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A bunch of dildos[1] DAESH's version of the jihadist black flag,Wikipedia featuring the shahada,Wikipedia with the latter part inscribed on a white impression of the Seal of Muhammad.Wikipedia Several other jihadist groups have also used this flag design.
Party Like It's 632
Icon islam.svg
Turning towards Mecca
Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. [...] Whereas socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people "I offer you a good time," Hitler has said to them "I offer you struggle, danger and death," and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.
George Orwell, making a very ominous statement about the human psyche[2]
Daesh hates being referred to by this term, and what they don’t like has an instinctive ­appeal to me. I absolutely refuse to refer to it by the title that it claims for itself (Islamic State), because I think this is a perversion of religion and a travesty of governance. I’ve never used that term and I would strongly counsel people against ever using the presumptuous title that they have given themselves.
Tony Abbott[3]

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), was previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), the Mujahideen Shura Council,[4] Organization of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia (informally referred to as al-Qaeda in Iraq)[5] and Organization of Monotheism and Jihad[6][7] and currently self-describes itself as the Islamic State[8] (they really like changing their name). The Arabic World knows them pejoratively by the acronym داعش, typically romanizedWikipedia as DAESH. This acronym is basically just the Arabic version of "ISIL", based on the Arabic name ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fīl-ʿIrāq wash-Shām. Its use is considered pejorative because it sounds similar to the Arabic words دائس (Daes) and داهس (dahes), that both describe someone who "tramples" upon others i.e. an oppressor. Since the romanization of Arabic is typically based on pronunciation rather than spelling, some confusion may arise from several letters of the English acronym not matching any initial letters of the Arabic transliteration. If this bothers you, feel free to pretend it stands for Dumb Asshole Extremist Shi'a Haters instead.[9]

The group is a violent Salafi-jihadist, militaristic, expansionist, and anti-Shi'a terrorist group consisting of insurgents and foreign fighters active in Iraq and Syria,[4] and has many affiliated groups operating in other countries, most notably Libya and Nigeria (with the group Boko Haram).

A crucial factor in the emergence of DAESH was the chaos, power vacuum, and the subsequent discriminatory Shi'a-dominated government backed by the US and its Coalition in the wake of the second Iraq war. The corrupt government, led by Nouri al-Maliki, alienated and disenfranchised huge portions of Iraqi Sunni populations, despite US attempts to increase Sunni involvement in the government such as the Sunni Awakening. In an interview with CNN, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, during whose tenure the UK joined the US in the invasion, was asked whether the invasion had been the "principal cause" of the rise of DAESH. Blair candidly replied: "I think there are elements of truth in that."[10] At the second Democratic Debate of presidential candidates for the 2016 U.S. election, Bernie Sanders declared: "I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely ... and led to the rise of al-Qaeda and to ISIS."[11]

Republicans have been keen to link the rise of DAESH to Barack HUSSEIN Osama Obama's disastrous Middle East policies, claiming that he underestimated the threat posed by the group. President and professional dickhead Donald Trump has even gone so far as to suggest that he is the literal founder of DAESH, with "Crooked Hillary" being the co-founder.[12] To which a Clinton surrogate issued a tu quoque statement that "Trump and his friend Putin" were the real founders of DAESH.[13] Neither of which, incidentally, is true. The truth is that ISIS can trace its origins back to as early as 1999, when it was founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as an extremist anti-Shi'a organization called Jamaat al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad.[14][15] Zarqawi had an extreme hatred of the Shi'a, blaming them for nearly everything that had ever gone wrong in the history of Islam, including the failure of the Ottoman Empire to conquer all of Europe. Additionally, he had an unsurprising hatred of "polytheists", Americans, Jews, Kurds, and anyone who disagreed with him.

In 2014, DAESH seized a significant amount of turf in Syria and Iraq and declared the occupied territories they controlled to be a sovereign state and a new Caliphate under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Iraqi Army, under the Western-backed government, was a highly-corrupt institution and was unable to stop even a qualitatively-worse opponent. Local jihadist bands in the non-contiguous areas of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sinai, Gaza,[16] Afghanistan, Pakistan,[17] Libya, Algeria, the Philippines, the Caucasus, and several Central Asian republics as well as Muslim-majority regions of the Russian Federation have sworn allegiance to the Caliphate, and many now are considered by the Islamic State as provinces.[18] Nigeria's Boko Haram movement has expressed support for Baghdadi as Caliph[19] and has ostensibly been accepted by DAESH as part of the Islamic State.[20] DAESH also boasts legions of lone-wolf operatives worldwide in the global jihad.

