is not merely exonerating but sacralising rape, and illustrated this with the testimony of escapees. One 15-year-old victim said that, while she was being assaulted, her rapist “kept telling me this is ibadah“; a 12-year-old victim related how her assailant claimed that, “by raping me, he is drawing closer to God”;[338] and one adult prisoner told how, when she challenged her captor about repeatedly raping a 12 year old, she was met with the retort, “No, she’s not a little girl, she’s a slave and she knows exactly how to have sex and having sex with her pleases God.”[338]

Attacks on members of the press[edit]

British journalist John Cantlie held hostage by ISIL

The Committee to Protect Journalists states: “Without a free press, few other human rights are attainable.”[383] ISIL has tortured and murdered local journalists,[384][385] creating what Reporters Without Borders calls “news blackholes” in areas controlled by ISIL. ISIL fighters have reportedly been given written directions to kill or capture journalists.[386]

In December 2013, two suicide bombers stormed the headquarters of TV station Salaheddin and killed five journalists, after accusing the station of “distorting the image of Iraq’s Sunni community”. Reporters Without Borders reported that on 7 September 2014, ISIL seized and on 11 October publicly beheaded Raad al-Azzawi, a TV Salaheddin cameraman from the village of Samra, east of Tikrit.[387] As of October 2014, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, ISIL is holding nine journalists and has nine others under close observation in Mosul and Salahuddin province.[386]

During 2013 and part of 2014, an ISIL unit nicknamed the Beatles acquired and held 12 Western journalists hostage, along with aid workers and other foreign hostages, totalling 23 or 24 known hostages. A Polish journalist Marcin Suder was captured in July 2013 but escaped four months later.[388] The unit executed American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and released beheading videos. Eight of the other journalists were released for ransom: Danish journalist Daniel Rye Ottosen, French journalists Didier François, Edouard Elias, Nicolas Hénin, and Pierre Torres, and Spanish journalists Marc Marginedas, Javier Espinosa, and Ricardo García Vilanova. The unit continues to hold hostage British journalist John Cantlie and a female aid worker.[389]

Cyber-security group the Citizen Lab released a report finding a possible link between ISIL and a digital attack on the Syrian citizen media group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RSS). Supporters of the media group received an emailed link to an image of supposed airstrikes, but clicking on the link introduced malware to the user’s computer that sends details of the user’s IP address and system each time it restarts. That information has been enough to allow ISIL to locate RSS supporters. “The group has been targeted for kidnappings, house raids, and at least one alleged targeted killing. At the time of that writing, ISIL was allegedly holding several citizen journalists in Raqqa”, according to the Citizen Lab report.[390]

On 8 January 2015, ISIL members in Libya claimed to have executed Tunisian journalists Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari who disappeared in September 2014.[391] Also in January 2015, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto Jogo was kidnapped and beheaded, after a demand for a $200 million ransom payment was not met.[392]

Beheadings and mass executions[edit]

An unknown number of Syrians and Iraqis, several Lebanese soldiers, at least ten Kurds, two American journalists, one American and two British aid workers, and three Libyans have been beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[citation needed] ISIL uses beheadings to intimidate local populations and has released a series of propaganda videos aimed at Western countries.[393] They also engage in public and mass executions of Syrian and Iraqi soldiers and civilians,[296] sometimes forcing prisoners to dig their own graves before shooting lines of prisoners and pushing them in.[394][395] ISIL was reported to have beheaded about 100 foreign fighters as deserters who tried to leaveRaqqa.[396]

Use of chemical weapons[edit]

Kurds in northern Iraq reported being attacked by ISIS with chemical weapons in August.[397]

Destruction of cultural and religious heritage[edit]

UNESCO‘s Director-General Irina Bokova has warned that ISIL is destroying Iraq’s cultural heritage, in what she has called “cultural cleansing“. “We don’t have time to lose because extremists are trying to erase the identity, because they know that if there is no identity, there is no memory, there is no history”, she said. Referring to the ancient cultures of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities, she said, “This is a way to destroy identity. You deprive them of their culture, you deprive them of their history, their heritage, and that is why it goes hand in hand with genocide. Along with the physical persecution they want to eliminate – to delete – the memory of these different cultures. … we think this is appalling, and this is not acceptable.”[398]Saad Eskander, head of Iraq’s National Archives said, “For the first time you have cultural cleansing… For the Yazidis, religion is oral, nothing is written. By destroying their places of worship … you are killing cultural memory. It is the same with the Christians – it really is a threat beyond belief.”[399]

In July 2014, ISIL demolished the mosque dedicated to Jonah in Mosul

To finance its activities, ISIL is stealing artifacts from Syria[400] and Iraq and sending them to Europe to be sold. It is estimated that ISIL raises US$200 million a year from cultural looting. UNESCO has asked for United Nations Security Council controls on the sale of antiquities, similar to those imposed after the 2003 Iraq War. UNESCO is working with Interpol, national customs authorities, museums, and major auction houses in attempts to prevent looted items from being sold.[399] ISIL occupied Mosul Museum, the second most important museum in Iraq, as it was about to reopen after years of rebuilding following the Iraq War, saying that the statues were against Islam and threatening to destroy the museum’s contents.[401][402]

ISIL considers worshipping at graves tantamount to idolatry, and seeks to purify the community of unbelievers. It has used bulldozers to crush buildings and archaeological sites.[402]Bernard Haykel has described al-Baghdadi’s creed as “a kind of untamed Wahhabism”, saying, “For Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself”.[178] The destruction by ISIL in July 2014 of the tomb and shrine of the prophet YunusJonah in Christianity—the 13th-century mosque of Imam Yahya Abu al-Qassimin, the 14th-century shrine of prophet Jerjis—St George to Christians—and the attempted destruction of the Hadba minaret at the 12th-century Great Mosque of Al-Nuri have been described as “an unchecked outburst of extreme Wahhabism”.[403] “There were explosions that destroyed buildings dating back to the Assyrian era“, said National Museum of Iraq director Qais Rashid, referring to the destruction of the shrine of Yunus. He cited another case where “Daesh (ISIL) gathered over 1,500 manuscripts from convents and other holy places and burnt all of them in the middle of the city square”.[404] In March 2015, ISIL reportedly bulldozed the 13th-century BC Assyrian city of Nimrud, believing its sculptures to be idolatrous. UNESCO head, Irina Bokova, deemed this to be a war crime.[405]

Criticism[edit]

Islamic criticism[edit]

ISIL has received severe criticism from other Muslims, especially religious scholars and theologians. In late August 2014, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, condemned the Islamic State and al-Qaeda saying, “Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilisation, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims”.[406] In late September 2014, 126 Sunni imams and Islamic scholars—primarilySufi[407]—from around the Muslim world signed an open letter to the Islamic State’s leader al-Baghdadi, explicitly rejecting and refuting his group’s interpretations of Islamic scriptures, the Qur’an and hadith, used by it to justify its actions.[408][409] “[You] have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture and murder … this is a great wrong and an offence to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world”, the letter states.[410] It rebukes the Islamic State for its killing of prisoners, describing the killings as “heinous war crimes” and its persecution of the Yazidis of Iraq as “abominable”. Referring to the “self-described ‘Islamic State'”, the letter censures the group for carrying out killings and acts of brutality under the guise of jihad—holy struggle—saying that its “sacrifice” without legitimate cause, goals and intention “is not jihad at all, but rather, warmongering and criminality”.[410][411] It also accuses the group of instigating fitna—sedition—by instituting slavery under its rule in contravention of the anti-slavery consensus of the Islamic scholarly community.[410] Other scholars have described the group as not Sunnis, but Khawarij.[412]

Kurdish demonstration against ISIL in Vienna, Austria, 10 October 2014

According to The New York Times, “All of the most influential jihadist theorists are criticizing the Islamic State as deviant, calling its self-proclaimed caliphate null and void” and have denounced it for its beheading of journalists and aid workers.[178] ISIL is widely denounced by a broad range of Islamic clerics, including al-Qaeda-oriented and Saudi clerics.[11][178]

Sunni critics, including Salafi and jihadist muftis such as Adnan al-Aroor and Abu Basir al-Tartusi, say that ISIL and related terrorist groups are not Sunnis, but modern-day Khawarij—Muslims who have stepped outside the mainstream of Islam—serving an imperial anti-Islamic agenda.[413][414] Other critics of ISIL’s brand of Sunni Islam include Salafists who previously publicly supported jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda, for example the Saudi government official Saleh Al-Fawzan, known for his extremist views, who claims that ISIL is a creation of “Zionists, Crusaders and Safavids”, and the Jordanian-Palestinian writer Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, the former spiritual mentor to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was released from prison in Jordan in June 2014 and accused ISIL of driving a wedge between Muslims.[414]

The group’s declaration of a caliphate has been criticised and its legitimacy disputed by Middle Eastern governments, other jihadist groups,[415] and Sunni Muslim theologians and historians. Qatar-based TV broadcaster and theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated: “[The] declaration issued by the Islamic State is void under sharia and has dangerous consequences for the Sunnis in Iraq and for the revolt in Syria”, adding that the title of caliph can “only be given by the entire Muslim nation”, not by a single group.[416] The group’s execution of Muslims for breach of traditional sharia law while violating it itself (encouraging women to emigrate to its territory, traveling without a Wali—male guardian—and in violation of his wishes) has been criticized;[417] as has its love of archaic imagery (horsemen and swords) while engaging inbid‘ah (religious innovation) in establishing female religious police (known as al-Khansa’ Brigades).[418]

Two days after the beheading of Hervé Gourdel,hundreds of Muslims gathered in the Grand Mosque of Paris to show solidarity against the beheading. The protest was led by the leader of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Dalil Boubakeur, and was joined by thousands of other Muslims around the country under the slogan “Not in my name”.[419][420]French president François Hollande said Gourdel’s beheading was “cowardly” and “cruel”, and confirmed that airstrikes would continue against ISIL in Iraq. Hollande also called for three days of national mourning, with flags flown at half-mast throughout the country and said that security would be increased throughout Paris.[419]

An Islamic Front Sharia Court Judge in Aleppo Mohamed Najeeb Bannan stated “The legal reference is the Islamic Sharia. The cases are different, from robberies to drug use, to moral crimes. It’s our duty to look at any crime that comes to us. . . After the regime has fallen, we believe that the Muslim majority in Syria will ask for an Islamic state. Of course, it’s very important to point out that some say the Islamic Sharia will cut off people’s hands and heads, but it only applies to criminals. And to start off by killing, crucifying etc. That is not correct at all.” In response to being asked what the difference between the Islamic Front’s and ISIS’s version of sharia would be, he said “One of their mistakes is before the regime has fallen, and before they’ve established what in Sharia is called Tamkeen [having a stable state], they started applying Sharia, thinking God gave them permission to control the land and establish a Caliphate. This goes against the beliefs of religious scholars around the world. This is what [IS] did wrong. This is going to cause alot of trouble. Anyone who opposes [IS] will be considered against Sharia and will be severely punished.”[421]

The Islamic Front criticized ISIL, saying: “They killed the people of Islam and leave the idol worshippers” (يقتلون أهل الإسلام ويدعون أهل الأوثان) and “They use the verses talking about the disbelievers and implement it on the Muslims” (ينزلون أيات نزلت في الكفار على المسلمين).[422]

International criticism[edit]

The group has attracted widespread criticism internationally for its extremism, from governments and international bodies such as the United Nations and Amnesty International. On 24 September 2014, United Nations Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-Moon stated: “As Muslim leaders around the world have said, groups like ISIL – or Da’ish – have nothing to do with Islam, and they certainly do not represent a state. They should more fittingly be called the ‘Un-Islamic Non-State’.”[423] The group was described as a cult in a Huffington Postcolumn by notable cult authority Steven Hassan.[424]

Criticism of the name “Islamic State” and “caliphate” declaration[edit]

The group’s declaration of a new caliphate in June 2014 and adoption of the name “Islamic State” have been criticised and ridiculed by Muslim scholars and rival Islamists both inside and outside the territory it controls.[68][69][70][425] In a speech in September 2014, President Obama said that ISIL is not “Islamic” on the basis that no religion condones the killing of innocents and that no government recognises the group as a state,[74] while many object to using the name “Islamic State” owing to the far-reaching religious and political claims to authority which that name implies. The United Nations Security Council, the United States, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Russia, the United Kingdom[71][72][73][426][427][428][429] and other countries generally call the group “ISIL”, while much of the Arab world uses the Arabic acronym “Dāʻish”. France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said “This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats.'”[430] Retired general John Allen, the U.S. envoy appointed to co-ordinate the coalition, U.S. military Lieutenant General James Terry, head of operations against the group, and Secretary of State John Kerry had all shifted toward use of the term DAESH by December 2014.[431]

Battle of Kobani

In late August 2014, a leading Islamic educational institution, Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah in Egypt, advised Muslims to stop calling the group “Islamic State” and instead refer to it as “Al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria” or “QSIS”, because of the militant group’s “un-Islamic character”.[432][433] When addressing the United Nations Security Council in September 2014, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbottsummarised the widespread objections to the name “Islamic State” thus: “To use this term [Islamic State] is to dignify a death cult; a death cult that, in declaring itself a caliphate, has declared war on the world”.[434] The group is very sensitive about its name. “They will cut your tongue out even if you call them ISIS – you have to say ‘Islamic State'”, said a woman in ISIL-controlled Mosul.[435]

In mid-October 2014, representatives of the Islamic Society of Britain, the Association of British Muslims and the UK’s Association of Muslim Lawyers proposed that “‘Un-Islamic State’ (UIS) could be an accurate and fair alternative name to describe this group and its agenda”, further stating, “We need to work together and make sure that these fanatics don’t get the propaganda that they feed off.”[436][437] The “Islamic State” is mocked on social media websites such as Twitter and YouTube, with the use of hashtags, mock recruiting ads, fake news articles and YouTube videos.[438] One parody, by a Palestinian TV satire show, portrays ISIL as “buffoon-like hypocrites”, and has had more than half a million views on YouTube.[438][439]

Views of ISIL as un-Islamic[edit]

Mehdi Hasan, a political journalist in the UK, said in the New Statesman, “Whether Sunni or Shia, Salafi or Sufi, conservative or liberal, Muslims – and Muslim leaders – have almost unanimously condemned and denounced ISIL not merely as un-Islamic but actively anti-Islamic.”[440]

Views of ISIL as Islamic[edit]

Hassan Hassan, an analyst at the Delma Institute, wrote in The Guardian that because the Islamic State “bases its teachings on religious texts that mainstream Muslim clerics do not want to deal with head on, new recruits leave the camp feeling that they have stumbled on the true message of Islam”.[441]

In mid-February 2015, Graeme Wood, a lecturer in political science at Yale University, said in The Atlantic, “The religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”[442]

In the media[edit]

By 2014, ISIL was increasingly being viewed as a militia rather than a terrorist group.[443] As major Iraqi cities fell to ISIL in June 2014, Jessica Lewis, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer at the Institute for the Study of War, described ISIL as “not a terrorism problem anymore”, but rather “an army on the move in Iraq and Syria, and they are taking terrain. They have shadow governments in and around Baghdad, and they have an aspirational goal to govern. I don’t know whether they want to control Baghdad, or if they want to destroy the functions of the Iraqi state, but either way the outcome will be disastrous for Iraq.” Lewis has called ISIL “an advanced military leadership”. She said, “They have incredible command and control and they have a sophisticated reporting mechanism from the field that can relay tactics and directives up and down the line. They are well-financed, and they have big sources of manpower, not just the foreign fighters, but also prisoner escapees.”[443]

While officials[which?] fear that ISIL may inspire attacks in the United States from sympathisers or those returning after joining ISIL, U.S. intelligence agencies have found no specific plots or any immediate threat. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel saw an “imminent threat to every interest we have”, but former top counter-terrorism adviserDaniel Benjamin has derided such alarmist talk as a “farce” that panics the public.[444]

Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband concluded that the 2003 invasion of Iraq caused the creation of ISIL.[445]

Some news commentators, such as international newspaper columnist Gwynne Dyer,[446] and samples of American public opinion, such as surveys by NPR,[447] have advocated a strong but measured response to ISIL’s recent provocative acts. Writing for The Guardian, Pankaj Mishra rejects that the group is a resurgence of medieval Islam and rather expresses that, “In actuality, Isis is the canniest of all traders in the flourishing international economy of disaffection: the most resourceful among all those who offer the security of collective identity to isolated and fearful individuals. It promises, along with others who retail racial, national and religious supremacy, to release the anxiety and frustrations of the private life into the violence of the global.”[448]