Internal organization and ideology[edit]

DAESH is a peculiar amalgamation of Salafism/takfirismWikipedia and Ba'athism.[21] The dominant strain believes in an absolute rejection of any innovation (bid'ahWikipedia) since the times of Mohammad. Any diversion from a literal reading of the Gospel According To Wile E. Coyote[22] Qur'an and the Hadith is blasphemy, and must be eradicated. All people and cultures judged as not conforming to DAESH's interpretation of Islam, which notably includes Jews, "Crusaders" (Westerners and Christians), "Rafidah"[23] (principally Iranians but applies to all Shi'a), Alawites,Wikipedia gays,[24] and atheists, are to be annihilated.[25]

The other strand in its hierarchy and leadership is Ba'athism, a network of disenfranchised military commanders from the de-Baathification process who joined forces while sitting in American prison camps between 2008 and 2010.[note 1] Even though Ba'athists are secular and always enforced a separation of religion and state, they have been credited with DAESH's military successes.[26] Ba'athists share with the Salafi leadership of DAESH a desire for rule by a self-appointed elite clique behind a single leader. The Ba'athist commanders see the Salafi-jihad ideology as more powerful a motivating force than stale secular political ideologies.

It remains to be seen how enthusiastically the Ba'athist military commanders will embrace the Salafi/takfiri ideology themselves.[27]

The main cabinet of DAESH at the height of its success had six members responsible for the areas of general management, prisons, security, finance, transport, and recruitment of foreign jihadis.[28]


Kurdish-trained women's self-defense forces in Iraq.

Unlike most terrorist organizations, DAESH is well-funded and its fanatical soldiers are said to be surprisingly competent fighters who are "very professional, well trained, motivated and equipped. They operate like a state with a military."[29] This isn't true as much anymore, seeing as tens of thousands of their fighters have been killed either by coalition airstrikes or in battle.

In its heyday, al-Qaeda was making about $25 to $30 million per year according to intelligence estimates; by contrast, DAESH was raking in approximately $2 million a day off its stolen oil wells (at mid 2014 prices), looted at least $400 million in cash and cash equivalents when it overran the Bank of Mosul, and has collected seven figure ransoms off its kidnapping ventures. Other sources include trafficking in women and children, selling dope, extortion, artifact looting from ancient sites (when not destroying the sites), and selling artifacts on black markets.

Amidst news that DAESH executed 19 girls[30] who didn't want to play their given roles in the fruition of the divine plan, the following document was revealed — a translation[note 2] of an actual, UN-verified[31] DAESH "pricing menu" aimed at discerning militant shoppers on the lookout for additional rape-slaves;

We have received news that the demand in Women and Cattle market has sharply decreased and that will affect Islamic State revenues as well as the funding of mujahideen in the battlefield, therefore we have made some changes. Below are the prices for Yazidi and Christian women.

The price for Yazidi or Christian women between the age of 40 - 50 is $43 (£27)

$75 (£48) for 30 to 40-year-olds

$86 (£55) for 20 to 30-year-olds

$130 (£83) for ten to 20-year-olds

$172 (£110) for one to nine-year-olds

Customers are allowed to purchase only three items with the exception of customers from Turkey, Syria and Gulf countries.

Dated and sealed by ISIS in Iraq October 16, 2014.

Buyers beware of your rights ("only three items per customer!"), as the document contains no money back or return policy for if and when these women have been driven past the point of self-mutilation and suicide. The DAESH clerical promise that Allah condones this practice will simply "have to do" in terms of additional benefits for the poor militants.

Although the above document was verified by a senior UN official, blogger and the Middle East Forum fellow Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi argued that the document is a forgery.[32] However, Yazidi rights activist Nadia Murad gave a first-person account of gang rape (euphemistically called "sexual jihad") and of women and girls as young as 10-years old being sold as sex slaves.[33]

Regional and outside allegiances[edit]

Aftermath of a Boko Haram attack in Nigeria.

In November 2014, DAESH leader Ibrahim al-Badri announced the formation of wilayats, or provinces of the Islamic State within Libya, Algeria, Yemen, the Sinai, and Saudi Arabia. Badri further acknowledged followers in Tunisia and Morocco without granting them wilayat status. The 5th edition of DAESH's propaganda rag Dabiq the same month acknowledged supporters in “Khurasan (Afghanistan), al-Qawqaz (Caucasus), Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, and elsewhere.” DAESH claimed it would establish wilayat in these areas eventually, with "either the appointment or recognition of leadership by the Khalifah for those lands where multiple groups have given bay’at (allegiance) and merged, or the establishment of a direct line of communication between the Khalifah and the mujahid leadership of lands who have yet to contact the Islamic State and thus receive information and directives from the Khalifah."

With the defection of Boko Haram in West Africa from al-Qaeda, DAESH's manpower was estimated to have risen 40-50%, from about 30,000 to about 45,000. Additionally, while regional and Western powers were able to make it somewhat more difficult for foreign fighters to access Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram controlled territories of West Africa have opened a second front for foreign recruits.

A database of personal data on 22,000 names and personal data was stolen from the head of the DAESH internal security police, and was obtained by Western security forces from a DAESH defector in March 2016.[34] The independent Syrian news site Zaman Al Wasl reported that the 1736 fighters were from 40 countries but that only 1.7% were Syrian vs. 25% Saudi, where the highest number of fighters originate.[35] However, due to battlefield defections, it is entirely possible that Daesh leadership intentionally allowed the fighters' names to slip so foreign fighters would not leave for fear of being prosecuted by their home countries.


The city of Raqqa in Syria was known as the unofficial capital of DAESH. In February 2015, it was reported that the Governor of Raqqa was executed for plotting a coup against the leadership.[36] Mass arrests and mass executions of foreign volunteers along with stolen cash and defections have also been reported.[37] Tensions have been reported in the ranks because of inequitable pay disparities and distribution of the loot between foreign fighters — usually Europeans — and the local homies from Syria or Iraq.[38]

Managing the occupation[edit]

Captured kufr[39] women herded off to a slave market. Prices range between $10 to $172 based on age according to the official government recommended price list. Girls below the age of 9 are the most costly.[40]

While DAESH is said to place a high premium on the religious views of its foreign recruits, it suffers from a shortage of qualified imams in towns under its occupation in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq. It has been forced to use imams with limited religious training in Sunni-controlled mosques of the Naqshbandi order or its Khaznawi branch before DAESH arrived.[41]

The Al-Khansaa BrigadeWikipedia is an all-female police force tasked with compelling compliance from women with the organization's religious decrees. Extreme cruelty and human rights abuses by the women have been reported.[42] Women under the age of 50 are forbidden to travel without a mahrim, a male escort of sorts, and everyone is required to possess travel documents and IDs issued by the local shariah Gestapo. Travel to kufr[39] lands is forbidden, except for medical purposes where infidels have been blessed by Allah with superior medical knowledge and treatment facilities.[43]

A recruitment guidebook for foreign fighters advertises, "There are no classes promoting homosexuality, evolution, music, drama, interfaith, and the rest of the rubbish taught in non-Muslim schools. Your child’s delicate mind is well and truly protected in the Caliphate.”[44]

Foreign fighters[edit]

Uncle Muhammad Wants You. Recruiting poster for foreign jihadis.[45]

As of June 2015, DAESH is estimated to have successfully recruited 25,000 foreign fighters from 100 countries.[46] DAESH is estimated to have lost about 1200 fighters per month while adding approximately 1250 recruits per month between the fall of Mosul in mid 2014 and the fall of Ramadi in mid 2015.[47] While American commanders boast of killing 10,000 jihadis since June 2014, DAESH's overall manpower strength has increased to where its foreign contingents alone equal overall estimates from the previous year.[48]

One key recruitment tool for foreign fighters is the advertisement of female sex slaves from captured territories.[note 3] Girls are said to be sold for as little as a pack of cigarettes ($12-13), according to U.N. Special Envoy Zainab Bangura.[49]

The largest group comes from Saudi Arabia, followed by Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, France, Belgium, the Russian Federation, and many other countries. A big concern is, even if DAESH were to be degraded and destroyed, these seasoned jihadis will be free to travel to their country of origin and continue their battle-hardened brainwashed jihad at home.[50]

Racism and anti-Shi'ism[edit]

DAESH is responsible for the ethnic cleansing of all sects and races they disagree with,[51] as well as consistent civilian casualties (they love to accept Black African converts, though). They give all civilians the option of forced conversion to their particular interpretation of Islam, extortion, or death in an attempt to Sunnify and de-Shi'ify the Levant. Sometimes they execute converts anyway to keep them "pure". The brutality is such that an entire group of people absolutely no one heard of before August of 2014 (well, kinda), the Yazidis, were at risk of genocide. Thousands of Yazidis were killed on 3rd August in the Yazidi majority town of Sinjar, and many more enslaved. Although considering their treatment of people under their rule, pretty much anyone non-Muslim, or a Muslim that isn't a Sunni (actually even then: ISIS executes 13 Sunni clerics for refusal to join them), or a Muslim of a different ethnic group, or gay, or a woman, or… Well, suffice to say, genocide against the Yazidis would not be where they stop.

The group is also known for their anti-Shi'aism, and demonstrated this by attacking Shi'as and blowing up the Uwais al-Qarni Mosque in May 2014.[52] This requires a large bit of context, dating back to the 1979 Iranian revolution and the 1979 Grand Mosque takeover. Prior to the revolution, Iran and Saudi Arabia (and the US) were allies. Sure, one was Salafi (fundamentalist Sunni) and the other was mostly secular Shi'a, but hey, at least they weren't godless commies!

When the Shah was ousted from power by a number of people upset about being ruled by a Western-backed dictatorship, Ayatollah Khomeini maneuvered himself to the top of the heap. One of the first things he did was call for a worldwide revolution of all Shi'a Muslims, which scared just about every Sunni country with a Shi'a minority (e.g. Saudi Arabia). Soon after, but unrelated to the Ayatollah's call, a group more backward than the Saudis took hold of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and made calls for stricter Sharia. While we mock Saudi Arabia for being ultra-conservative, it's important to remember that there were large chunks of the population who were horrified when Saudi Arabia did such "progressive" things as legalizing photography and pretending to outlaw slavery. The Saudis were in a bit of a shock and initially assumed that the whole thing was staged by Iran. Iran was furious at the ultimately false accusation, but it didn't matter; the damage was done to Saudi-Iranian relations.