Allegations of Turkish support[edit]

Turkey has long been accused by experts, Syrian Kurds, and even U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden of supporting or colluding with ISIL.[449][450][451] According to journalist Patrick Cockburn, there is “strong evidence for a degree of collaboration” between the Turkish intelligence services and ISIL, although the “exact nature of the relationship … remains cloudy”.[452] David L. Phillips of Columbia University‘s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, who compiled a list of allegations and claims accusing Turkey of assisting ISIL, writes that these allegations “range from military cooperation and weapons transfers to logistical support, financial assistance, and the provision of medical services”.[453] Several ISIL fighters and commanders have claimed that Turkey supports ISIL.[454][455][456] Within Turkey itself, ISIL is believed to have caused increasing political polarisation between secularists and Islamists.[457]

In July 2015, a raid by US special forces on a compound housing the Islamic State’s “chief financial officer”, Abu Sayyaf, produced evidence that Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking ISIS members. According to a senior Western official, documents and flash drives seized during the Sayyaf raid revealed links “so clear” and “undeniable” between Turkey and ISIS “that they could end up having profound policy implications for the relationship between us and Ankara”.[449]

Turkey has been further criticised for allowing individuals from outside the region to enter its territory and join ISIL in Syria.[458][459] With many Islamist fighters passing through Turkey to fight in Syria, Turkey has been accused of becoming a transit country for such fighters and has been labelled the “Gateway to Jihad”.[460] Turkish border patrol officers are reported to have deliberately overlooked those entering Syria, upon payment of a small bribe.[460] A report by Sky News exposed documents showing that passports of foreign Islamists wanting to join ISIL by crossing into Syria had been stamped by the Turkish government.[461] An ISIL commander stated that “most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies”,[456][462] adding that ISIL fighters received treatment in Turkish hospitals.[456]

Allegations of Qatari support[edit]

The State of Qatar has long been accused of acting as a conduit for the flow of funds to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. While there is no proof that the Qatari government is behind the movement of funds from the gas-rich nation to ISIL, it has been criticized for not doing enough to stem the flow of financing. Private donors within Qatar, sympathetic to the aims of radical groups such as al-Nusra Front and ISIL, are believed to be channeling their resources to support these organisations.[463][464] According to the U.S. Treasury Department, a number of terrorist financiers have been operating in Qatar. Qatari citizen Abd al Rahman al Nuaymi has served as an interlocutor between Qatari donors and leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Nuaymi reportedly oversaw the transfer of US$2 million per month to AQI over a period of time. Nuaymi is also one of several of Qatar-based al-Qaeda financiers sanctioned by the U.S.Treasury in recent years. According to some reports, U.S. officials believe that the largest portion of private donations supporting ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked groups now comes from Qatar rather than Saudi Arabia.[465]

In August 2014, a German minister Gerd Müller accused Qatar of having links to ISIL, stating “You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops. The keyword there is Qatar”. Qatari foreign minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah reiterated this stance when he stated: “Qatar does not support extremist groups, including [ISIL], in any way. We are repelled by their views, their violent methods and their ambitions.”[466][467][468][469]

Allegations of Saudi Arabian support[edit]

Although Saudi Arabia’s government rejected the claims,[470] Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi Arabia of funding ISIL.[471] Some media outlets, such asNBC, the BBC and The New York Times, and the U.S.-based think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy have written about individual Saudi donations to the group and the Saudi state’s decade-long sponsorship of Wahhabism around the world, but have concluded that there is no evidence of direct Saudi state support for ISIL.[472][473]

Allegations of Syrian support[edit]

Circle frame.svg

ISIL attacks in Syria: 1 Jan – 21 November 2014 [474]

  Attacks against Syrian government forces (13%)
  Attacks against other groups (FSA, etc.) (64%)
  Other (23%)

During the ongoing Syrian Civil War, many opposition and anti-Assad parties in the conflict have accused the Syrian leadership of Bashar Assad of some form of collusion with ISIL,[475][476] whose dominance in the opposition against the Bashar al-Assad government would give that government a basis for its claim to being under attack by “terrorists” and “a secular bulwark against al-Qaida and jihadi fanaticism”.[477]Several sources have claimed that ISIL prisoners were strategically released from Syrian prisons at the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011.[478] The Syrian government has bought oil directly from ISIL,[479] and in March 2015 a European Union report brought to light that the Syrian government and ISIL jointly run a HESCO gas plant in Tabqa, central Syria; the facility continues to supply government-held areas, and electricity continues to be supplied to ISIL-held areas from government-run power plants.[480] United States Secretary of State John Kerryhas stated that the Syrian government has tactically avoided ISIL forces in order to weaken moderate opposition such as the Free Syrian Army (FSA),[481] as well as “even purposely ceding some territory to them [ISIL] in order to make them more of a problem so he can make the argument that he is somehow the protector against them”.[482] An IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center database analysis confirmed that only 6% of Syrian government forces attacks were targeted at ISIL from 1 Jan to 21 November 2014, while in the same period only 13% of all ISIL attacks targeted government forces.[474] The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces has stated that the Syrian government has operatives inside ISIL,[483] as has the leadership of Ahrar ash-Sham.[484] ISIL members captured by the FSA have claimed that they were directed to commit attacks by Syrian government operatives.[485]

On 1 June 2015, the United States stated that the Syrian government was “making air-strikes in support” of an ISIL advance on Syrian opposition positions north of Aleppo.[486] The president of the Syrian National Coalition Khaled Koja accused Assad of acting “as an air force for [ISIL]”,[487] with the Defense Minister of the SNC Salim Idris stating that approximately 180 Syrian government officers were serving in ISIL and coordinating the group’s attacks with the Syrian Arab Army.[488]

A report on June 25, 2015 said that ISIS kept gas flowing to Assad regime-controlled power stations. Furthermore, ISIS allowed grain to pass from the Kurdish-held north-east to regime controlled areas at the cost of a 25% levy.[489]

On 28 June 2015, a source close to the Turkish National Intelligence Organization claimed an agreement was made between the Assad regime and ISIL to destroy the FSA in the country’s north, continue oil sales, assassinate Zahran Alloush and surrender Tadmur and Sukhna. The sources said that a group of commanders of both sides held a meeting at a gas production plant in Hasaka‘s al-Shaddadi area on 28 May 2015, not to stop fighting each other, but to focus on destroying a common enemy – the Syrian rebel forces, especially the FSA.[490] Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has blamed the rise of ISIL on the international communities inaction in regards to the Assad regime, which left a vacuum of power in which ISIL was able to grow.[491]

ISIL has repeatedly massacred Alawite civilians and executed captured Syrian Alawite soldiers,[295][297][492] with most Alawites supporting President Bashar al-Assad, himself an Alawite.[296]

Conspiracy theories[edit]

Conspiracy theorists in the Arab world have advanced rumours that the U.S. is secretly behind the existence and emboldening of ISIL, as part of an attempt to further destabilise the Middle East. After such rumours became widespread, the U.S. embassy in Lebanon issued an official statement denying the allegations, calling them a complete fabrication.[493] Others[who?] are convinced that ISIL leader al-Baghdadi is an Israeli Mossad agent and actor called Simon Elliot. The rumours claim that NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal this connection. Snowden’s lawyer has called the story “a hoax.”[494]

According to The New York Times, many in the Middle East believe that an alliance of the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia is directly responsible for the creation of ISIL. Egyptian, Tunisian, Palestinian, Jordanian and Lebanese news organizations have reported on the conspiracy theory.[495][496]

Countries and groups at war with ISIL[edit]

ISIL’s expanding claims to territory have brought it into armed conflict with many governments, militias and other armed groups. International rejection of ISIL as a terrorist entity and rejection of its claim to even exist have placed it in conflict with countries around the world.[citation needed]

Opposition within Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other nations[edit]

Iraq Levant Maghreb Other regions
Iraq-based opponents

IraqIraqi Armed Forces

Iraqi KurdistanIraqi Kurdistan

Popular Mobilization Forces

Iraqi Turkmen Front[500]

Shabak Militia[501]

Syria-based opponents

SyriaSyrian Armed Forces[502]

National Defence Force

Ba’ath Brigades

Syrian Resistance

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command

Palestine Liberation Army

Fatah al-Intifada

Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas

SyriaSyrian Opposition[503][504][505]

RojavaSyrian Kurdistan[508]

al-Qaeda

Lebanon-based opponents

LebanonLebanese Armed Forces[513]

Hezbollah[514]

Egypt-based opponents

EgyptEgyptian Armed Forces[515]

Libya-based opponents aka “No waifus no laifu”

LibyaLibyan Armed Forces

Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade (Libyan militia)[518]

Fajr Libya battalion (Libyan militia)[519]

Algeria-based opponents

AlgeriaAlgerian Armed Forces[520]

South Asia-based opponents
AfghanistanAfghan Armed Forces[152]
IndiaIndian Armed Forces[521]
Taliban[522][523][524]
PakistanPakistan Armed Forces[525][526]Arabian peninsula-based opponentsYemenYemeni Armed Forces[151]
Saudi ArabiaArmed Forces of Saudi Arabia[citation needed]
BahrainBahrain Defence Force[citation needed]
KuwaitKuwaiti Armed Forces[citation needed]
OmanSultan of Oman’s Armed Forces[citation needed]
QatarQatar Armed Forces[citation needed]
United Arab EmiratesUnion Defence Force (UAE)[citation needed]
al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula[151]
Houthis[527]West Africa-based opponents

NigeriaNigerian Armed Forces[160]
NigerNiger Armed Forces[528]
ChadChadian Armed Forces[529]
CameroonCameroonian Armed Forces[528]
BeninBenin Armed Forces[528]

Southeast Asia-based opponents
IndonesiaIndonesian National Armed Forces[530]
MalaysiaMalaysian Armed Forces[530]
BurmaTatmadaw[530]
PhilippinesArmed Forces of the Philippines[531][532][533]
SingaporeSingapore Armed Forces[530]
ThailandRoyal Thai Armed Forces[530]

Turkey-based opponents
TurkeyTurkish Armed Forces[534]

American-led Coalition to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[edit]

Airstrikes in Syria by 24 September 2014

The Global Coalition to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Daesh), also referred to as the Counter-ISIL Coalition or Counter-DAESH Coalition,[535] is a US-led group of nations and non-state actors that have committed to “work together under a common, multifaceted, and long-term strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL/Daesh”. According to a joint statement issued by 59 national governments and the European Union, participants in the Counter-ISIL Coalition are focused on multiple lines of effort:[536]

  1. Supporting military operations, capacity building, and training;
  2. Stopping the flow of foreign terrorist fighters;
  3. Cutting off ISIL/Daesh’s access to financing and funding;
  4. Addressing associated humanitarian relief and crises; and
  5. Exposing ISIL/Daesh’s true nature (ideological delegitimisation).

Operation Inherent Resolve is the operational name given by the US to military operations against ISIL and Syrian al-Qaeda affiliates.Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF–OIR) is co-ordinating the military portion of the response.

The following multi-national organisations are part of the Counter-ISIL Coalition:[536]
 European Union – declared to be part, most members are participating;[536]
 NATO – all 28 members are taking part;
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf or GCC – all six current members and the two pending members, Jordan and Morocco, are taking part.

Military operations in or over Iraq and/or Syria
airstrikes, air support, and ground forces performing training
Supplying military equipment to opposition forces
within Iraq and/or Syria in co-operation with EU/NATO/partners
Humanitarian and other contributions
to identified coalition objectives
NATO members:

CCASG members:

Other:

  •  Australia[537]
  •  New Zealand(humanitarian aid and Iraqi Army training)
  •  Singapore[554] (announced)

Part of the anti-ISIL coalition engaged in anti-ISIL military operations within their own borders[536]

Note: Listed countries in this box may also be supplying military and humanitarian aid, and contributing to group objectives in other ways.

NATO members: (also EU members except Albania)

 European Union members (not in NATO)

Other:

  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina[560]

Note: These countries may also be supplying humanitarian aid and contributing to group objectives in other ways.

NATO members: (who are also EU members, except Iceland)

 European Union members (not in NATO)

CCASG members:

Other

Other state opponents[edit]

 Iran[563][564] – ground troops, training and air power (see Iranian intervention in Iraq)

 Russia[565][566] – arms supplier to Iraqi and Syrian governments. In June 2014, the Iraqi army received Russian Sukhoi Su-25 and Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft to combat the Islamic State.[567] Security operations within state borders in 2015.[568][569]

 Azerbaijan[570][571] – security operations within state borders

 Pakistan – Military deployment over Saudi Arabia-Iraq border. Arresting ISIL figures in Pakistan.[572][573][574]

Other non-state opponents[edit]

 Arab League—coordinating member response[575]
al-Qaeda[576]

AfghanistanTaliban[578]
Flag of Hamas.svgHamas[579]
Kurdistan Workers’ Party—ground troops in Iraqi Kurdistan and in Syrian Kurdistan[580]
Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan—ground troops in Iraqi Kurdistan[580]
Houthis—Shia faction in Yemen, fighting for control of the country[527]

Al-Qaeda[edit]

Al-Nusra Front is a branch of al-Qaeda operating in Syria. Al-Nusra launched many attacks and bombings, mostly against targets affiliated with or supportive of the Syrian government.[581] There were media reports that many of al-Nusra’s foreign fighters had left to join al-Baghdadi’s ISIL.[582]

In February 2014, after continued tensions, al-Qaeda publicly disavowed any relations with ISIL,[583] but ISIL and al-Nusra Front are still able to occasionally cooperate with each other when they fight against the Syrian government.[584][585][586]Quartz’s managing edtior Bobby Ghosh wrote:

The two groups share a nihilistic worldview, a loathing for modernity, and for the West. They subscribe to the same perverted interpretations of Islam. Other common traits include a penchant for suicide attacks, and sophisticated exploitation of the internet and social media. Like ISIL, several Al Qaeda franchises are interested in taking and holding territory; AQAP has been much less successful at it. The main differences between Al Qaeda and ISIL are largely political—and personal. Over the past decade, Al Qaeda has twice embraced ISIL (and its previous manifestations) as brothers-in-arms.[587]

Supporters[edit]

Iraq and Syria nationals[edit]

According to Reuters, 90% of ISIL’s fighters in Iraq are Iraqi, and 70% of its fighters in Syria are Syrian. The article, citing “jihadist ideologues” as the source, stated that the group has 40,000 fighters and 60,000 supporters across its two primary strongholds in Iraq and Syria.[588]

Foreign nationals[edit]

According to a report to the UN Security Council filed in late March 2015, 22,000 foreign fighters from 100 nations have travelled to Syria and Iraq, most to support ISIL. It warned that Syria and Iraq had become a “finishing school for extremists”.[589] In mid-2014, ISIL’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had issued a call, “Rush O Muslims to your state …”.[590]

A UN report from May 2015 shows that 25,000 “foreign terrorist fighters” from 100 countries have joined “Islamist” groups, many of them working for ISIL or al-Qaeda.[591]

Groups with expressions of support[edit]

One source (Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC)) has identified 60 jihadist groups in 30 countries that have pledged allegiance or support to ISIL as of mid-November 2014. Many of these groups were previously affiliated with al-Qaeda, indicating a shift in global jihadist leadership toward ISIL.[592]

Memberships of the following groups have declared support for ISIL, either fully or in part.

Military and resources

Military activity of ISIL
Emblem of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.png

The Seal of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Country Main:
 Iraq
Libya Libya
 Nigeria
 Syria

Size In Iraq and Syria
200,000[17] (Kurdish claims)
70,000 (Russian military estimate)[18]
100,000[19] (Jihadist claim)
20,000–31,000 [20] (CIA estimate)Outside Iraq and Syria
1,000[21]–2,000[22] (In Egypt)
1,300–8,000 (In Libya)[23][24]
1,000 (In Algeria)[25][not in citation given]
4,200+ (In Jordan)[26]
3,000 (In Turkey)[27]
300+ (In Afghanistan)[28]
12,500–21,000 (In Pakistan)[29][better source needed]
~1,000 (in Yemen)[6][30]
1,000–4,000 (In Europe)[15][16]
7,000–10,000 (In West Africa)[31][32]Estimated total:53,000–258,000
Headquarters Ar-Raqqah
Engagements International campaign against ISIL

Iraqi insurgency

Syrian Civil War

Second Libyan Civil War

Sinai insurgency

List of wars and battles involving ISILYemeni Civil War (2015)

Commanders
Current
commander
Abu Suleiman al-Naser
(Current Head of Military Council)[33]

Insignia
Black Standard(variant) AQMI Flag.svg

The military of ISIL is the fighting force of the rebel group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The total force size has been estimated from tens of thousands to over two hundred thousand. ISIL’s armed forces grew quickly during 2014. The ISIL military, including groups incorporated into it in 2014, openly operates and controls territory in Iraq, Syria, multiple cities in Libya, and Nigeria.[9][10] It also has made border clashes and incursions into Lebanon, Iran, and Jordan. ISIL-linked groups operate in Algeria, Pakistan,[8] the Philippines,[11][12] and in West Africa (Cameroon, Niger, and Chad).[9] In January 2015, ISIL was also confirmed to have a military presence in Afghanistan[7] and in Yemen.[6] Additionally, in early February 2015, it was reported that ISIL was smuggling fighters into the European Union, by disguising them as civilian refugees.[15] An ISIL representative said that ISIL had successfully smuggled 4,000 fighters, and that the smuggled fighters were planning attacks in Europe to retaliate for the airstrikes carried out against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria. However, experts believe that the ISIL claim of 4,000 was exaggerated to boost their stature and spread fear, although they acknowledged that some of the Western countries are aware of the smuggling.[16] A significant number of ISIL fighters are from outside Iraq and Syria.

Their military is based on mobile foot militant units using light vehicles such as gun equipped pick-up trucks (technicals), motorbikes and buses for fast advances. They also use artillery, tanks and armored vehicles captured from the Iraqi and Syrian Armies. It is alleged that the ISIL military had gained control of 3 aircraft from the Syrian Army and are flying them over Syria, although two of these were reportedly shot down by Syria.

ISIL has a long history of using truck and car bombs, suicide bombers, and IEDs. They have also deployed chemical weapons in Iraq and Syrian Kurdistan. Other terror tactics include genocide, mass executions (including beheadings), psychological operations through sophisticated propaganda, widespread torture of prisoners, and organized sexual violence and slavery.

Command structure[edit]

According to the Institute for the Study of War, ISIL’s 2013 annual report reveals a metrics-driven military command, which is “a strong indication of a unified, coherent leadership structure that commands from the top down”.[35] Middle East Forum‘s Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi said, “They are highly skilled in urban guerrilla warfare while the new Iraqi Army simply lacks tactical competence.”[36]

Little is known about the military command structure of ISIL. Sources indicate that Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (Deputy Leader in Iraq – Killed in Action) was an Iraqi Army General and Abu Ali al-Anbari (Deputy Leader in Syria) was also an Iraqi Army Major General, both under the Saddam Hussein government. Georgian born fighter Abu Omar al-Shishani is a prominent figure in the ISIL military and it has been speculated that he may have become the military chief for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant following the death of Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Bilawi al-Anbari in Mosul in June 2014.[37] Reports indicate that the military is organized into brigades such as a female unit tasked with policing religious laws.[38] According to battle reports ISIL often operates in small mobile fighting units.

ISIL’s fighters are reportedly organised into seven branches: infantry, snipers, air defence, special forces, artillery forces, the “army of adversity”, and the Caliphate Army. This force structure is largely replicated in each of its designated provinces, with the most skilled fighters and military strategists in each area serving in the special forces unit, which is not allowed to redeploy to other provinces. Parallel to this structure is the Caliphate Army, which is directed by ISIL’s central command rather than its provincial leadership. Made up overwhelmingly of foreign fighters, it is deployed to assist in battles across ISIL controlled territory.[39]

The group also operates outside areas it largely controls using a cell structure. An ISIL-linked senior militant commander inSinai told Reuters, “They [ISIL] teach us how to carry out operations. We communicate through the internet, … they teach us how to create secret cells, consisting of five people. Only one person has contact with other cells. They are teaching us how to attack security forces, the element of surprise. They told us to plant bombs then wait 12 hours so that the man planting the device has enough time to escape from the town he is in.”[40]

Troops[edit]

Islamic State fighters seen here in Anbar province, Iraq.

Troops in Iraq and Syria[edit]

In June 2014, ISIL had at least 4,000 fighters in Iraq,[41] and the CIA estimated in September 2014 that it had 20,000–31,500 fighters in Iraq and Syria.[42] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that the force numbers around 80,000–100,000 total (up to 50,000 in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq).[43][44] Reuters quoted “jihadist ideologues” as claiming that ISIL has 40,000 fighters and 60,000 supporters,[19] while a Kurdish leader estimated in November 2014 that ISIL’s military had 200,000 fighters.[17]

Some Syrian rebel factions have defected to ISIL, including the 1,000 soldier strong Dawud Brigade in July 2014.[45] In addition to volunteers and jihadists, ISIL is known for forcing other rebel groups, and conscripting individuals, to submit to and fight for ISIL. Many reports say troops and equipment move between various parts of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon as tactical needs arise.

Foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria[edit]

There are many foreign fighters in ISIL’s ranks. In June 2014, The Economist reported that “ISIS may have up to 6,000 fighters in Iraq and 3,000–5,000 in Syria, including perhaps 3,000 foreigners; nearly a thousand are reported to hail fromChechnya and perhaps 500 or so more from France, Britain and elsewhere in Europe.”[46] Chechen leader Abu Omar al-Shishani, for example, was made commander of the northern sector of ISIL in Syria in 2013.[47][48] According to The New York Times, in September 2014 there were more than 2,000 Europeans and 100 Americans among ISIL’s foreign fighters.[49] As of mid-September 2014, around 1,000 Turks had joined ISIL,[50] and as of October 2014, 2,400–3,000 Tunisians had joined the group.[51] An ISIL deserter alleged that foreign recruits were treated with less respect than Arabic-speaking Muslims by ISIL commanders and were placed in suicide units if they lacked otherwise useful skills.[52] According to a UN report, an estimated 15,000 fighters from nearly 70 countries have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join militant groups, including ISIL.[53]

Despite thousands of foreign volunteers, Reuters has stated that 90 percent of ISIL’s fighters in Iraq are Iraqi and 70 percent of its fighters in Syria are Syrian.[19]

Number of nationals fighting for ISIL[edit]

Note List does not include nationals of Iraq and Syria (except for nationals of Iraqi Kurdistan).
Note According to jihadist ideologues, 90% of its fighters in Iraq are Iraqi and 70% of its fighters in Syria are Syrian.[19]

Allegiance to ISIL from groups outside Iraq and Syria[edit]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of some of the military equipment used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Infantry weapons[edit]

Assault rifles[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
AKM Assault Rifle  Soviet Union Akm rifle fullstock.jpg Captured from Syrian and Iraqi Army
AK-47 Selective fire Assault Rifle 8000+[1]  Soviet Union AK47.jpg Most commonly used
Type 56 assault rifle Assault Rifle  China Norinco type 56.jpg Captured from Syrian Army
Zastava M70 Assault Rifle  Yugoslavia M70AB2.jpg Captured from Iraqi Army and Police
M16 rifle Assault Rifle 1000+[1]  United States M16a4lh6.jpg Captured from Iraqi Army & Police; manufactured by FN and Colt
[2]
M4A1
SOPMOD (Limited)[3]
Carbine Rifle  United States M4A1 ACOG.jpg Captured from Iraqi Army & Police
H&K G36[3] Assault Rifle  Germany Domok g36.JPG
Steyr AUG Assault Rifle  Austria AUG A1 508mm 04.jpg

Sniper rifles[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
Dragunov SVD Designated marksman rifle 3000+[1]  Soviet Union SVD Dragunov.jpg
PSL/FPK[4] Designated marksman rifle  Romania Psl sniper rifle.jpeg
M14 EBR (Limited) Designated marksman rifle  United States PEO M14 EBR.jpg Captured from Iraqi Army [5](8:40 mins) [6]
Mosin Nagant Sniper rifle  Soviet Union Mosin pu hungarian M52.jpg Equipped withPU, PE, and modified PSO-1scopes [7][8]
KSVK 12.7 Anti-materiel rifle  Russia KSVK1.jpg
M99 Anti-materiel rifle [1]  People’s Republic of China

Machine guns[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
RPD Light machine gun [1]  Soviet Union LMG-RPD-44.jpg
RPK Light machine gun [1]  Soviet Union Machine Gun RPK.jpg
PKM Squad automatic weapon [1]  Soviet Union 7,62 KK PKM Helsinki 2012.JPG Most common belt-fed machine gun used
M249 light machine gun[9] Squad automatic weapon  United States PEO M249 Para ACOG.jpg
FN Minimi Light machine gun  Belgium M249 FN MINIMI DA-SC-85-11586 c1.jpg Captured from Iraqi Army & Police
PKP Pecheneg Light machine gun  Russia PKP Pecheneg Conscript day in Moscow 2011.jpg Mostly from black markets or Chechen separatists.
NSV machine gun Heavy machine gun [1]  Soviet Union 12,7 NSV Turku 3.JPG
DShK Heavy machine gun [1]  Soviet Union Doushka desert.jpg

Pistols[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
Beretta 92 Semi-automatic pistol  Italy Beretta 92 FS.gif Captured from Iraqi Army & Police
Glock 17 Semi-automatic pistol  Austria Glock17.jpg Captured from Iraqi Army & Police
HS2000 Semi-automatic pistol  Croatia Pištolj HS 2000.jpg Captured from Iraqi Army & Police [2]
Makarov PM Semi-automatic pistol  Soviet Union 9-мм пистолет Макарова с патронами.jpg
Browning Hi-Power[2] Semi-automatic pistol  Belgium Browning HP West German Police.jpg

Explosives, anti-tank weapons, and anti-aircraft launchers[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
IED Improvised explosive device Islamic State IED Baghdad from munitions.jpg Most commonly used
M62 grenade Hand grenade  United States
M-67Grenade.jpg
Multiple caches[10]
Milkor MGL Grenade launcher  South Africa Milkor GL.jpg
RPG-7 Rocket propelled grenade launcher  Soviet Union RPG-7 detached.jpg Commonly used
M40 recoilless rifle Recoilless rifle  United States Recoilless-rifle-beyt-hatotchan-1.jpg Possibly rarely used
M79 Osa[11] Anti-tank rocket launcher  Yugoslavia M79-OSA.jpg
FN-6[12] MANPADS  China Reportedly used in 3 October 2014 in Baijito shoot down an IraqiMi‑35M helicopter.[12]
FIM-92 Stinger[13] MANPADS  United States FIM-92 (JASDF).jpg
SA-7 Grail[12] MANPADS  Soviet Union SA-7.jpg “limited, aging stock”
SA-16 Gimlet[13] MANPADS  Soviet Union IGLA-S MANPADS at IDELF-2008.jpg
SA-24 Grinch[13] MANPADS  Soviet Union IGLA-S MANPADS at IDELF-2008.jpg
BGM-71 TOW[14] Wire-guided anti-tank missile  United States Hires 090509-A-4842R-001a.jpg
MILAN Wire-guided anti-tank missile  France MILAN-VBLB.jpg
HJ-8 Wire-guided anti-tank missile  China BaktarShikan3.JPG
9M133 Kornet Wire-guided anti-tank missile  Russia 9M133 Kornet.JPG

Vehicles[edit]

Logistics and utility vehicles[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
Nimr Infantry Mobility Vehicle small amount  United Arab Emirates Lebanese airborne nimr4x4.png Captured from theLibyan National Armyin takeover of Derna
HMMWV Light Utility Vehicle 2300+[15][16][17][18][19]  United States US Navy 060322-N-5438H-018 U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the Bravo Battery 3rd Battalion 320th Field Artillery Regiment along with Iraq Army soldiers from the 1st Battalion 1st Brigade 4th Division perform a routine patrol.jpg Many captured
Ain Jaria-1 Infantry Mobility Vehicle dozens  Poland Dzik APC transports Iraqi army soldiers.jpg
Cougar MRAP Light Utility Vehicle unknown United StatesUnited States 070225-M-4393H-041.jpg
Technicals improvised fighting vehicles varies ISIL Ali Hassan al-Jaber Brigade.jpg
M939 Truck 6×6 truck unknown United StatesUnited States US Marine Corps 030224-M-XT622-034 USMC M923 (6X6) 5-ton cargo truck heads a convoy departing Camp Matilda, Kuwait crop.jpg Capture in Camp Saqlawiyah andCamp Speicher
Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement 6×6 truck 300+ United StatesUnited States MTVR.jpg Captured during theFall of Mosul.

Tanks and armored fighting vehicles[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
BRDM-2 Amphibious Armoured Scout Car a few hundred  Soviet Union BRDM 2.jpg Captured from the Syrian Army
BMP-1 Armored personnel carrier 20[20]  Soviet Union Bmp-1-DMSC9112086 JPG.jpg Captured from the armies of Iraq and Syria
MRAP Armored personnel carrier 13[20]  United States Caimanrollover.JPG Captured from the Iraqi Army and Police
M1117 Armored Security Vehicle Armored personnel carrier 47[20]  United States M1117 Armored Security Vehicle.jpg Captured from the Iraqi Army and Police
T-55/55MV/AM/AMV Main battle tank 30+[21][22]  Soviet Union T-55 4.jpg Captured from the Iraqi Army and Libyan militias
MT-LB[23] Armored personnel carrier ~50  Soviet Union Amna Sur 02.JPG
T-62M/K Main battle tank 100+  Soviet Union T-62 BRL.jpg
T-72/72M/A/AV /TURMS-T/M1 TURMS-T Main battle tank 5 to 10[21]  Soviet Union T-72 NPA.JPG
M113 APC Armored personnel carrier unknown number  United States US M113 in Samarra Iraq.jpg Captured from the Iraqi Army[21]
M1A1M Abrams Main battle tank 1-2 (rumored)[21]  United States M1 Abrams tanks in Iraqi service, Jan. 2011.jpg Captured from the Iraqi Army[21]

Artillery[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
ZSU-23-4 Shilka[13] Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun small numbers  Soviet Union ZSU-23-4-Camp-Pendleton.jpg Captured from Syrian army
2S1 Gvozdika Self-propelled artillery 3 (est.)[20]  Soviet Union M1974-sp-howitzer-19910304.jpg Captured from the Syrian army
M198 Howitzer Towed howitzer Up to 52[24]  United States U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf War (1991) 001.jpg
BM-21 Grad[20] Multiple Rocket Launcher  Soviet Union BM 21.JPG
ZU-23-2[20] Towed Anti-Aircraft Twin Autocannon  Soviet Union Zu-23 30 M1-3 - InnovationDay2013part1-40.jpg
AZP S-60[13] Anti-Aircraft Gun  Soviet Union S-60-57mm-hatzerim-1.jpg
Type 59-1[20] Field gun  Soviet Union Iraqi Type 59 130 mm field gun.JPEG
122-mm howitzer D-30[20] Field gun  Soviet Union Хаубица Д-30 122мм.jpg
BM-14 Multiple Rocket Launcher  Soviet Union 16-tube multiple launch rocket.JPG Captured from Syrian and Libyan National Army.
Scud Tactical ballistic missiles 1  Soviet Union
SCUD 2.JPG
Unknown number of captured Iraqi Scuds

Aircraft[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Photo Notes
MiG-21 Fighter Aircraft 1[25][26]  Soviet Union MiG-21PFM-Egypt-1982.jpg Originally 3. The Syrian Air Force claimed to have shot down two of them.[27]
Mohajer 4 Drone and others Drone(UAV) 6+[28][29][30][31][32]  Iran Some were captured from the Syrian Army and Iran. ISIL demonstrated the use of a reconnaissance drone in “Clanking of the Swords IV” (June 2014) and in October 2014 over Kobanî in the John Cantlie video and also in the Tabqah Air Base video. The three Drones in Syria were shot down over Kobanî by Kurdish forces defending the city,[33][34]and by the Syrian Army over an airbase.[32]

Aircraft[edit]

When ISIL captured Mosul Airport in June 2014, it seized a number of UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and cargo planes that were stationed there.[114][115] According to Peter Beaumont of The Guardian, it seemed unlikely that ISIL would be able to deploy them.[116]

ISIL also captured fighter aircraft in Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported in October 2014 that former Iraqi pilots were training ISIL militants to fly captured Syrian jets. Witnesses reported that MiG-21 and MiG-23 jets were flying over al-Jarrah military airport, but the US Central Command said it was not aware of flights by ISIL-operated aircraft in Syria or elsewhere.[117] On 21 October, the Syrian Air Force claimed that it had shot down two of these aircraft over al-Jarrah air base while they were landing.[118]

Propaganda and social media[edit]

The logo of al-Hayat Media Centre, copying the style of Al Jazeera‘s logo.