The Saudis responded in a number of ways, the relevant part was the denouncement of Shia in general; many Arabians who grew up in the 80's (e.g., the current leadership in ISIS) had been trained to believe that it was their divine duty to subjugate the Shia under Sunni "guidance". A number of events later, culminating in the Saudi decision to allow "foreign Crusaders" to station troops in Saudi Arabia to kill fellow Sunnis (the first Iraq War, because Allah forbid Saudi Arabia ever do it themselves), and a civil war of sorts occurred in the Salafi world. On one side was the mostly Saudi Salafis who still felt that the Saudis were the legitimate representatives of Islam, and the Salafis who did not. Both refer to themselves as "Salafi", but the latter refer to the former as "Wahhabi". While they agree on virtually everything else, one of the things they disagree on is the treatment of minorities. Whereas the Saudi Salafis were content with minorities (including Shia) existing so long as they were second or third class citizens, the other Salafis believed that the Wahhabis didn't go far enough and it was their divine duty was to eliminate everyone that wasn't a Salafi or a "people of the book" (Jews and Christians). Even then, the "people of the book" would eventually disappear one way or the other. There was disagreement on how this should be accomplished. Some such as the Muslim Brotherhood believe in (mostly) peacefully accomplishing this over a number of centuries through missionaries and so forth, relatively content so long as (fundamentalist) Islam was expanding.[53] The members of al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS, and so forth have the same goal of eventual world domination, but believe violence is acceptable if it gets to the conclusion sooner. And so, the rabid Shi'aphobia and other forms of anti-Shi'aism you see.

Early phases of insurgency[edit]

US soldier with a captured DAESH flag, all the way back in 2010.

Originally founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as the Group for Monotheism and Jihad, DAESH became known as al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2004 and later the Islamic State after the U.S. troop withdrawal in late 2011. It holds a designation as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States Department of State.[54] Its current leader Caliph Ibrahim al-Badri[55] was broken out of Abu Ghraib prison in July 2013 by DAESH along with several hundred other experienced jihadists.[56] On June 30, 2014, they declared themselves a Sunni caliphate with al-Badri as the “Commander of the Faithful,” a term essentially declaring him leader of all Muslims (which is not even true in Iraq, as fellow Sunni Kurds and Arabs fight against them).[57]

Expelled from al-Qaeda[edit]

DAESH was disowned by al-Qaeda in April 2013 for excess brutality toward civilians and the murder of al-Qaeda representatives and commanders.[58] (Yes, really.) Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian al-Qaeda branch, began fighting them.

DAESH has not been known for building alliances; rather, it demands subservience and allegiance. In late 2014, reports emerged of local al-Nusra militias making truces and agreements for joint operations;[59][60] however, this has proven to be misinformation and propaganda by DAESH to promote itself in the wider jihadist movement[61] and test their ability to manipulate mainstream Western media and influence their public image worldwide.

The remnants of Saddam's disenfranchised Ba'athist militia (JRTN) who have not joined DAESH have been fighting the Iranian backed Shi'a government in Baghdad. They appear to be the leading Sunni alternative to DAESH. Early on, local militias representing JRTN and DAESH did cooperate in Kurdistan, but later clashed in Anbar province.[62]

Invasion and occupation commences[edit]

Obliterating the Sykes-Picot line[edit]

During and immediately after the U.S. troop surge of 2007,Wikipedia core al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) commanders and jihadis crossed over the Sykes-Picot lineWikipedia into Syria, beyond the reach of American forces as authorized by law.[63] Here they regrouped and prepared for an eventual assault upon the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and a resumption of hostilities with the Shi'a-dominated Baghdad government as a draw-down of American forces took place with the change of control in Washington of Congress and the administration. When the time was right, DAESH advanced quickly across the Sykes-Picot and captured the city of Mosul — a city of 1,000,000 — with a force reported to be between 800 and 2,000 jihadis.[64]

In Mosul, DAESH seized 39,151 kg (about 88 pounds) of nuclear materials from the university's physics department.[65] In December 2014, an alleged DAESH weapons maker claimed on social media a "radioactive device" had entered Europe.[66] However, it is likely that they are too stupid to build a functioning nuclear weapon or even a dirty bomb, seeing as the most advanced weapons systems they have been able to make are crude rockets filled with poisonous chemicals.

In essence, the border in physical reality no longer exists, as DAESH has blown up most of the border posts. DAESH does not hold all of the border, however, as Iraqi Kurdistan still controls 150km of border with Syrian Kurdistan. Nonetheless, if you are a civilian living in DAESH territory in Syria and you want to visit friends or family in DAESH-held parts of Iraq, you can cross the border freely.