ISIL is known for its extensive and effective use of propaganda.[277][644] It uses a version of the Muslim Black Standard flag and developed an emblem which has clear symbolic meaning in the Muslim world.[645]

In November 2006, shortly after the group’s rebranding as the “Islamic State of Iraq”, the group established the Al-Furqan Foundation for Media Production, which produces CDs, DVDs, posters, pamphlets, and web-related propaganda products and official statements.[646] It began to expand its media presence in 2013, with the formation of a second media wing, Al-I’tisam Media Foundation, in March[647][648]and the Ajnad Foundation for Media Production, specializing in Nasheeds and audio content, in August.[649] In mid 2014, ISIL established the Al-Hayat Media Center, which targets Western audiences and produces material in English, German, Russian and French.[650][651]When ISIL announced its expansion to other countries in November 2014 it established media departments for the new branches, and its media apparatus ensured that the new branches follow the same models it uses in Iraq and Syria.[652]

Al Furqan logo

In December 2014, FBI Director James Comey stated that ISIL’s “propaganda is unusually slick. They are broadcasting… in something like 23 languages”.[653]

From July 2014, al-Hayat began publishing a digital magazine called Dabiq, in a number of different languages including English. According to the magazine, its name is taken from the town of Dabiq in northern Syria, which is mentioned in a hadith about Armageddon.[654] The group also runs a radio network called Al-Bayan, which airs bulletins in Arabic, Russian and English and provides coverage of its activities in Iraq, Syria and Libya.[655]

ISIL’s use of social media has been described by one expert as “probably more sophisticated than [that of] most US companies”.[277][656] It regularly takes advantage of social media, particularly Twitter, to distribute its message by organising hashtag campaigns, encouraging Tweets on popular hashtags, and utilising software applications that enable ISIL propaganda to be distributed automatically via its supporters’ accounts.[657][658] Another comment is that “ISIS puts more emphasis on social media than other jihadi groups… They have a very coordinated social media presence.”[659] In August 2014, Twitter administrators shut down a number of accounts associated with ISIL. ISIL recreated and publicised new accounts the next day, which were also shut down by Twitter administrators.[660] The group has attempted to branch out into alternative social media sites, such as Quitter, Friendica and Diaspora; Quitter and Friendica, however, almost immediately worked to remove ISIL’s presence from their sites.[661]

The release of videos and photographs of beheadings, shootings, caged prisoners being burnt alive or submerged gradually until drowned—has been called “the hallmark” of ISIL.[662] Journalist Abdel Bari Atwan describes ISIL’s media content as part of a “systematically applied policy”. The escalating violence of its killings “guarantees” the attention of the media and public. Following the plan of al-Qaeda strategist Abu Bakr Naji, ISIL hopes the “savagery” will lead to a period of “vexation and exhaustion” among its Western enemies, where the US will be drawn into a direct fight with ISIS, and lacking the will to fight a sustained war will be “worn down” militarily.[233]

Along with images of brutality, ISIL presents itself as “an emotionally attractive place where people ‘belong’, where everyone is a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’. A kind of slang, melding adaptations or shortenings of Islamic terms with street language, is evolving among the English-language fraternity on social media platforms in an attempt to create a ‘jihadi cool’.”[233] The “most potent psychological pitch” of ISIL media is the promise of heavenly reward to dead jihadist fighters. Frequently posted in their media are dead jihadists smiling faces, their ISIS ‘salute’ of a ‘right-hand index finger pointing heavenward’, and testimonies of their happy widows.[233]

ISIL has also attempted to present a more “rational argument” in its series of “press release/discussions” performed by hostage/captive John Cantlie and posted on YouTube. In one “Cantlie presentation”, various current and former US officials were quoted, such as US President Barack Obama and former CIA Officer Michael Scheuer.[663] In April 2015 hackers claiming allegiance to ISIL managed to black out 11 global television channels belonging to TV5Monde for several hours, and take over the company’s social media pages for nearly a day.[664] U.S. cybersecurity company FireEye later reported that they believed the cyber-attack was actually carried out by a Russian hacking group, calledAPT28, with alleged links to the Russian government.

Finances of ISIL

The finances of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have come into focus as many countries wage war against the militant group.

According to a 2015 study by the Financial Action Task Force, ISIL’s five primary sources of revenue are as followed (listed in order of significance):

  • proceeds from the occupation of territory (including control of banks, oil and gas reservoirs, taxation, extortion, and robbery of economic assets)
  • kidnapping for ransom
  • private donations from Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, often disguised as meant for “humanitarian charity.” Allegations have been made that the Saudi government has directly supported ISIL, but experts remain uncertain, especially considering the Saudi state’s own conflicts with the group.[1][2]
  • material support provided by foreign fighters
  • fundraising through modern communication networks[3]

In 2014 the RAND Corporation analyzed ISIL’s funding sources by studying 200 documents — personal letters, expense reports and membership rosters — captured from the Islamic State of Iraq (which included al-Qaeda in Iraq) by US Forces in Iraq between 2005 and 2010.[4] It found that over this period, outside donations amounted to only 5% of the group’s operating budgets, with the rest being raised within Iraq.[4] In the time period studied, cells were required to send up to 20% of the income generated from kidnapping, extortion rackets and other activities to the next level of the group’s leadership. Higher-ranking commanders would then redistribute the funds to provincial or local cells which were in difficulties or which needed money to conduct attacks.[4] The records show that the Islamic State of Iraq depended on members from Mosul for cash, which the leadership used to provide additional funds to struggling militants in Diyala, Salahuddin and Baghdad.[4]

In mid-2014, Iraqi intelligence obtained information from an ISIL operative which revealed that the organisation had assets worth US$2 billion,[5] making it the richest jihadist group in the world.[6] About three-quarters of this sum is said to be represented by assets seized after the group captured Mosul in June 2014; this includes possibly up to US$429 million looted from Mosul’s central bank, along with additional millions and a large quantity of gold bullion stolen from a number of other banks in Mosul.[7][8] However, doubt was later cast on whether ISIL was able to retrieve anywhere near that sum from the central bank,[9] and even on whether the bank robberies had actually occurred.[10]

Since 2012, ISIL has produced annual reports giving numerical information on its operations, somewhat in the style of corporate reports, seemingly in a bid to encourage potential donors.[11][12]

A 2015 analysis also contends that ISIL’s financial strength is in a large part due to “fanatical spending discipline”.

Oil revenues[edit]

Pictures show damage to theGbiebe oil refinery in Syria following airstrikes by US and coalition forces.

Exporting oil from oilfields captured by ISIL has brought in tens of millions of dollars for the group.[14][15][16] One US Treasury official estimated that ISIL earns US$1 million a day from the export of oil. Much of the oil is sold illegally in Turkey.[17] In 2014, Dubai-based energy analysts put the combined oil revenue from ISIL’s Iraqi-Syrian production as high as US$3 million per day.[18]

In 2014, the majority of the group’s funding came from the production and sale of energy; it controlled around 300 oil wells in Iraq alone. At its peak, it operated 350 oil wells in Iraq, but lost 45 to foreign airstrikes. It had captured 60% of Syria’s total production capacity. About one fifth of its total capacity had been in operation. ISIL earned US$2.5 million a day by selling 50,000–60,000 barrels of oil daily.[17][19]Foreign sales rely on a long-standing black market to export via Turkey. Many of the smugglers and corrupt Turkish border guards who helped Saddam Hussein to evade sanctions are helping ISIL to export oil and import cash.[5][19][20]

In April 2015, after the fall of Tikrit, ISIL apparently lost control of three large oil fields, which will have significantly degraded its ability to generate income from selling oil.[21] Air strikes, by the US-led coalition fighting ISIL, in the wake of the 2015 Paris attacks, destroyed hundreds of trucks the group had been using to transport its oil.[22][23]

Other energy sales include selling electric power from captured power plants in northern Syria; some of this electricity is reportedly sold back to the Syrian government.[24]

Sale of antiques and artifacts[edit]

Sales of artifacts may be the second largest source of funding for ISIL.[19] More than a third of Iraq’s important sites are under ISIL’s control. It looted the 9th century BC grand palace of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II at Kalhu (Nimrud). Tablets, manuscripts and cuneiforms were sold, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Stolen artifacts are smuggled into Turkey and Jordan. Abdulamir al-Hamdani, an archaeologist from SUNY Stony Brook, has said that ISIL is “looting… the very roots of humanity, artefacts from the oldest civilizations in the world”.[19]

Taxation and extortion[edit]

ISIL extracts wealth through taxation and extortion.[17][25] Regarding taxation, Christians and foreigners are at times required to pay a tax known as jizya. In addition, the group routinely practices extortion, by demanding money from truck drivers and threatening to blow up businesses, for example. Robbing banks and gold shops has been another source of income.[26] The Iraq government indirectly finances ISIL, as it continues to pay the salaries of the thousands of government employees who continue to work in areas controlled by ISIL, which then confiscates as much as half of those Iraqi government employees’ pay.[27] Policemen, teachers, and soldiers who had worked for religiously inappropriate regimes are reportedly allowed to continue work if they pay for a repentance ID card that has to be annually renewed.[13]

ISIL has announced by video a new currency, the Islamic Dinar and a gold dinar, but the US dollar is the de facto currency used in its zones.[citation needed]

Illegal drug trade[edit]

According to Victor Ivanov, head of the Russian anti-drug agency, Islamic State, like Boko Haram, makes money through trafficking Afghan heroin through its territory.[28] The annual value of this business may be up to $1 billion.[28]

Agriculture[edit]

The acreage between Tigris and Euphrates has produced half of Syria’s annual wheat crop and a third of Iraq’s. It is able to produce crops worth possibly US$200 million per year if properly managed.[13]

Donations by Saudi Arabia and Gulf states[edit]

Website The Daily Beast in June 2014 accused wealthy donors in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar of having funded ISIL in the past.[29][30] Iran and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have accused the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding the group.[31][29][32] Ahead of the pro-Iraq, anti-ISIL conference held in Paris on 15 September 2014, France’s foreign minister acknowledged that a number of countries at the table (the Saudis, Qatar and Kuwait were present) had “very probably” financed ISIL’s advances.[33] According to The Atlantic, ISIL may have been a major part of Saudi ArabianBandar bin Sultan‘s covert-ops strategy in Syria.[34]

There are sources, however, that stress that there is no evidence that ISIL has direct support from the Saudi government, and that such support would contradict the Saudi state’s other actions regarding the group.[35][36][32] Saudi Arabia considers ISIL an enemy that has carried out attacks on their soil. They have worked openly with the United States in the arming other rebel groups the US hopes will fight ISIL and retake territory in Syria and Iraq.[1][2] Saudi Arabia has also developed its own counter-propaganda efforts in response to ISIL’s recruitment.[37]

Unregistered charity organisations act as fronts to pass funds to ISIL; they disguise fundings for ISIL’s operations as donations for “humanitarian charity”. As they use aliases on Facebook’s WhatsApp and Kik, the involved individuals and organisations are difficult to trace. Saudi Arabia therefore has imposed a blanket ban on unauthorised donations destined for Syria in order to stop such funding.[19]

Allegations of Qatari support[edit]

The State of Qatar has long been accused of acting as a conduit for the flow of funds to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. While there is no proof that the Qatari government is behind the movement of funds from the gas-rich nation to ISIL, it has been criticized for not doing enough to stem the flow of financing. Private donors within Qatar, sympathetic to the aims of radical groups such as al-Nusra Front and ISIL, are believed to be channeling their resources to support these organisations.[38][39] According to the U.S. Treasury Department, a number of terrorist financiers have been operating in Qatar. Qatari citizen Abd al Rahman al Nuaymi has served as an interlocutor between Qatari donors and leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Nuaymi reportedly oversaw the transfer of US$2 million per month to AQI over a period of time. Nuaymi is also one of several of Qatar-based al-Qaeda financiers sanctioned by the U.S.Treasury in recent years. According to some reports, U.S. officials believe that the largest portion of private donations supporting ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked groups now comes from Qatar rather than Saudi Arabia.[40]

In August 2014, a German minister Gerd Müller accused Qatar of having links to ISIL, stating “You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS (ISIL) troops. The keyword there is Qatar”. Qatari foreign minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah reiterated this stance when he stated: “Qatar does not support extremist groups, including [ISIL], in any way. We are repelled by their views, their violent methods and their ambitions.”[41][42][43][44]

Oil production and smuggling in ISIL

Oil production and smuggling is the major revenue maker for the self-declared state of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS),[1][2] its product being termed “the ‘black gold’ feeding the ‘black flag'”.[2] Oil extracted from fields controlled by ISIL is mainly distributed within most its territory, but also smuggled to surrounding states at below market prices.

While oil products, petrol and mazout, are the backbone of the economy of ISIL-controlled areas with mazout being the power source for generators for electricity,[2] not all energy production is provided by oil. Hydroelectric power plants have been captured in northern Syria, so the Tabqa Dam, the Baath Dam, and, from 2012-2015, the Tishrin Dam.[3] Some electric power has been sold back to the Syrian government.[4] The Syrian government is also reported to send technicians to support and maintain ISIL-controlled gas power plants, and, in return, receives electricity.

Oil as a source of revenue for ISIL[edit]

Estimates of the income ISIL derives from its oil operations vary. In 2014, Dubai-based energy analysts put the combined oil revenue from ISIL’s Iraqi-Syrian production as high as US$3 million per day.[6] An estimate from October 2015 indicates the production to be about 34,000-40,000 bpd that is sold at US$20–45 at the wellhead generating an income of US$1.5 million per day.[2] Another 2015 estimate sets the monthly income as high as US$40 million.[7] Various other reports indicated in 2015 that ISIS obtained 1.1 to 1.5 million dollars a day from selling of oil and its products.[8][9][10] These estimates, however, may have to be revised due to increased air strikes targeting oil production and distribution at the end of 2015.[11] Thus an estimate for March 2016 was a monthly income of about US$20 million.[12]

Oil fields under ISIS control[edit]

In 2013 ISIL moved operations from the north of Syria to its east in recognition of the importance of the oil fields for its operations, among the fields in the Deir Ezzor region such as the al-Omar, the Deiro and the al-Tanak fields, and outside this region, the al-Jabsah fields and al Tabqa fields.[13] Deir Ezzor oil field is located in Deir ez-Zor province that produces 34,000-40,000 barrels a day. al-Omar and al-Tanak are top producing and beneficial oil fields. Quality of Petroleum determine price of each barrel and is sold at the wellhead 25 to 45 dollars.[10] al-Omar is an extensive oil and its oil is sold 45 dollars a barrel.[8][9][10]

In Iraq ISIL conquered the Ajil and Allas oil fields in northern Iraq during the Mosul campaign in 2014. These areas were later recaptured by the Iraq army.[2] Also, in north of Iraq, Qayyarah oil filed, controls by ISIS and produces 8,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil.[8] Ajil in north of Tikrit and Himiran are important ISIS-controlled oil field in Iraq.[14] ISIL has been able recruit engineers and expert personnel to manage the oil production sites. Oil production is centrally controlled by the top leadership. Until his death in May 2015, Abu Sayyaf had been the “emir” or top official for oil production[2] controlling oil production from 200-plus wells.[11]

Local distribution[edit]

ISIL makes its money at the pump where it sells its products to usually independent traders from Syria and Iraq.[13] In addition, ISIL taxes oil in the distribution system.[11] It has been estimated that there is a fleet of about 1,000 delivery trucks.[7] Oil is brought to local refineries to produce petrol and mazout.[13] Many “refineries” are just rudimentary furnaces spread along the roadsides.[15] Most of these oil products are sold within ISIL-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq by traders. Rebel-held areas in northern Syria are also receiving oil from ISIL.[13]

ISIS has several markets in Iraqi and Syrian towns and provinces. Some of the largest ISIS oil market are Manbij, Al-Bab, and Al-Qa’im.[8]

Oil smuggling[edit]

Oil smuggling to areas outside of Syria is profitable and brings contraband to Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Iran.[16] A network to smuggle oil had been in place since at least the 1990s when Saddam Hussein evaded sanctions and smuggled oil out of Iraq.[15] A report by The Guardian in 2014 suggested that corruption and bribery facilitated transport of oil from ISIL-controlled areas into surrounding areas.[16]

In 2014 it was reported that the U.S. government had put diplomatic pressure on Turkey and the Kurdish government to take more steps to curtail smuggling.[17]