Course of the war[edit]

Nations at war with DAESH. DAESH (at its greatest extent in 2015) is in red, Coalition members are in blue, and other nation-state opponents are in green.

Immediately after the capture of Mosul, the insurgent coalition turned on itself. Fighting broke out between the Naqshbandiyah Order (JRTN), a band of Sufis, and Daesh.[67]

U.S. intervention[edit]

The Obama administration has since begun a campaign of targeted air strikes on DAESH forces in areas occupied by DAESH, first in Iraq (starting at Mount Sinjar to help save the Yazidis from genocide) before heading over to Syria to conduct strikes a few weeks later. A sizable chunk of their income is from the oil being sold on the black market. Recent US airstrikes on DAESH facilities has managed to significantly decrease their output.[68][69] However, it could be argued that the current war operation against DAESH is illegal, because it was done without Congressional authorization, let alone approval from the United Nations. The pretext used to legally justify the operation has been that because DAESH originated as an affiliate of al-Qaeda, the original 2001 "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists" was still applicable... even though DAESH was now actively fighting against al-Qaeda for control of the region. While this pretext is legally dubious at best, no one in a position to legally challenge it ever opted to do so, largely because most members of Congress preferred not to vote on a new authorization specific to DAESH (so that if the war had gone badly, they wouldn't have to defend the vote in their reelection bids). Nevertheless, America has received assistance from Australia, Canada, and Britain (all three of which have authorized it through their parliaments), with the Gulf monarchies (which don't need no steenkin' parliaments) and other Mideast states offering help. Jordan, meanwhile, has reportedly closed its borders to Syrian refugees[70] due in part to the risk of DAESH infiltrators, although the simple economic strain of being a small country that has taken on 618,000 refugees in 3 years was also probably a factor.[note 4]

Battle of Amerli[edit]

Amerli, a Shi'a Turkmen town of 15,000 about 100 miles northeast of Baghdad, fell to DAESH early during their advance. Iranian General Qassem Suleimani was dispatched to organize an assault to retake the town. The siege lasted two months and Amerli was retaken about September 5, 2014.

The Badr Organization,Wikipedia founded and staffed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards CorpWikipedia (IRCG) was in the forefront, assisted by the Jaysh al-Mahdi,Wikipedia renamed Saraya al-Salam, a Shi'a militia which fought against U.S. forces during the 2004-2011 insurgency, and Kurdish Peshmerga. The ground forces received air support and humanitarian assistance from the United States.

Kurds and Turks[edit]

Kurdish tank in northern Iraq.

Battle of Kobanî[edit]

There is evidence that airstrikes, when used in coordination with Kurdish and PKK ground forces, have been tactically helpful in driving DAESH militants back from many areas such as the Mosul Dam, Zumar, Rabia (in the Nineveh plains in Iraq), Sinjar, and Kobanî (a Kurdish city in Syria),[71] which sits on the border. Syrian Kurdish paramilitary spokesman Polat Can called the airstrikes "numerous and effective," but added that reluctance of the Turks stalled the operation.[72] Turks demanded a clear commitment in assisting the overthrow of the Assad government to help drive Iranian influence out of the Mediterranean coastal region.[73] The Siege of Kobanî — the center of a wheat-growing area necessary to the economy of DAESH to feed the population under occupation — lasted for 134 days and leveled 60% of the town.[74] Because so many Kurdish males had been exterminated by DAESH, female Kurdish fighters are credited with the ground victory.[75]

Reawakening the Awakening[edit]

The U.S. has had difficulty activating Sunni resistance as ground forces after abandoning the Iraqi Awakening CouncilsWikipedia organized during the "troop surge" of 2007-2009. These Sunni tribes were asked to help support the Shi'a Baghdad government against the insurgent Islamic State in Iraq. Many Sunni tribesmen who cooperated with the U.S. and the Shi'a dominated government have since either defected to DAESH or been executed en masse, their property plundered, and their wives and children enslaved. US-backed Sunni Arab rebels in Syria have an abysmal record against DAESH because basically none of them are willing to fight it.[76]

Gulf Cooperation Council[edit]

The US has assisted in helping to create a task force of Gulf states to battle DAESH.[77] The organization has long-term objectives to secure regional stability based upon the NATO model. Two non-Gulf states, Morocco and Jordan, are also included with overtures being made to others to join. Some of these countries have allowed use of US airbases for strikes, and some have even flown sorties themselves. However, none of these countries has deployed even a single soldier to fight DAESH on the ground, largely because they don't mind DAESH fighting the Shi'a Syrian and Iraqi governments.

Iranian intervention[edit]

Iran likewise has sent airstrikes in Iraq against DAESH but denies coordinating with the U.S. In Syria, the Assad government for a time was following on the heels of U.S. and coalition airstrikes to garner the impression on the ground that the U.S. was aiding the Assad government. Since al-Nusra acquired American TOW missiles this hasn't been a problem.[78]

Battle of Tikrit[edit]

In the Summer 2014 blitz, the Iraqi Air Force academy established by the U.S. at Tikrit, Camp Speicher, was a prime target. Over 1,700 unarmed cadets, mostly between the ages of 18 and 22, were savagely and brutally executed en masse in one of DAESH's first large-scale, publicly distributed videos of mass murder.

The Spring offensive to retake DAESH-occupied territory began only days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a speech to the U.S. Congress the danger of impending Iranian influence in the region. At the same time, Gen. Qasem Soleimani was appointed by the Ayatollah Khamenei as the battlefield commander of forces to retake the city of Tikrit from DAESH.[79][80] Solemeini is on a sanctions list by the United Nations for violations of international conventions on limiting nuclear proliferation.Wikipedia[81]

The force under Soleimani's command consisted of only about 4,000 Iraqi Security Forces and nearly 20,000 Shi'a militiamen, some considered terrorists by the U.S. State Department. When Iraq's senior cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani,Wikipedia issued a fatwa in June 2014 to defend the country,[82] most volunteers joined private militias (Popular Mobilization Forces (Iraq)Wikipedia) and not the U.S. backed Iraqi National Army, which suffered major defeats early on.[83] Ayatollah Sistani, in fact, commands his own militia, Al-Marjaeyya Soldiers Militia. Many other Shi'a militias, organized and funded by Iran during the Iraqi insurgency of 2003-2011, were motivated by anti-American propaganda emanating from Iran which purported DAESH to be a U.S. proxy. Some Sunni militias from the US-backed Iraqi Awakening Councils also participated.

After two weeks of fighting, heavily laden with IEDs, booby traps, and effective targeted suicide attacks, the Iranian-led attack force backed off. Shi'a forces suffered over 1000 casualties or 5% of the attacking force. The prime minister of Iraq requested US air support to help allied forces retake the city. The American Air Force heeded the call, and along with the Iraqi Air Force, began a series of precision air strikes.[84][85] Both the U.S. and Iran, while mired in controversial diplomatic negotiations over the future of Iran's nuclear programs, publicly denied coordination of military activity in Tikrit. After US airstrikes destroyed several key strategic bridges and command centers (including one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces), DAESH was squeezed inside the city and ultimately defeated in the course of a few days, with nearly all of the DAESH force of a few hundred killed or captured.

The Tide Turns[edit]

Raqqa after having the hell liberated out of it.

Russian intervention[edit]

Russian intervention began after terrorists allied to DAESH blew up one of their passenger airplanes; they officially joined in the fight, and began striking infrastructure that DAESH could use to support its occupation.[86][87] There were over 6,000 Russian airstrikes against rebel and DAESH forces, which averaged 60 sorties per day.

On February 26, 2016, a UN-brokered ceasefire in the Syrian Civil War took effect. The ceasefire was between the Syrian government and all rebel groups except for Daesh and al-Nusra. The ceasefire allowed the Syrian Army to shift thousands of troops to fight ISIS. The Army captured many areas from DAESH in the desert, and it conducted dozens of airstrikes against DAESH positions. The Army launched an offensive against the DAESH-held city of Palmyra, and succeeded in capturing the city and its surroundings.[88][89][90]

Suicide bombing competition[edit]

In 2014, a British DAESH fighter revealed to the BBC that there was a waiting list within DAESH to become suicide bombers.[91] In 2015, Chechen DAESH fighters were reportedly complaining that the suicide list in Syria was dominated by nepotistic Saudis, forcing other nationalities to go to Iraq where the list was shorter.[92]

Battle of Ramadi[edit]

In mid-2014, DAESH had captured the administrative hub of Ramadi through a long and arduous assault. Videotape emerged of Iraqi soldiers fleeing the battlefield en masse during the final assault. After the city fell, the United States coordinated with the Iraqi Security Forces to recapture the city. A months-long operation to surround the city succeeded in late 2014. By January 2015, the city had been recaptured after an intense battle between a DAESH force of 2,000 and an Iraqi force of 13,000. Much of the city was destroyed either in fighting or in US airstrikes. This battle showed DAESH was incapable of defending a large Sunni Arab city against an enemy force with air support, and the battle served as a 'test-run' for future battles in Fallujah and Mosul.

Battle of Fallujah[edit]

In early 2016, a wave of deadly car bombings killed hundreds of civilians in Baghdad. Everyone suspected that DAESH used Fallujah as a car bomb factory to send bombs to Baghdad whenever needed, as Fallujah was DAESH's closest base to Baghdad. Iraq announced the operation to liberate Fallujah in May.[93] Many Western and Sunni media outlets expressed fear that Shi'a militias, despite not being allowed to enter the city, might loot and destroy Sunni homes. These allegations proved largely untrue. ISF divisions, backed up by Shi'a popular militias, cleared most of the rural areas in the north, east, and south of the city.[94] ISF entered the city on May 31, but were halted due to a massive DAESH counterattack.[95] Allied forces later succeeded in taking the city, and built a trench to keep DAESH out for good.