In November 2015 the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev indicated to have information that some Turkish officials have a “direct financial interest” in the oil trade with ISIL,[18] an assertion rejected by Erdogan.[19] Vladimir Putin indicated that the extent of the oil smuggling had reached commercial-scale with trucks operating day and night as a “living oil pipe”.[20] Officials from the US, however, responded that in their view only a small amount of oil is smuggled into Turkey and that this is economically insignificant.[21] According to Adam Szubin, acting U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, most of the oil that leaves ISIL-controlled areas is going to places that are under control of the Syrian government.[22]

Subsequently, Turkey has been further implicated as an important recipient of smuggled oil. Thus, in January 2016 the Israeli Defence minister alleged Turkey buys oil from ISIS[23] In March 2016, an RT documentary presented documents left by retreating ISIL operatives and witness reports that also suggested a link between ISIL’s oil production and support by Turkey that, in turn, benefits from cheap oil.[24]

Arab media accused Israel of being a major buyer of oil smuggled out of the ISIL-held Syrian and Iraqi territories.[25]According to this conspiracy theory, oil is smuggled to Zakhu where Israeli and Turkish dealers would determine the price, the oil is then sent as Kurdish oil to Silopi, Turkey, and transported to Turkish ports (such as Ceyhan) and shipped to Israel.[25]

Ways of smuggling[edit]

The Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline

ISIL transfers oil in different ways out of its territory. Oil can be trucked to Turkey, refined there and be used in Turkey or transported to tankers at the ports ofCeyhan or Dortyol.[26] Oil may be sold to middlemen in northern Iraq who then mix it with legitimate oil that enters through one of many feeders the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.[26] At the end of the pipeline it is difficult to determine if some ISIS oil is present in the mix that is supposed to come from Kurdish fields.[26]

Another way of smuggling is the transport of oil to Jordan. Smugglers goes south through Al Anbar province towards Jordan.[8] In fact, Al Anbar known as a major smuggling hub in Iraq.[14] Sami Khalaf, an oil smuggler and former Iraqi intelligence officer under Saddam Hussein, said that: “We buy an oil tanker carrying around 26 to 28 tonnes [of oil] for $4,200. We sell it in Jordan for $15,000. Each smuggler takes around eight tankers a week.” Also, he added: “smugglers typically paid corrupt border officials $650 to pass through each checkpoint.”[14]

ISIL oil production as a military target[edit]

While degrading oil operations is an obvious target for military operations, the United States is reported to have refrained from using this approach out of concerns for civilian casualties and destabilizing the life of a 10 million population that depends on oil from ISIL production.[7][13][15] Also, rebel-held areas supported by the U.S. depend on ISIL oil for sustenance.[13] Further, direct hits on oil fields could lead to a natural disaster and make future use difficult.[27]

U.S. airstrike against Jeribe modular oil refinery, September 2014

Bloomberg Business reported in the fall of 2014 that U.S. airstrikes had significantly reduced ISIL oil business.[17] However, by early October 2015, Financial Timesreported that only 196 of 10,600 air strikes by U.S. led coalition forces were conducted against oil infrastructure since August 2014 and that ISIL continued a very profitable oil business generating about $1.5 million per day.[2] In late 2015 a U.S. spokesman conceded that the effectiveness of past air strikes against oil-related targets had been grossly overestimated while the importance of oil production as a revenue maker had been underestimated.[15]

When in May 2015 U.S. forces conducted a raid that killed Abu Sayyaf, detailed records of the oil operation of ISIL were obtained.[11] The recognition of the significance of oil for ISIL and insights into its operations led to a new focus in air strikes.[11] Thus, on October 21, 2015 the U.S. launched operation Operation Tidal Wave II in reference to Operation Tidal Wave in WWII in a renewed effort to reduce the ability of ISIL to fund itself through oil production.[1][28]

After the November 2015 Paris attacks the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian indicated that degradation of oil production as the “lifeblood” of ISIL is at the center of military strategy.[5] U.S. forces claimed to have destroyed at 116 fuel trucks near Deir ez-Zor by mid-November,[29] while Russian airstrikes hit about 1,000 oil tankers.[30] In an effort to reduce revenue for ISIL more oil tankers were destroyed later in the month.[31] Prior to targeted air raids, smuggling trucks had sometimes waited for weeks in queues near the oil fields to buy crude.[8] The defense ministry of Moscow released satellite images showing columns of waiting trucks near the border of Turkey.[32] After Russian air attacks against smuggling trucks, ISIS changed its system to prevent the formation of long queues.[8]

A report at the end of December 2015 indicated that ISIL was starting to have financial problems due to lower oil revenues resulting in lower salaries for foreign fighters and higher prices for electricity and oil in Raqqa.[33] A shortage of oil within ISIL-controlled territories has resulted in energy shortages with less electricity and water becoming available.[11] Also, smuggling of oil has decreased as it has become more dangerous and less lucrative.[11]

A 2016 analysis of ISIL’s response to the air strikes on the oil infrastructure indicated the development of multiple tiny makeshift refineries in oil fields under their control.[12] These micro-refineries consist of a pit to store crude and a portable metal furnace to distill it into fuel.[12] The operation is dirty and relatively inefficient but harder to destroy. According toStratfor income from oil has declined to about $20 million a month (March 2016).[12]

2015 Production rate and price in the ISIS-controlled oil fields[edit]

Below table shows oil production amount and price in important ISIS-controlled oil fields (December 2015).[8]

Oil fields Production rate (barrels per day) Price of each barrel
al-Tanak 11,000-12,000 $40
al-Omar 6,000-9,000 $45
al-Jabseh 2,500-3,000 $30
al-Tabqa 1,500-1,800 $20
al-Kharata 1,000 $30
al-Shoula 650-800 $30
Deiro 600-1,000 $30
al-Taim 400-600 $40
al-Rashid 200-300 $25

See also

Sale of antiques and artifacts[edit]

Sales of artifacts may be the second largest source of funding for ISIL, according to an article in Newsweek.[681] More than a third of Iraq’s important sites are under ISIL’s control. It looted the 9th century BC grand palace of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II at Kalhu (Nimrud). Tablets, manuscripts and cuneiforms were sold, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Stolen artifacts are smuggled into Turkey and Jordan. Abdulamir al-Hamdani, an archaeologist from SUNY Stony Brook, has said that ISIL is “looting… the very roots of humanity, artefacts from the oldest civilizations in the world”.[681]

Taxation and extortion[edit]

ISIL extracts wealth through taxation and extortion.[679] Regarding taxation, Christians and foreigners are at times required to pay a tax known as jizya. In addition, the group routinely practices extortion, by demanding money from truck drivers and threatening to blow up businesses, for example. Robbing banks and gold shops has been another source of income.[276] The Iraq government indirectly finances ISIL, as they continue to pay the salaries of the thousands of government employees who continue to work in areas controlled by ISIL, which then confiscates as much as half of those Iraqi government employees’ pay.[686]

Pictures show damage to theGbiebeoil refinery in Syria following airstrikes by US and coalition forces.

Illegal drug trade[edit]

According to Victor Ivanov, head of the Russian anti-drug agency, Islamic State, like Boko Haram, makes money through trafficking Afghan heroin through its territory.[687] The annual value of this business may be up to $1 billion.[687]

Donations[edit]

ISIL is widely reported as receiving funding from private donors in the Gulf states,[688][689] and the governments of Iraq and Iran have repeatedly accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of financing and supporting the group. Ahead of the conference of the US-led anti-ISIL coalition held in Paris in September 2014, France’s foreign minister acknowledged that a number of countries at the table had “very probably” financed ISIL’s advances.[690]

Although Iran and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding the group,[691][692] there is reportedly no evidence that this is the case.[133][692][693] However, according to The Atlantic, ISIL may have been a major part of Saudi Arabian Bandar bin Sultan‘s covert-opsstrategy in Syria.[694]

Unregistered charity organisations act as fronts to pass funds to ISIL. As they use aliases on Facebook’s WhatsApp and Kik, the individuals and organisations remain untraceable. Donations transferred to fund ISIL’s operations are disguised as “humanitarian charity”. Saudi Arabia has imposed a blanket ban on unauthorised donations destined for Syria as the only means of stopping such funding.[681]

Timeline of events[edit]

Index to main: 2013 events; 2014 events: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December; 2015 events: January,February, March, April, May, June.

May 2015[edit]

  • 1 May: The Guardian reported that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL, was recovering in a part of Mosul from severe injuries he received during a March 2015 airstrike. It was reported that due to al-Baghdadi’s incapacitation from his spinal injury, he may never be able to resume direct control of ISIL again.[695]
  • 5 May: ISIL claims that it was related to the Curtis Culwell Center attack in Garland, Texas on 3 May. The Chicago Tribune reported that there is a link between the gun used in the militant attack and the Fast and Furious U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gunwalking scandal.[696]
  • 7 May: ISIL-backed Taliban forces launched a major offensive against the north-eastern Afghan city of Kunduz, triggering a humanitarian crisis and a wave of fleeing refugees.[697]
  • 10 May: British actor Michael Enright announced by mobile phone to the Daily Mail he had volunteered to fight ISIL.[698]
  • 13 May: ISIL claimed responsibility for the killing of 43 Shia Ismaili Muslims in a bus in Karachi, Pakistan. On the same day, the Iraqi Defense Ministry reported that Abu Alaa Afri, ISIL’s Deputy Leader, had been killed in a US-led Coalition airstrike on a mosque in Tel Afar, on 12 May 2015,[699] which also killed dozens of other ISIL militants present.[21] Akram Qirbash, ISIL’s top judge, was also killed in the airstrike.[699] ISIL had issued statements in which they vowed to retaliate for al-Baghdadi’s injury, which Iraqi forces believed would happen through ISIL attacks in Europe.[21]
  • 14 May: An Al-Mourabitoun commander called Adnan Abu Walid Sahraoui pledged the group’s allegiance to ISIL, expanding ISIL’s area of operation into Mali. The group’s founder, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, later issued a statement rejecting Sahraoui’s announcement.[700][701]
  • On night of 15 May, ISIL militants entered the city of Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar Province, using six near-simultaneous car bombs. ISIL also released an audio tape message, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi calling all Muslims to fight against the Iraqi Government, in the Salahuddin, and Al Anbar Provinces, claiming that this is their duty as Muslims. The message breaks the rumors of his death.[702][703][704]
  • 15–16 May: U.S. Special Operations forces killed a senior ISIL commander named “Abu Sayyaf” during a raid intended to capture him in Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syriaovernight.[705][706]
  • 17 May: ISIL forces captured the city of Ramadi, the former capital of the Islamic State of Iraq, after Iraqi government forces abandoned their posts; more than 500 people were killed.[707]
  • 21 May: ISIL forces captured the Syrian town of Tadmur and the ancient city of Palmyra, beheading dozens of Syrian soldiers.[708] Two gas fields also fell into ISIL hands.[709]According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIL had by then seized 95,000 square kilometers of land, nearly half of Syria’s territory.[710] ISIL also reportedly kidnapped a Syriac Catholic priest, Fr. Jacques Mourad, in the area between Palmyra and Homs.[711]
  • 22 May: Al-Walid, the last border crossing between Syria and Iraq that was held by the Syrian Army, fell to ISIL.[712] ISIL also carried out its first terror attack in Saudi Arabia, when a suicide bomber killed at least 21 people in a Shiite mosque in the city of Qatif.[713]
  • 27 May: ISIL seizes the Khunayfis phosphate mines 70 kilometres (45 mi) south of Palmyra, depriving the Syrian government of a key source of revenue.[714]
  • 28 May: ISIL claims the seizure of Sirte Airport.[715]
  • 31 May: ISIL launched an assault on the Syrian city of Al-Hasakah, with ISIL clashing with Syrian government forces on the southern outskirts, and Kurdish forces announcing their intent to protect their portion of the city. Kurdish forces killed at least 20 civilians in clashes accused of being ISIL and burned homes of suspected ISIL supporters nearRas al-Ayn and Tell Tamer.[716]

June 2015[edit]

  • 1 June: ISIL begins mandating that male civilians in Mosul wear full beards and imposes harsh punishments for shaving, up to and including beheading.[717]
  • 2 June: ISIL forces close the gates of a dam in Ramadi, shutting off water to Khaldiyah and Habbaniyah.[718]
  • 3 June: ISIL forces in Afghanistan reportedly capture and execute ten militants of the Taliban in the Nangarhar province claimed by the Afghan National Army.[719]
  • 7 June: The Syrian Army reported it repelled an offensive by ISIL on the town of Hasakah. Kurdish forces also seized several villages west of Ras Al Ayn, including al-Jasoum and Sawadieh.[720]
  • 10 June: President Obama authorized the deployment of 450 American advisors to Iraq to help train Iraqi forces in fighting ISIL.[721]
  • 13 June: The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia announced it had begun to move towards the ISIL-controlled border town of Tell Abyad after encircling the town of Suluk 20 km to the southeast.[722]
  • 15 June: A spokesman for Kurdish YPG units announced Syrian Kurdish fighters had taken the town of Tell Abyad from ISIL.[723]
  • 23 June: A Kurdish YPG spokesman announced the town of Ayn Issa and surrounding villages, located 50 km (30 miles) from Raqqa, were under the militia’s “total control”.[724] Abu Mohammad al-Adnani announced the expansion of ISIL to Russia’s North Caucasus region as a new Wilayat.[7]
  • 24 June: ISIL attacks Kobanî, killing at least 146 people.[725] Kurdish forces and the Syrian government claimed the vehicles had entered the city from across the border, an action denied by Turkey.[123]
  • 26 June: ISIL claims responsibility for the bombing of a Shiite mosque in Kuwait City, killing at least 27 people,[726] and the attacks on tourists in Sousse, Tunisia, where 38 people were killed.[727]
  • 27 June: ISIL demolished the ancient statue Lion of al-Lat in Palmyra.[728]
  • 30 June: Alaa Saadeh, a 23-year-old resident of West New York, New Jersey, is arrested at his home on charges of conspiring to provide material support to ISIL, and aiding and abetting an attempt to do so. His brother, designated by the United States Department of Justice as Co-Conspirator 1 (CC-1), left the United States on 5 May to join ISIL. Other co-conspirators residing in Fort Lee, New Jersey and Queens, New York were arrested on 13 June and 17 June on similar charges, as part of an investigation of a group of individuals from New York and New Jersey that the Department says conspired to provide material support to ISIL.[729][730]

July 2015[edit]

  • 2 July: Rockets were shot at southern Israel by an ISIS-affiliated group.[731]
  • 3 July: ISIL released a video showing the execution of 25 Syrian regime soldiers on the Palmyra amphitheatre stage.[732]
  • 10 July: Hafiz Saeed Khan, the Emir of ISIL’s Khorasan Province, was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan.[216]
  • 11 July: ISIL claims responsibility for a car bomb blast at the Italian consulate in Cairo, Egypt.[733]
  • 20 July: 13 ISIL fighters were killed by SAAF airstrikes in the city of Al-Hasakah.[737]

August 2015[edit]

  • 2 August: Russian security forces killed 8 ISIL fighters in the North Caucasus region.[738]
  • 5 August: US launches its first attacks against ISIL from Turkey.[739]
  • 5 August: ISIL captured the town Al-Qaryatayn in central Syria.[740]
  • 12 August: US launches its first manned air strikes against ISIL from Turkey.[741]
  • 13 August: ISIL truck-bombing of a market in a Shia district of Baghdad kills scores, wounds hundreds.[742]
  • ISIL propaganda shows explosives damaging the historic ancient site ofPalmyra.[743]

    19 August: ISIL beheaded Dr. Khaled al-Asaad, who was retired chief of antiquities for Palmyra because ISIL accused him of being “an “apostate” and lists his alleged crimes, including representing Syria at “infidel conferences,” serving as “the director of idolatry” in Palmyra, visiting Iran and communicating with a brother in the Syrian security services”.[744]

  • 21 August: ISIL destroyed the historic Mar Elian monastery near the town of Al-Qaryatayn in the Homs Governorate.[745][746]
  • 23 August: ISIL destroyed the 2,000-year-old Baalshamin Temple (Temple of Ba’al) in Palmyra[747]
  • 25 August: ISIL suicide bomber assassinates two Iraqi generals identified by state television as Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Abdul-Rahman Abu-Regheef, deputy chief of operations in Anbar, and Brig. Gen. Sefeen Abdul-Maguid, commander of the 10th Army Division.[748]
  • 29 August: Turkish military aircraft launches first airstrikes against ISIL targets as part of the Western coalition.[749]
  • 30 August: ISIL destroyed the Temple of Bel in Palmyra.[750] The bricks and columns were reported as lying on the ground and only one wall was reported as remaining, according to a Palmyra resident.

Islam in Europe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Islam gained its first foothold in continental Europe in 711 with the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. They advanced into France but in 732, were defeated by the Franks at the Battle of Tours. Over the centuries the Umayyads were gradually driven south and in 1492 the Moorish Emirate of Granada surrendered to Ferdinand V and Isabella. Muslim civilians were expelled from Spain and by 1614 none remained in Spain.[2]

Islam entered Eastern and Southeastern Europe in what are now parts of Russia and Bulgaria in the 13th century. The Ottoman Empire expanded into Europe taking huge portions of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries. Over the centuries, the Ottoman Empire also gradually lost almost all of its European territories, until the empire collapsed in 1922. However, parts of the Balkans (such as Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Sandzak (Serbia and Montenegro) and Bosnia) continue to have large populations of native, European Muslims. This is also the case in a number of regions within the Russian Federation such as the Northern Caucasus (Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Stavropol Krai, Adygea), Crimea, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and the Astrakhan Oblast. Transcontinental countries, such as Turkey, Azerbaijanand Kazakhstan have large Muslim populations.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries substantial numbers of non-native Muslims immigrated to Western Europe. By 2010 an estimated 44 million Muslims were living in Europe, including an estimated 19 million in the EU.[3]

History[edit]

Iberia and Southern France[edit]

A manuscript page of theQur’an in the script developed in al-Andalus, 12th century.

Main articles: Al-Andalus and Moors

The Moors request permission fromJames I of Aragon, Spain, 13th century

Muslim forays into Europe began shortly after the religion’s inception, with a short lived invasion ofByzantine Sicily by a small Arab and Berber force that landed in 652. Islam gained its first foothold in continental Europe from 711 onward, with the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The invaders named their land Al-Andalus, which expanded to include what is now Portugal and Spain except for the northern highlands of Asturias, Basque country, Navarra and few other places protected by mountain chains from southward invasions.

Al-Andalus has been estimated to have had a Muslim majority by the 10th century after most of the local population converted to Islam.[4]:42 This coincided with the La Convivencia period of the Iberian Peninsula as well as the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Pelayo of Asturias began the Christian counter-offensive known as the Reconquista after the Battle of Covadonga in 722. Slowly, the Christian forces began a conquest of the fractured taifa kingdoms of al-Andalus. By 1236, practically all that remained of Muslim Spain was the southern province of Granada.

In the 8th century, Muslim forces pushed beyond Spain into Aquitaine, in southern France, but suffered a temporary setback when defeated by Eudes, Duke of Aquitaine, at the Battle of Toulouse (721). In 725 Muslim forces captured Autun in France. The town would be the easternmost point of expansion of Umayyad forces into Europe; just seven years later in 732, the Umayyads would be forced to begin their withdrawal to al-Andalus after facing defeat at the Battle of Tours by Frankish King Charles Martel. From 719 to 759, Septimania was one of the five administrative areas of al-Andalus. The last Muslim forces were driven from France in 759, but maintained a presence, especially in Fraxinet all the way into Switzerland until the 10th century.[5] At the same time, Muslim forces managed to capture Sicily and portions of southern Italy, and even sacked the Basilicas of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Rome in 846 and later sacked Pisa in 1004.

Sicily[edit]

Muslim musicians at the court of the Norman King Roger II of Sicily, 12th century

Sicily was gradually conquered by the Arabs and Berbers from 827 onward, and the Emirate of Sicily was established in 965. They held onto the region until their expulsion by the Normans in 1072.[6][7]

The local population conquered by the Muslims were Romanized Catholic Sicilians in Western Sicily and partially Greek speaking Christians, mainly in the eastern half of the island, but there were also a significant number of Jews.[8] These conquered people were afforded a limited freedom of religion under the Muslims as dhimmi, but were subject to some restrictions. The dhimmi were also required to pay the jizya, or poll tax, and thekharaj or land tax, but were exempt from the tax that Muslims had to pay (Zakaat). Under Arab rule there were different categories of Jizya payers, but their common denominator was the payment of the Jizya as a mark of subjection to Muslim rule in exchange for protection against foreign and internal aggression. The conquered population could avoid this subservient status simply by converting to Islam. Whether by honest religious conviction or societal compulsion large numbers of native Sicilians converted to Islam. However, even after 100 years of Islamic rule, numerous Greek speaking Christian communities prospered, especially in north-eastern Sicily, as dhimmi. This was largely a result of the Jizya system which allowed co-existence. This co-existence with the conquered population fell apart after the reconquest of Sicily, particularly following the death of KingWilliam II of Sicily in 1189.

Cultural impact and Christian interaction[edit]

“Araz” coat of arms ofPolish Tatar nobility. Tatar coats of arms often included motifs related to Islam.

Mosque of Rome, in Rome, the largest in the EU

The East London Mosque was one of the first in Britain to be allowed to use loudspeakers to broadcast the adhan.[9]

The Christian reconquests of the Iberian peninsula and southern Italy helped to reintroduce ideas and concepts lost to the Western World after the fall of Rome in A.D. 476. Arab speaking Christian scholars saved influential pre-Christian texts and this coupled with the introduction of aspects of medieval Islamic culture (including the arts, agriculture, economics, philosophy, science and technology) assisted with fomenting conditions required for a rebirth of European thought and art (Renaissance). (See Latin translations of the 12th century and Islamic contributions to Medieval Europe for more information).

Muslim rule endured in the Emirate of Granada, from 1238 as a vassal state of the Christian Kingdom of Castile, until the completion of La Reconquista in 1492.[4]:41 The Moriscos (Moorish in Spanish) were finally expelled from Spain between 1609 (Castile) and 1614 (rest of Spain), by Philip III during theSpanish Inquisition.

Throughout the 16th to 19th centuries, the Barbary States sent Barbary pirates to raid nearby parts of Europe in order to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets in the Arab World throughout the Renaissance period.[10][11] According to Robert Davis, from the 16th to 19th centuries, pirates captured 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans as slaves. These slaves were captured mainly from the crews of captured vessels[12] and from coastal villages in Spain and Portugal, and from farther places like Italy, France or England, the Netherlands, Ireland, the Azores Islands, and even Iceland.[10]

For a long time, until the early 18th century, the Crimean Khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East.[13] The Crimean Tatars frequently mounted raids into the Danubian principalities, Poland-Lithuania, and Russia to enslave people whom they could capture.[14]

The Great Mosque of Paris, built after World War I.

The Balkans, Russia and Ukraine[edit]

Log pod Mangartom Mosque was the only mosque ever built in Slovenia, in the town ofLog pod Mangartom, during World War I.

There are accounts of the trade connections between the Muslims and the Rus, apparently people from Baltic region who made their way towards the Black Sea through Central Russia. On his way to Volga Bulgaria, Ibn Fadlan brought detailed reports of the Rus, claiming that some had converted to Islam. “They are very fond of pork and many of them who have assumed the path of Islam miss it very much.” The Rus also relished their nabidh, a fermented drink Ibn Fadlan often mentioned as part of their daily fare.[15]

The Ottoman campaign for territorial expansion in Europe in 1566, Crimean Tatars as vanguard.

The Mongols began their conquest of Rus’, Volga Bulgaria, and the Cuman-Kipchak Confederation (present day Russia and Ukraine) in the 13th century. After the Mongol empire split, the eastern European section became known as the Golden Horde. Despite the fact that they were not Muslim at the time, the western Mongols adopted Islam as their religion in the early 14th century under Berke Khan, and later Uzbeg Khan who established it as the official religion of the state. Much of the mostly Turkic-speaking population of the Horde, as well as the small Mongol aristocracy, were Islamized (if they were not already Muslim, such as the Volga Bulgars) and became known to Russians and Europeans as the Tatars. More than half[16] of the European portion of what is now Russia and Ukraine, were under suzerainty of Muslim Tatars and Turks from the 13th to 15th centuries. The Crimean Khanatebecame a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire in 1475 and subjugated what remained of theGreat Horde by 1502. The Khanate of Kazan was conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1552.

Balkans during the Ottoman Empire[edit]

The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, awaits the arrival of his Greek Muslim Grand Vizier Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha at Buda, in the year 1529.

Medieval Bulgaria particularly the city of Sofia, was the administrative centre of almost all Ottoman possessions in the Balkans also known as Rumelia.[17]

The Ottoman Empire began its expansion into Europe by taking the European portions of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries up until the 1453 capture of Constantinople, establishing Islam as the state religion in the region. The Ottoman Empire continued to stretch northwards, taking Hungary in the 16th century, and reaching as far north as the Podolia in the mid-17th century (Peace of Buczacz), by which time most of the Balkans was under Ottoman control. Ottoman expansion in Europe ended with their defeat in the Great Turkish War. In theTreaty of Karlowitz (1699), the Ottoman Empire lost most of its conquests in Central Europe. The Crimean Khanate was later annexed by Russia in 1783.[18] Over the centuries, the Ottoman Empire gradually lost almost all of its European territories, until its collapse in 1922, when the former empire was transformed into the nation of Turkey.

Between 1354 (when the Ottomans crossed into Europe at Gallipolli) and 1526, the Empire had conquered the territory of present-day Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hungary. The Empire laid siege to Vienna in 1683. The intervention of the Polish King broke the siege, and from then afterwards the Ottomans battled the Habsburg Emperors until 1699, when the Treaty of Karlowitz forced them to surrender Hungary and portions of present-day Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. From 1699 to 1913, wars and insurrections pushed the Ottoman Empire further back until it reached the current European border of present-day Turkey.

For most of this period, the Ottoman retreats were accompanied by Muslim refugees from these province (in almost all cases converts from the previous subject populations), leaving few Muslim inhabitants in Hungary, Croatia, and the Transylvania region of present-day Romania. Bulgaria remained under Ottoman rule until around 1878, and currently its population includes about 131,000 Muslims (2001 Census) (see Pomaks).

Painting of the bazaar at Athens, Ottoman Greece, early 19th century

Bosnia was conquered by the Ottomans in 1463, and a large portion of the population converted to Islam in the first 200 years of Ottoman domination. By the time Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia in 1878, the Habsburgs had shed the desire to re-Christianize new provinces. As a result, a sizable Muslim population in Bosnia survived into the 20th century. Albania and the Kosovo area remained under Ottoman rule until 1913. Previous to the Ottoman conquest, the northern Albanians were Roman Catholic and the southern Albanians were Christian Orthodox, but by 1913 the majority were Muslim.

Conversion to Islam[edit]

Registration of Christian boys for thetribute in blood. Ottoman miniature painting, 1558.[19]

Apart from the effect of a lengthy period under Ottoman domination, many of the subject population were converted to Islam as a result of a deliberate move by the Ottomans as part of a policy of ensuring the loyalty of the population against a potential Venetian invasion. However, Islam was spread by force in the areas under the control of the Ottoman Sultan through devşirme and jizya.[20][21]Rather Arnold explains Islam’s spread by quoting 17th-century pro-Muslim[citation needed] author Johannes Scheffler who stated:

Meanwhile he (i.e. the Turk) wins (converts) by craft more than by force, and snatches away Christ by fraud out of the hearts of men. For the Turk, it is true, at the present time compels no country by violence to apostatise; but he uses other means whereby imperceptibly he roots out Christianity… What then has become of the Christians? They are not expelled from the country, neither are they forced to embrace the Turkish faith: then they must of themselves have been converted into Turks.[22]

Cultural influences[edit]

Islam piqued interest among European scholars, setting off the movement of Orientalism. The founder of modern Islamic studies in Europe was Ignác Goldziher, who began studying Islam in the late 19th century. For instance, Sir Richard Francis Burton, 19th-century English explorer, scholar, and orientalist, and translator of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, disguised himself as a Pashtun and visited both Medina and Mecca during the Hajj, as described in his book A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Medinah and Meccah.

Islamic architecture influenced European architecture in various ways (for example, the Türkischer Tempel synagogue in Vienna). During the 12th-century Renaissance in Europe, Latin translations of Arabic texts were introduced. The Koran was also translated (for example, Lex Mahumet pseudoprophete).

Current population and its perception[edit]

Muslim-majority areas in Europe

According to the Pew Forum, the total number of Muslims in Europe in 2010 was about 44 million (6%),[23] excluding Turkey. The total number of Muslims in the European Union in 2010 was about 19 million (3.8%).[23] Approximately 9 million Turks are living in Europe, excluding the Turkish population of Turkey, which makes up the largest Muslim immigrant community in Europe.[24] However the real number of Muslims in Europe is not well-known. The percentage of Muslims in Russia (the biggest group of Muslims in Europe) varies from 5[25] to 11.7%,[23] depending on sources. It also depends on if only observant Muslims or all people of Muslim descent are counted.[26]

The Mosque of SultanMehmet Fatih in Pristina,Kosovo

The Muslim population in Europe is extremely diverse with varied histories and origins. Today, the Muslim-majority regions of Europe are Albania, Kosovo, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, parts ofBulgaria, Montenegro and Macedonia, as well as some Russian regions in Northern Caucasus and theVolga region. The Muslim-dominated Sandžak of Novi Pazar is divided between Serbia and Montenegro. They consist predominantly of indigenous Europeans of the Muslim faith whose religious tradition dates back several hundred years. Thetranscontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan also are Muslim majority.

The Muslim population in Western Europe is composed primarily of peoples who arrived to the European continent in or after (1945), when many Western countries (firstly, the UK and France) start policy of multiculturalism and permanent immigration of non-white and/or non-Christian people. Muslim emigration to metropolitan France surged during the Algerian War of Independence. In 1961, West German Government invited first Gastarbeiters. Similar contracts were offered by Switzerland. A 2013 poll by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung says thatIslamic fundamentalism is widespread among European Muslims with the majority saying religious rules are more important than civil laws and three quarters rejecting religious pluralism within Islam.[27] The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia reports that the Muslim population tends to suffer Islamophobia all over Europe, although the perceptions and views of Muslims may vary.[28]

A 2015 poll by the Polish Centre for Public Opinion Research found that 44% of Poles have a negative attitude towards Muslims, with only 23% having a positive attitude towards them. Furthermore, a majority agreed with statements like “Muslims are intolerant of customs and values other than their own.” (64% agreed, 12% disagreed), “Muslims living in Western European countries generally do not acquire customs and values that are characteristic for the majority of the population of that country.” (63% agreed, 14% disagreed), “Islam encourages violence more than other religions.” (51% agreed, 24% disagreed)[29]

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that 70% of the people of Albania [30][31][32] are Muslim, 91% in Kosovo, and 30% of them in Macedonia are Muslim. Bosnia has a Muslim plurality. In transcontinental countries such as Turkey 99%, and 93% in Azerbaijan[33] of the population is Muslim respectively. Muslims also form about one sixth of the population of Montenegro. In Russia, Moscow is home to an estimated 1.5 million Muslims.[34][35][36]

Projections[edit]

According to the Pew Research Center, Europe’s population was 6% Muslim in 2010, and is projected to be 8% Muslim by 2030.[23]

A Pew Research Center study, published in January 2011, forecasted an increase of Muslims in European population from 6% in 2010 to 8% in 2030.[23] The study also found that Muslim fertility rate in Europe would drop from 2.2 in 2010 to 2.0 in 2030. On the other hand, the non-Muslim fertility rate in Europe would increase from 1.5 in 2010 to 1.6 in 2030.[23] A Pew study published in 2015 projected that in 2050 Muslims will make up 10.2% of Europe’s population.[37]

However a 2007 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report argued that some Muslim population projections are overestimated, as they assume that all descendants of Muslims will become Muslims even in cases of mixed parenthood.[38] Philip Jenkinsof Penn State University estimates that by 2100, Muslims will compose about 25% of Europe’s population. Jenkins states this figure does not take account divergent birthrates amongst Europe’s immigrant Christians.[39] Other analysts are skeptical about the accuracy of the claimed Muslim population growth, stating that because many European countries do not ask a person’s religion on official forms or in censuses, it has been difficult to obtain accurate estimates, and arguing that there has been a decrease in Muslim fertility rates in Morocco, the Netherlands and Turkey.