Twilight of the Monotheists. The Battle of Mosul. In the distance is the al-Nuri Mosque.


Without Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, it was only a matter of time before the Kurds took Raqqa, which they did on October 17th, 2017, driving Daesh away from their capital city. Additional advances by the Kurds and the Syrian government drove Daesh out of most of Syria, reducing them to a rump state on the edges of Syria's eastern border.

On March 23, 2019, the Kurd forces announced the end of their caliphate after having taken the little territories Daesh held. Then, Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hid in a location in Idlib near Turkish boundary. U.S. Army Special Forces on October 26-27, 2019, located and cornered al-Baghdadi, who detonated a suicide vest in the firefight, killing himself and two children. Daesh acknowledged his death and appointed another caliph, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qureshi.

War crimes and atrocities[edit]

  • In an effort to provoke a wider confrontation with Saudi Arabia and its allies, DAESH has violated the territorial integrityWikipedia of Saudi Arabia, claiming responsibility for several bombings of Shi'a mosques killing scores of worshipers.[96]
  • Amnesty International reports DAESH killed 15 individuals, including 7 children, in the village of al-Tleiliye, Northern Syria. [1]
  • DAESH executed some 600 male inmates from a prison outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 10, 2014.
  • DAESH took credit for the wholesale massacre of 1700 cadets at Camp Speicher near Tikrit on June 11, 2014. The cadets were disarmed, and then executed en masse, after being taken prisoner.
  • On August 28, 2014, DAESH videotaped the mass execution of 220 unarmed, stripped naked soldiers captured at the Tabqa air base in Syria.[97]
  • 13 teenage boys were executed in Mosul for watching a soccer match between the apostate Jordanians and the rafida[23] Iraqis who lost the match on television.[98]
  • On September 22, 2014 survivors reported DAESH used chlorine gas against a regiment of the Iraqi National Army at Saqlawiya, near Fallujah.
  • The beheadings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid workers David Haines, Alan Henning, and Abdul-Rahman (formerly Peter Kassig) after his conversion to Islam.[99]
  • On 3 January 2015, a captured Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, was burned alive by DAESH militia.
  • The Yazidi enslavement, human trafficking, and genocide. According to human rights activist Nazand Begikhani, 2500 Yazidi women have been kidnapped; others estimates put the number upward of 4600 Yazidi women unaccounted for, and their male relatives executed.[100] The United Nations estimates around 5000 Yazidis have been murdered.
  • The all-female Al-Khansaa BrigadeWikipedia poured acid on the faces of 15 women in Mosul for not wearing regime-mandated gunny sacks over their heads.[101]
  • Ethnic cleansing of other minority groups, the Sabean Mandeans, Turkmen Shi'a, Shabak Shi'a, Alawite Shi'a, Coptic Christians, and Assyrian Christians, along with their children.[102][103] U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein maintains the photographic evidence of beheading 6-year-old children is authentic.[104]
  • A U.N. report put the death toll at the hands of DAESH in the first 8 months of 2014 at more than 9400, the majority of which were Muslims.[105]
  • DAESH crimes are not limited to non-Sunnis: "insolent" Sunni tribesmen and clerics who refuse to swear allegiance to the Caliphate have been murdered in vast numbers.[106]
  • With the fall of Palmyra in Syria in May 2015, DAESH executed at least 262 unarmed persons, including children, many in a public spectacle in the ancient Palmyra Coliseum built in Roman times.

Lone wolf attacks[edit]

DAESH's decentralized command structure allows for "operational independence" among sleeper cells and encourages so-called "lone wolf" attacks from sympathizers in target countries who have not had any direct training or are under direct control. The Salafi Islamic scholar Abū Muhammad al-‘Adnānī[107] issued a fatwa in late 2014 stating,

Strike their police, security, and intelligence members. If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.

Some American and Western counterintelligence agencies have had difficulty coming to terms with these "lone wolf attacks", reluctant to hold DAESH responsible without evidence of operational planning, despite a lone wolf perpetrator leaving a videotaped message swearing allegiance to the Caliph and the Islamic State. The Islamic State's own propaganda rag boasts[108]

A general in a conventional army couldn’t possibly hope to have such power over men he’d never met on the other side of the world… to actually step up and [kill] at the behest of a man they had never met, never seen, fighting in a country several thousand miles away… with nothing more than words and a shared belief in the act of worship that is jihad.