List of cities in the European Union by Muslim population

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map showing large European Union cities that are 10% Muslim or more (according to unofficial estimates)

Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in Europe.[1][2]

Muslim population in England (2011)

  0.0%-0.9%
  1%-1.9%
  2%-4.9%
  5%-9.9%
  10%-19.9%
  20% and more

Since the 1960s, immigrants from Muslim countries started to appear in numbers in Western Europe, especially in Germany, France and Belgium. Although large Muslim communities existed on the continent long before this, especially in the Balkans, this was the first major wave of immigration of Muslims to northwestern Europe.[3]

Muslims in Europe are not a homogeneous group. They are of various national, ethnic and racial identities. The top countries of origin of Muslims in Western Europe are Pakistan, Turkey and the Maghreb countries (Morocco, Algeria,Tunisia).[4] Muslims also vary in terms of their religious commitment: some adhere very strictly to the tenets of Islam while others have largely assimilated into secular European culture.

In Western Europe, Muslims generally live in major urban areas, often concentrated in poor neighborhoods of large cities.[5]

According to the Pew Forum, the total number of Muslims in Europe in 2010 was about 44 million (6%).[6] The total number of Muslims in the European Union in 2010 was about 19 million (3.8%).[6] The French capital of Paris and its metropolitan area has the largest number (up to 1.7 million according to The Economist)[7] of Muslims than any other city in the European Union. London also has a substantial community of Muslim origin, numbering about 1 million within the limits of Greater London and exceeding this figure when the entire metropolitan area is taken into account.

If the current rate of migration of Muslims to Europe and the Muslim fertility rate remains constant, by 2030, people of Muslim faith or origin are predicted to form about 10% of the French population[6] and 8% of the European population.[6]

The table below lists large cities of the European Union with significant Muslim populations.

City Country  % Muslim (est.)
Amsterdam  Netherlands 14%,[8] 24%[7]
Antwerp  Belgium 16.9%[9]
Barcelona  Spain
Berlin  Germany 6%,[10] 9%,[11]
Birmingham  UK 14.3%,[7] 15%,[4][5][12] 26.9%[13]
Blackburn  UK 28.4%[13]
Bradford  UK 15%,[12] 32.4%[13]
Brussels  Belgium 15%,[4][5][12] 17%,[7][14] 25.5%[15]
Cologne  Germany 12%[16][17][18]
Copenhagen  Denmark 7%[4][5][12]
Frankfurt  Germany 11.8%[19]
Haskovo  Bulgaria 20%
Leicester  UK 18.6%[13]
London  UK 8.3%,[20] 8.5%,[7] 10%,[4][5][12] 13.1%[13]
Luton  UK 24.6%[21]
Malmö  Sweden 20%[4][12]
Manchester  UK 15.8%[13]
Marseille  France 20%,[7][12] 25%,[4][5][22] 35%[23]
Milan  Italy 7% – 10%
Paris  France 10%,[4] 15%[5][12] (10-15% in metro area)[7][22]
Rotterdam  Netherlands 13%[7] 25%[4]
Roubaix  France 20%[24]
Slough  UK 23.3%[13]
Stockholm  Sweden 20%
The Hague  Netherlands 14.2%
Utrecht  Netherlands 13.2%
Vienna  Austria 8%[7] 10%[4]

European migrant crisis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 2015 European migrant crisis[1][2][3][4][5], or European refugee crisis,[6][7] arose through the rising number of refugees and economic migrants[8], from areas such as theMiddle East, Africa, the Balkans and South Asia, coming to the European Union across the Mediterranean Sea and Southeast Europe[9][10], and applying for asylum. The majority of the refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.[11]

The term has been used since April 2015,[12] when at least five boats carrying almost two thousand migrants to Europe sank in the Mediterranean Sea, with a combined death toll estimated at more than 1,200 people.

The shipwrecks took place in a context of ongoing conflicts in several North African and Middle Eastern countries as well as the refusal by several European Union governments to fund the Italian-run rescue option Operation Mare Nostrum, which was replaced by Frontex‘s Operation Triton in November 2014. On 23 April 2015, EU governments agreed to triple funding for border patrol operations in the Mediterranean so that they would be equal to the previous capabilities of Operation Mare Nostrum, but Amnesty Internationalimmediately criticized the EU’s decision not “to extend Triton’s operational area” to the area previously covered by Mare Nostrum.[13] Some weeks later, the European Union decided to launch a new operation based in Rome, called EU Navfor Med, under the command of the Italian Admiral Enrico Credendino.[14]

According to Eurostat, EU member states received 626,000 asylum applications in 2014, the highest number since the 672,000 applications received in 1992.[15] In 2014, decisions on asylum applications in the EU made at the first instance resulted in more than 160,000 asylum seekers being granted protection status, while a further 23,000 received protection status on appeal. The rate of recognition of asylum applicants was 45% at the first instance and 18% on appeal.[16] Four states – Germany, Sweden, Italy and France– received around two-thirds of the EU’s asylum applications and granted almost two-thirds of protection status in 2014; while Sweden, Hungary and Austria were among the top recipients of EU asylum applications per capita, when adjusted for their own populations.[17][18]

Background[edit]

Immigration to the EU[edit]

Main article: Immigration to Europe

The foreign-born population residing in the EU in 2014 amounts to 33 million people, or 7% of the total EU population (which amounts to more than 500 million people). By comparison, the foreign-born population is 13% of the total population in the United States, 20% in Canada and 27% in Australia. Between 2010 and 2013, around 1.4 million non-EU nationals, excluding asylum seekers and refugees, immigrated into the EU each year using regular means, with a slight decrease since 2010.[19]

Prior to 2014, the number of asylum seekers in the EU peaked in 1992 (672,000), 2001 (424,000) and 2013 (431,000).[15] According to the UNHCR, the EU countries with the biggest numbers of recognized refugees at the end of 2014 were France (252,264), Germany (216,973), Sweden (142,207) and the United Kingdom (117,161). No European State was among the top ten refugee-hosting countries in the world.[20]

Prior to 2014, the number of irregular border crossings detected by Frontex at the external borders of the EU peaked in 2011, with 141,051 sea and land irregular arrivals.[21]

Schengen Area and Dublin Regulation[edit]

In the Schengen Agreement, 26 countries of the European Union joined together to form an area, where border checks on internal Schengen borders (i. e. between member states) are abolished, and instead checks are restricted to the external Schengen borders and countries with external borders are obligated to enforce border control regulations.

Beginning of the crisis[edit]

Between 2007 and 2011, large numbers of undocumented migrants from the Middle East and Africa crossed between Turkey and Greece, leading Greece and the European Border Protection agency Frontex to upgrade border controls.[22] In 2012, immigrant influx into Greece by land decreased by 95% after the construction of a fence on that part of the Greek–Turkish frontier which does not follow the course of the river Marica (Evros).[23] In 2015, Bulgaria followed by upgrading a border fence to prevent migrant flows through Turkey.[24][25] In particular, a flare-up of conflict in Libya in the aftermath of the civil war there has contributed to an escalation of departures from that country.

The 2013 Lampedusa migrant shipwreck involved “more than 360” deaths, leading the Italian government to establish Operation Mare Nostrum, a large-scale naval operation that involved search and rescue, with some migrants brought aboard a naval amphibious assault ship.[26] In 2014, the Italian government ended the operation, citing costs to be too large for one EU state alone to manage; Frontex assumed the main responsibility for search and rescue operations. The Frontex operation is called Operation Triton.[27] The Italian government had requested additional funds from the EU to continue the operation but member states did not offer the requested support.[28] The UK government cited fears that the operation was acting as “an unintended ‘pull factor’, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths”.[29] The operation consists of two surveillance aircraft and three ships, with seven teams of staff who gather intelligence and conduct screening/identification processing. Its monthly budget is estimated at €2.9 million.[27]

Migration[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Sea and land arrivals to the EU[edit]

Sea and land arrivals to the EU
in 2014 by nationality[30]
Syria 79,169
Eritrea 34,586
Unspecified sub-Saharan nationals 26,341
Afghanistan 22,132
Kosovo* 22,069
Mali 10,575
Albania 9,323
Gambia 8,730
Nigeria 8,715
Somalia 7,676
Others 54,216
Total 283,532

According to the International Organization for Migration, up to 3,072 people died or disappeared in 2014 in the Mediterranean while trying to migrate to Europe.[31] Overall estimates are that over 22,000 migrants died between 2000 and 2014.

In 2014, 283,532 migrants irregularly entered the European Union, mainly following the Central Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkan routes.[31][32][33] 220,194 migrants crossed EU sea borders in the Central, Eastern and Western Mediterranean (a 266% increase compared to 2013). Half of them had come from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan.[30]

Among those arriving in Southern Europe in 2014, the vast majority (170,664, a 277% increase compared to 2013) arrived in Italy through Libya, whereas a minority (50,834, a 105% increase) arrived in Greece through Turkey.[34] 62,000 applied for asylum in Italy, but most Syrians and Eritreans, who comprised almost half of the arrivals in Italy in 2014, didn’t stop in Italy, and continued their journey towards northern Europe, Germany and Sweden in particular.[35]

In 2015, a shift took place, with Greece overtaking Italy as the primary point of arrival and surpassing in the first six months of 2015 the numbers for the whole of 2014: 67,500 people arrived in Italy, mainly coming from Eritrea (25%), Nigeria (10%) andSomalia (10%), whereas 68,000 arrived on the islands of Greece, mainly coming from Syria (57%) and Afghanistan (22%).[36] In total, 137,000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean into Europe in the first six months of 2015.[37]

As of 17 April, the total number of migrants reaching the Italian coasts was 21,191 since 1 January 2015, with a decrease during the month of March due to bad weather conditions, and a surge since 10 April, bringing the total number of arrivals in line with the number recorded in the same period in 2014. However, the death toll in the first four months of 2014 was 96, compared with 500 in the same period in 2015; this number excluded the victims of the devastating shipwrecks on 13 and 19 April.[38][39]

In early August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that 250,000 migrants had arrived in Europe by sea so far in 2015, 124,000 in Greece and 98,000 in Italy.[40] July set a new record for a single month, with 107,500 migrants estimated to have entered the EU,[41] and, by August, a spokesperson for the European Commission called the situation “beyond urgent”, and said said that a “collective European response” was required to deal with the hundreds of thousands of people trying to reach European shores.[40][42]

Asylum applications[edit]

Asylum applications in the EU and EFTA States between 1 January and 30 June 2015 according toEurostat data.[43] In this period, 417,430 asylum applications were lodged in the EU. The height of the bars represents the number of asylum applications per country. Colors indicate the percentage of asylum applicants in relation to population:

  0.69%
  >0.2-0.3%
  >0.1-0.2%
  >0.05-0.1%
  0.02-0.05%
  <0.02%
  no data

According to Eurostat, EU member states received 626,715 asylum applications in 2014, the highest number since the 672,000 applications received in 1992. The main countries of origin of asylum seekers, accounting for almost half of the total, were Syria (20%), Afghanistan (7%), Kosovo (6%), Eritrea (6%) and Serbia (5%).[15]

In 2014, decisions on asylum applications in the EU made at the first instance resulted in more than 160,000 asylum seekers being granted protection status, while a further 23,000 received protection status on appeal. The rate of recognition of asylum applicants was 45% at the first instance and 18% on appeal. The main beneficiaries of protection status, accounting for more than half of the total, were Syrians (68,300 or 37%), Eritreans (14,600 or 8%) and Afghanis (14,100 or 8%).[16]

Four states – Germany, Sweden, Italy and France– received around two-thirds of the EU’s asylum applications and granted almost two-thirds of protection status in 2014. Sweden, Hungary and Austria were among the top recipients of EU asylum applications per capita, when adjusted for their own populations, with 8.4 asylum seekers per 1,000 inhabitants in Sweden, 4.3 in Hungary and 3.2 in Austria.[44][17][18]

In the first three months of 2015, the number of asylum applicants in the EU was 184,800, increasing by 86% if compared with the same quarter in the previous year but remaining stable if compared to the last quarter of 2014. The main nationalities of the applicants were Kosovo (48,875), Syria (29,100) and Afghanistan (12,910).[45] In August 2015, the German government announced that it expects to receive 800,000 asylum applications by the end of the year, more than the whole EU in 2014. Until July 2015, Syrian refugees were the biggest group of asylum seekers in Germany, with 44,417 applications lodged since January, whereas 40% of applications came from people from the Balkans, who were thought not to qualify for asylum for the most part.[46]

Motivations[edit]

Ascertaining motivation is complex, but many (62% according to a July 2015 United Nations estimate) of the migrants are war refugees, fleeing countries including Syria, Eritrea, and Afghanistan.[47] Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are more likely to be fleeing desperate poverty and lack of jobs, many of them hoping for a better lifestyle and job offers.[48]

Migrant routes[edit]

As of August 2015, Frontex recognizes the following general routes on sea and on land used by irregular migrants to enter the EU:[49]

Irish Naval Service rescuing migrants from an overcrowded boat as part of Operation Triton, June 2015.

  • the Western African route
  • the Western Mediterranean route
  • the Central Mediterranean route
  • the Apulia and Calabria route
  • the circular route from Albania to Greece
  • the Western Balkan route (from Greece through Macedonia and Serbia to Hungary)
  • the Eastern Mediterranean route
  • the Eastern Borders route

Malta[edit]

Between 2008 and 2012 Malta received, on average, the highest number of asylum seekers compared to its national population: 21.7 applicants per 1,000 inhabitants.[50] In 2011, most of these asylum applications were submitted by nationals of Somalia, Nigeria, Eritrea and Syria.[51] In 2012, more than half of the requests were by Somalian nationals alone.[52]

Melilla and Ceuta (Spain/Morocco)[edit]

Melilla and Ceuta, two autonomous Spanish cities on the north coast of Africa bordering Morocco, are the only EU territories to share a land border with Africa. The number of undocumented migrants hoping to reach the EU via Melilla or Ceuta is growing, according to authorities.[53]

Lampedusa (Italy)[edit]

Location of Lampedusa

Thousands of migrants try every month to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, risking their lives on unsafe boats. Many of them are fleeing poverty-stricken homelands or war-torn countries and seeking economic opportunity within the EU.[54][55] Italy, and, in particular, its southern island of Lampedusa, receives enormous numbers of Africans and Middle-Easterns transported by traffickers operating along the ungoverned coast of the failed state of Libya.[54][56]

In July 2013, Pope Francis visited the island on his first official visit outside of Rome. He prayed for migrants, living and dead, and denounced their traffickers.[57] In October 2013, the 2013 Lampedusa disaster occurred; a boat carrying over 500 migrants, mostly fromEritrea and Somalia, sank off the coast of Lampedusa with the deaths of at least 300 people.[58][59]

In 2014, 170,100 migrants arrived in Italy by sea, a 296% increase compared to 2013. 141,484 of the travelers ferried over from Libya. Most of the migrants had come from Syria, Eritrea and various countries in West Africa.[60]

From January to April 2015, about 1600 migrants died on the route from Libya to Lampedusa, making it the deadliest migrant route in the world.[61]

Greece[edit]

Island groups of the Aegean Sea.

Migrants arrive from the Middle East making the 6-kilometre (4 mi) water crossing to the Greek islands of Chios, Kos and Lesbos, which are close to Turkey and are thus a quick and easy access border into Europe.[42][62][63] Despite being a member country, Greece gave up on fulfilling its external Schengen borders to try to stop and register migrants.

In June 2015, 124,000 people had arrived, a 750% increase from 2014, mainly stemming from the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Greece appealed to the European Union for assistance, whilst the UNCHR European Director Vincent Cochetel said facilities for the refugees on the Greek islands were “totally inadequate” and the islands in “total chaos”.[64]

Frontex‘s Operation Poseidon, aimed at patrolling the Aegean, is badly underfunded and undermanned, with only 11 coastal patrol vessels, one ship, two helicopters, two aircraft and a budget of €18 million.[65]

Human traffickers charge illegal immigrants $1000 to $1,500 for the 25-minute boat ride from Bodrum, Turkey to Kos.[42] In August “hundreds” of boats made the crossing carrying illegal immigrants every night.[42] The migrants, many of them with cell phones and smart phones and detailed knowledge of illegal routes across Europe, travel onward to Thessaloniki in the mainland of Greece and estimate that it will cost them €3,000 to €4,000 to reach Germany, and €10,000 or €12,000 to reach Britain.[42] Desperate migrants have fought brawls over places in boats leaving Bodrum for Kos.[66]

In September 2015 the photos of dead 3-year-old Alan Kurdi, who drowned when he and his family were in a small inflatable boat which capsized shortly after leaving Bodrum trying to reach the Greek island of Kos, made headlines around the world.

Hungary[edit]

Migrants in Hungary on their march towards Austria.

Migrants taking the Balkans route, cross into the Schengen Area first in Greece. Despite Schengen obligations Greece does not try to stop and register them. Migrants enter the Schengen Area again on the Serbian–Hungarian border. In June 2015, Hungary said it was contemplating countermeasures against the influx of illegal immigrants from Serbia, a non-EU and non-Schengen state.[67]

On 17 June 2015, the Hungarian government announced the construction of a 4-metre-high (13 ft), 175-kilometre-long (109 mi) fence along its southern border with Serbia.[68][69] Although Hungary acted in accordance with the Schengen Agreement that obligates countries with external Schengen borders to protect it from illegal crossing and exercise border checks, the European Comission warned EU members against steps that contravene EU obligations and urging members like Hungary to find other ways to cope with an inflow of illegal migrants.[70] The first phase of the construction was finished at the end of August and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that it will be fully completed by the end of 2015.[71]

On 3 September 2015, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán defended the country’s management of the migrant situation internally, notwithstanding chaos at Budapest’s main international rail station, while criticising Germany and Europe overall for not dissuading migrants from entering Europe.[72] On the same day, Hungarian police let migrants board a train in Budapest heading west then stopped it in Bicske, and tried to transport migrants to a registration camp there. The migrants refused to cooperate and remained on the train which didn’t travel further west.[73]

On 4 September 2015, about a thousand of the migrants at Railway Station East (Keleti Pályaudvar) set off by foot toward Austria and Germany.[74][75] On the same night, the Hungarian government decided to send buses to transport illegal migrants to Hegyeshalom, on the border with Austria.[76]

Croatia[edit]

Croatia, an EU member state, shares land border with Serbia, therefore there is a risk of strong inflow of migrants from Serbia considering that Hungary erected a fence on its border with Serbia. Nearly 80% of the border consist of Danube river, but the problem is 70 kilometers long so-called “Green Border” nearTovarnik. According to the Croatian Minister of Interior Ranko Ostojić “police in the area have enough people and equipment to protect Croatian border against illegal immigrants”.[77] Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and First Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusić rejected option of building a fence on Croatian border with Serbia.[78][79]

Austria[edit]

On 27 August 2015, 71 migrants were found dead in an unventilated food truck near Vienna. As an official response to this tragedy, on 31 August 2015, Austria began inspections of vehicles for smuggled immigrants entering from across the border with Hungary, leading to vehicular backups of 19 km (12 mi) and trains stalled for hours.[80]

Wien Westbahnhof railway stationat 5th September 2015: Migrants on their way to Germany

Late on 4 September 2015, Chancellor Werner Faymann of Austria, in conjunction with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, announced that migrants would be allowed to cross the border from Hungary into Austria and onward to Germany, and early on 5 September 2015, buses with migrants began crossing the Austro-Hungarian border.[81][82] Austria noted that 6,500 migrants had crossed the border by afternoon 5 September 2015, with already 2,200 on their way to Germany.[83][84]

Germany[edit]

Germany has been the most sought-after final destination in the EU migrant and refugee crisis,[18][17] and thousands of refugees continued to pour into Germany from Austria as of 6 September 2015; according to The Wall Street Journal, this open-arms policy was triggering both a domestic and an international backlash.[85]

Calais (France)[edit]

During summer 2015, at least nine people have died in attempts to reach England, including falling from, or being hit by trains, and drowning in a canal at the Eurotunnelentrance.[86]

Incidents[edit]

Several serious accidents and deaths have occurred in Europe as a result of human trafficking involving migrants. Standard cargo trucks are normally used, increasing the severity of accidents when they occur.

Reactions[edit]

European Union[edit]

The European Parliament has voted in favour of a migrant quota system to make sure that asylum seekers are distributed more equally across member states.[87]

Further information: EU Navfor Med

On 19 April, Italy’s Premier Matteo Renzi returned to Rome from a political event he had been attending in Mantua and met his top ministers. Renzi subsequently spoke by telephone to French President François Hollande and to Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.[88][89] They agreed to call for an emergency meeting of European interior ministers to address the problem of migrant deaths. Renzi condemned human trafficking as a “new slave trade”[90] while Prime Minister Muscat said 19 April shipwreck was the “biggest human tragedy of the last few years”. Hollande described people traffickers as “terrorists” who put migrant lives at risk. The German government‘s representative for migration, refugees and integration, Aydan Özoğuz, said that with more arrivals likely to arrive as the weather turned warmer, emergency rescue missions should be restored. “It was an illusion to think that cutting off Mare Nostrum would prevent people from attempting this dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean”, she said.[91][92][93][93] Federica Mogherini called for collective EU action ahead of a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday 20 April.[94][95]

In a press conference, Matteo Renzi confirmed that Italy had called an “extraordinary European council” meeting as soon as possible to discuss the tragedy,[96] various European leaders agreed with this idea.[97][98] On 19 April, British politician Nigel Farage called for the United Kingdom to offer refuge to Christians from Libya blaming David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy for the drowning of the migrants off of Italy. He stated that the exodus from the country had been caused by western intervention, approved by Cameron and Sarkozy, in the civil war in Libya.[99] Cameron tweeted on 20 April that he “supported” Renzi’s “call for an emergency meeting of EU leaders to find a comprehensive solution” to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.[100] He later confirmed that he would attend an emergency summit of European leaders on Thursday.[101]

On 20 April the European Commission proposed a 10-point plan:[102]

  • Reinforce the Joint Operations in the Mediterranean, namely Triton and Poseidon, by increasing the financial resources and the number of assets. We will also extend their operational area, allowing us to intervene further, within the mandate of Frontex;
  • A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers. The positive results obtained with the Atalanta operation should inspire us to similar operations against smugglers in the Mediterranean;
  • Europol, Frontex, EASO and Eurojust will meet regularly and work closely to gather information on smugglers modus operandi, to trace their funds and to assist in their investigation;
  • EASO to deploy teams in Italy and Greece for joint processing of asylum applications;
  • Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants;
  • Consider options for an emergency relocation mechanism;
  • A EU wide voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering a number of places to persons in need of protection;
  • Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States;
  • Engagement with countries surrounding Libya through a joined effort between the Commission and the EEAS; Initiatives in Niger have to be stepped up.
  • Deploy Immigration Liaison Officers (ILO) in key third countries, to gather intelligence on migratory flows and strengthen the role of the EU Delegations.

The Guardian and Reuters noted that doubling the size of Operation Triton would still leave the mission with fewer resources than the previous Italian-run rescue option (Operation Mare Nostrum) whose budget was more than 3 times as large, had 4 times the number of aircraft[103] and had a wider mandate to conduct search and rescue operations across the Mediterranean Sea.[104]

On 23 April, a five-hour emergency summit was held and EU heads of state agreed to triple the budget of Operation Triton to €120 million for 2015–2016.[105] EU leaders claimed that this would allow for the same operational capabilities as Operation Mare Nostrum had had in 2013–2014. As part of the agreement the United Kingdom agreed to send HMS Bulwark, two naval patrol boats and three helicopters to join the Operation.[105] On 5 May 2015 it was announced by the Irish Minister of Defence Simon Coveney that the LÉ Eithne would also take part in the response to the crisis.[106] Amnesty International immediately criticized the EU response as “a face-saving not a life-saving operation” and said that “failure to extend Triton’s operational area will fatally undermine today’s commitment”.[13]

Partial suspension of the Dublin Regulation[edit]

Main article: Dublin Regulation

Under the Dublin Regulation, if a person who had filed for asylum in one EU country illegally crosses borders to another country, they shall be returned to the former. During the 2015 European migrant crisis, Hungary became overburdened by asylum applications to the point that it stopped on 23 June 2015 receiving back its applicants who later crossed the borders to other EU countries and were detained there.[107] On 24 August 2015, Germany decided to suspend the Dublin Regulation as regards Syrian refugees and to process their asylum applications directly itself.[108] On 2 September 2015, the Czech Republic also decided to defy the Dublin Regulation and to offer Syrian refugees who have already applied for asylum in other EU countries and who reach the country to either have their application processed in the Czech Republic (i.e. get asylum there) or to continue their journey elsewhere.[109]

New quota system proposal[edit]

As thousands of migrants started to move from Budapest to Vienna, Germany, Italy and France demanded asylum-seekers to be shared more evenly between EU states. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed to take in 160,000 asylum seekers under a new migrant quota system to be set out. Jean Asselborn, the Luxembourg foreign minister, called for the establishment of a European Refugee Agency, which would have the power to investigate whether every EU member state is applying the same standards for granting asylum to migrants. Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary, criticised the European Commission warning that “tens of millions” of migrants could come to Europe. Asselborn declared to be ashamed of Orbán.[110][111] Leaders of the Visegrád Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) declared in a September meeting that they will not accept any compulsory long-term quota on redistribution of immigrants.[112]

Effect on individual member states[edit]

  •  Austria – On August 6, 2015, Amnesty International Secretary General Heinz Patzelt inspected the refugee camp Bundesbetreuungsstelle in Traiskirchen where more than 4,800 refugees are housed while nearly 1500 of them are sleeping outdoors. Medical expert Siroos Mirzaei from Amnesty International noted that the people had to wait for days in order to get medical help. The report also states that only four doctors are present at the refugee camp. Showers and toilets are in a dreadful condition. Mirzaei speaks about “floating excrement”. According to Patzelt, “Austria is currently violating human rights and should focus on unattended children and minors”.[113]
  •  Bulgaria – Bulgaria built a fence along its border with Turkey to prevent migrants from crossing through its territory in order to reach other EU countries. The fence is equipped with infrared cameras, motion sensors, wire and is monitored by the army.[114][115]
  •  Croatia – Croatia will receive 550 migrants in the next two years according to the EU plan; 400 that are currently in Italy and Greece, and 150 that are currently outside the EU. Croatia was originally supposed to receive 505 migrants, but decided to accept more which makes it the only country in the EU, along with Estonia, which has done so.[116] On August 29, 2015 a Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji list published an interview with a “senior government official” who said that the Croatian Government formed an interdepartmental working group that is working on a plan on how to accept these 550 migrants. Croatia will in October 2015 send its delegation to the migrants camps in Italy and Greece, which will choose immigrants from Syria and Eritrea that Croatia will accept. Criteria for the selection will be: 1. any kind of connection to Croatia, such as family in Croatia or diploma from one of the Croatian Universities (while Croatia was member of Yugoslavia, many foreigners from Non-Aligned Movement countries, especially Syrians, were coming to Croatia to study), 2. education in occupations that are in demand in Croatia, and 3. families with small children.[117] In addition, Croatia shares a land border with Serbia. Therefore, there is a risk of a strong inflow of migrants from Serbia considering that Hungary erected a fence on its border with Serbia. Nearly 80% of the border consists of the Danube river, but the problem is the 70 kilometers long so-called “Green Border” near Tovarnik. According to the Croatian Minister of Interior Ranko Ostojić “police in the area has enough people and equipment to protect Croatian border against illegal immigrants”.[77] Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and First Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusić rejected the option of building a fence on Croatian border with Serbia.[78][79]
  •  Czech Republic – Czech President Miloš Zeman has expressed his dissatisfaction with the mass inflow of migrants to Europe on several occasions. In late August 2015 in an interview for radio “Frekvence 1” he said: “The reception of migrants from the Middle East and Northern Africa to the territory of the Czech Republic brings with it three major risks – spread of infectious diseases, terrorism of the Islamic state and the creation of new ghettos.” According to his opinion the majority of refugees are actually economic migrants that are not fleeing war. President Zeman divided migrants into two categories – 1. about 1,500 of them that will be received in the next two years by the Czech Republic according to the EU plan, 2. all others that are staying in the country illegally, among which are some that break Czech laws so they should, as the President believes, be deported. The President also thinks that migrants that are crossing Czech territory in order to go to Germany will stay in the Czech Republic when Germany eventually stops accepting them, “which would then make Czech Republic to defend its boundaries with the police and army”.[118]
  •  Germany – German opposition to the government’s admission of the new wave of migrants has been an increasingly tense political debate, coupled with a rise in anti-immigration protests.[119] Pegida, an anti-immigration movement flourished briefly in late 2014, followed by a new wave of anti-immigration protests in the late summer of 2015.[120] Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that Germany has the economic strength to cope with the influx of migrants and reiterated that there is no legal maximum limit on the number of migrants Germany can take.[121] In September 2015, enthusiastic crowds across the country welcomed arriving refugees and migrants. Christian Social Union in Bavaria, the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union called Merkel’s decisions “wrong”,[122] while Yasmin Fahimi, secretary-general of the Social Democratic Party, the junior partner of the ruling coalition, praised Merkel’s policy allowing migrants in Hungary to enter Germany as “a strong signal of humanity to show that Europe’s values are valid also in difficult times”.[123]
  •  Hungary – Hungary has finished construction of a fence on its southern border with Serbia in late August 2015, according to the Hungarian Ministry of Defence. The fence consists of three strands of NATO razor wire, and is 175 kilometers long. The next phase involves construction of a wire fence which will be approximately 4 meters high. In August, describing Hungary as, “under siege from human traffickers”, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár announces that the government would, “defend this stretch of our borders with force”, deploying 9,000 police to keep illegal migrants out.[124]
  •  Italy – Some Italian towns and cities have refused instructions from the national government to house migrants.[125]
  •  Latvia – Latvia decided to receive 250 migrants in the next two years according to the EU plan. National Alliance party expressed its disapproval of such decision. On August 4, 2015 around 250 activists gathered in Riga on a protest against Government’s decision on receiving migrants.
  •  Lithuania – Lithuania decided to receive 325 migrants, although after the increase of migrant flow in August of 2015, its government didn’t discount the possibility of accepting a greater number of migrants later in the same year.[126]
  •  Poland – Government officials stated that the country is ready to take 2,000 refugees.[127]
  •  Portugal – In the next two years, Portugal is willing to offer shelter to 1,500 of the refugees flooding into Europe from the Mediterranean Sea. A source has told Diário de Notícias that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already presented its counter-proposal to the European Commission (EC), which wanted Portugal to absorb 2,400 refugees.[128]
  •  Slovakia – Government of Slovakia stated that it would help with migration into Europe by receiving 200 migrants according to the EU plan, but on condition that the migrants are Christians.[129] Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said: “I have only one question: who bombed Libya? Who caused problems in North Africa? Slovakia? No!” Prime Minister proposed temporary refuge in his country for 500 migrants who have submitted requests for aslyum in Austria, whose accommodation for refugees is overfilled, but as for 200 migrants that Slovakia will receive according to the EU plan, requires that these 500 are Christians as well.

International[edit]

On 6 September 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel rejected calls to accept Syrian refugees, attributing a lack of “demographic and geographic depth” for Israel to accommodate them.[130]

The Russian Federation released an official statement on 2 September 2015 that the United Nations Security Council was working on a draft resolution to address the European migrant crisis, likely by permitting the inspection of suspected migrant ships.[131]

The International Organization for Migration says that deaths at sea have increased ninefold after the end of Operation Mare Nostrum.[132] Amnesty International condemned European governments for “negligence towards the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean” which they say has led to an increase in deaths at sea.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticised the funding of search and rescue operations. Amnesty International says that the EU is “turning its back on its responsibilities and clearly threatening thousands of lives”.[133][134]

Pope Francis expressed his concern about the loss of life and urged EU leaders to “act decisively and quickly to stop these tragedies from recurring”.[135]

Australian PM Tony Abbott said the tragedies were “worsened by Europe’s refusal to learn from its own mistakes and from the efforts of others who have handled similar problems. Destroying the criminal people-smugglers was the centre of gravity of our border control policies, and judicious boat turnbacks was the key.”[136]

Political debate[edit]

European People’s Party[edit]

  • Christian Democratic Union of Germany – On 31 August 2015, according to The New York Times, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, in some of her strongest language theretofore on the immigrant crisis, warned that freedom of travel and open borders among the 28 member states of the EU could be jeopardised if they did not agree on a shared response to this crisis.[80]

Party of European Socialists[edit]

Eurosceptic parties[edit]

  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the appeal of Eurosceptic politicians has increased.[129]
  • Nigel Farage, leader of the British anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party and co-leader of the eurosceptic EFDD group, blamed the EU “and Germany in particular” for giving “huge incentives for people to come to the European Union by whatever means” and said that this would make deaths more likely. Additionally, he said that the EU’s Schengen agreement on open borders had failed and warned that Islamists could exploit the situation and enter Europe in large numbers, pointing out that “one of the Isil terrorist suspects who committed the first atrocity against holidaymakers in Tunisia has been seen getting off a boat onto Italian soil”.[140][141] In 2013, Farage had called on the UK government to accept more Syrian refugees.[142]