  • In Queens, New York, Zale Thompson attacked four policemen with a hatchet.
  • In Australia, Numan Haider stabbed two counter-terrorism police officers.
  • Two Canadian soldiers were run over in Quebec by Martin Couture-Rouleau.
  • In the Canadian capital of Ottawa, a soldier was shot and killed in front of the War Memorial by 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on 22 October 2014, who then entered Canada’s Parliament building looking for other targets before being shot and killed by police.
  • Belgium. A French citizen named Mehdi Nemmouche killed four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.[109]
  • Amedy Coulibaly killed a French policewoman and four customers at a kosher supermarket in Paris.[110][111]

A few or more wolves[edit]

  • An Algerian group beheaded French mountain guide Hervé Gourdel.[112]
  • Two DAESH fighters were killed and a security guard shot in the ankle in an attempted disruption of a "Draw Mohammad" event in Texas. DAESH officially claimed responsibility.[113]
  • DAESH has also claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner, and a coordinated attack in Paris which killed over 100 people.[114]
  • They are also responsible for the 2015 bombings in Beirut, Lebanon[115] and Baghdad, Iraq.[116]
  • DAESH has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a bus in the Tunisian capital of Tunis, carried out on the 24th of November, 2015. The bus was carrying members of Tunisia's presidential guard. 15 people were killed.

Attacks in Paris[edit]

On the evening of November 13, 2015, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked restaurants, bars, the Bataclan concert hall, and the Stade de France within a span of around 20 minutes, killing 130 people.[117] The day after the attack, DAESH claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating that they would be "the first of the storm".[118]

Attacks in Brussels[edit]

On the morning of March 22, 2016, at least three bastards two suicide bombers and at least one collaborator attacked Brussels' airport as well as Maalbeek metro station killing 32 people and injuring more or less another 250.[119]

Positive civil government achievements[edit]


Unintended positive achievements[edit]

  • Encouraging the world public to seek to preserve ancient monuments.
  • Caused Saudi Arabia to open the oil production spigots, driving world prices down to $30 a barrel, resulting in (1) lowering DAESH black market oil revenues to about $10 a barrel, (2) increased consumer spending in the U.S. about $1000 per household, which (3) led to a retail hiring boom in the U.S, lowering unemployment to 4.9%.[120]

Conspiracy theories[edit]

To no one's surprise, conspiracy theorists have argued that DAESH is a U.S./Israeli creation, intended to further destabilize the region and to possibly be used in an attempt to overthrow Assad, rather than seeing ISIS's emergence as a by-product of disastrous but overt U.S. intervention.[121] As a conspiracy theory this is all bullshit, ascribing secret plotting to policies that were supported and sold by both the U.S. political class and the U.S. media.[122][123]

There is a degree of overlap in American and DAESH goals: they both hate Iran and they both want Assad out of Syria, which is why Washington wasn't really that eager to do much when the CIA-armed Syrian opposition began flocking to the Islamic State. It was only after DAESH attacked oil-rich Iraq that Washington got involved. It is also true that DAESH originated from al Qaeda in Iraq, a byproduct of the 2003 invasion. Al Qaeda in Iraq reemerged as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, one of the strongest Islamist groups fighting against the Assad government in Syria, with help from the CIA, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, but to say they were planted there as a false flag operation is downright silly.

Others, notably Iranian exile groups, claim DAESH was "created in Iraq by [former Iraqi Premier Maliki] and the Iranian regime"[124] as a means to expand Iranian power and influence over Iraq and gain sympathy from residence of Sunni refugee camps in and around Baghdad.

Iran itself, to expedite recruiting for its proxy militias in Iraq and elsewhere, has spread the myth that the United States has been supplying DAESH. The story began when 1 large weapons box (~1 ton) in an airdrop intended for Kurdish fighters fighting DAESH accidentally fell into DAESH's hands.[125] Alex Jones, RT, and the lot seized on this opportunity to claim that this is proof the US supports ISIS, even though they neglect the fact that 26 other weapons packages were delivered to the enemies of DAESH on the same day. Iran's anti-American propaganda has been effective: the United States is seen by many Shi'as as a more dangerous bogeyman and fighting DAESH is the best way to counter the spread of American influence. When the Iraqi Army does manage to scrounge up a victory, they don't credit the US, with some even accusing the US of bombing in support of DAESH, when in fact it was the Iraqi air force that mistakenly bombed their own soldiers.[126]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. "the DAESH leadership council is 100 percent Iraqi, saying that Baghdadi would not accept any other nationality, since he does not trust anyone. The number of people in the council always changes, ranging between 8 and 13 people. The leadership of the council is held by three former Iraqi army officers who served during the regime of Saddam Hussein." January 10, 2014. They are, Abu Ayman al-Iraqi aka Abu Mohammad al Sweidawi, Senior Leader and Member of the Military Council, Former Colonel in Saddam-era Air Force Intelligence; and Abu Abdulrahman al Bilawi aka Adnan Ismail Najm, Former Senior leader of Military Council, Killed in Anbar Province June 2014; Fadil Ahmad Abdallah Hayyali aka Abu Muslim al Turkmani, Deputy to al-Baghdadi, Former Lt. Col. in Saddam-era military intelligence, reported dead near Mosul November 2014.
  2. A translated version of the document was shared online by humanitarian and peace prize winner Dr Widad Akrawi.
  3. So much for women being sacred.
  4. Jordan has taken almost 2 million Palestinian refugees in the recent past, along with other groups.


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