ISIS - a militant organization

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Founded in 2004 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi during the formation of al Qaeda by Osama Bin Laden. The militant organisation has gone through several name changes, including ISI and ISIS. Its main influence is felt in Syria and Iraq. It is a prominent terrorist organization that has terrorized and controlled most of the Middle East by killing innocent people and destroying temples and landmarks. The radical group rules by presenting wrong reasons in Islam, which explains why it participates in warfare. Nonetheless, the group ruling is now being opposed by over 62 nations, with the United States leading the charge. Despite other militant groups globally pledging allegiance to it, their efforts are continued to be laid back by the anti-Isis coalition groups.

Key Words: ISI, ISIS, Syria, Iraq

Countering Isis

Isis roots can be traced back to 2004 when "al Qaeda in Iraq was formed. One of Osama Bin Laden's al Qaeda associates known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the one who founded Isis. Al Qaeda aimed to remove the western occupation in Iraq thereby replacing it with a Sunni Islamic regime. However, the United States started an invasion of the country in 2003, and during an airstrike in 2006, Zarqawi was killed. Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri took over thereby renaming the group to "ISI" that meant "Islamic State of Iraq." Nonetheless, Masri died in 2010 during a US invasion making Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the groups’ new leader. At the onset of civil war in Syria, ISI managed to gain ground in the region by defeating the Syrian forces. The militant group officially changed its name in 2013 to "ISIS" that stood for "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" ("ISIS - Facts & Summary -", 2017). In this article, the counterterrorism of ISIS is going to be widely discussed with factors such as the groups' leadership change and splintering, the pledge of allegiance, transnational impact, existing counterterrorism, and recommended counterterrorism being elaborated.

Pledges of Allegiances

Isis remains to be one of the dominant militant terror groups in the world due to its vast networks of members and funds. Its influence has managed to lure around 34 terror groups worldwide that have pledged allegiance to the group. In 2015, the extremist group managed to generate from oil and its products about $400-$500 million in spite of an embargo ("34 militant groups have pledged allegiance to ISIS: Ban Ki-moon", 2016).

Leadership Change and Splintering

Ever since Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took power from Masri in 2010, the group has been faced with tough challenges after also the formation of anti-Isis coalition group in 2014 that comprises of 62 countries globally. In 2016 alone, several states with the US taking lead have managed to carry out raids and airstrikes that have managed to kill or capture Isis high ranking officials. Currently, the group finances have taken a critical low down while losing control of some of their territories following the report from the Russian Defense Ministry who claimed that they might have killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike in their operations in May (Boghani, 2017). The group is now reported to be splintering following the unconfirmed report of the death of al-Baghdadi whereby there has been a bloody competition of power with Abu Haitham al-Obaidi, the deputy to the ISIS, self-declaring himself as the new leader of the group. However, the group has not released official confirmation that he is their new leader since other contestants still eyeing for the position such as Ayad al-Jumaili and Iyad al-Obaidi who were former Iraqi Army officers during the reign of Saddam Hussein (Evans & Allen, 2017).

Transnational Impact

In 2014, an anti-Isis coalition managed to mobilize over 62 nations in a bid to defeat the militant group (Wordsworth, 2014). Allies involved agreed to provide military equipment and support the goal of eradicating the group. However, their plan since it was put place has managed to reduce the number of attacks and influence outside ISIS main bases. The map shows the sections that the group has managed to conquer and the places that it has in the world. (Yourish, Watkins, Giratikanon & Lee, 2017)

Existing Counterterrorism

Isis is one of the major terror groups that threaten the world peace. Through its attacks, many people are killed in the attacks. World leaders continue trying to place strategies to fight the group, but they have failed. For instance, more than 1,200 individuals outside Syria and Iraq were killed in attacks that were either coordinated or inspired by the group (Yourish, Watkins, Giratikanon & Lee, 2017). Circles represent the rate of deaths in the diagram below. (Yourish, Watkins, Giratikanon & Lee, 2017)

Recommended Counterterrorism

Containment can be utilized in the military campaign against the militant group. The approach helps in weakening ISIS from its hold in the territories that it has seized and prevented it from basically gaining more territories. Its ability to access resources is also limited (Posen, 2015).

Another approach is taking on the groups' version of Islam since it developed its twisted arguments regarding the reasons it engages in war crimes, which are mostly prohibited by the Sheria law. Majority of their followers and members take their interpretation as the truth; however, when correct arguments on the Islam law are made, they will lose them. The arguments need to reach the right audience faster mainly through the social media (Stern & Berger, 2015).


ISIS - Facts & Summary - (2017). Retrieved 10 November 2017, from

Stern, J., & Berger, J. (2015). A 6-Point Plan to Defeat ISIS in the Propaganda War. Time. Retrieved 10 November 2017, from

Posen, B. (2015). The Case for Containing ISIS. The Atlantic. Retrieved 10 November 2017, from

Yourish, K., Watkins, D., Giratikanon, T., & Lee, J. (2017). How Many People Have Been Killed in ISIS Attacks Around the World. Retrieved 10 November 2017, from

Wordsworth, A. (2014). Anti-ISIS coalition has mobilized up to 62 nations and groups. National Post. Retrieved 10 November 2017, from

Boghani, P. (2017). Inside the Rise and Reign of ISIS's Leader. FRONTLINE. Retrieved 10 November 2017, from

Evans, N., & Allen, G. (2017). Now ISIS wants to fight itself. mirror. Retrieved 10 November 2017, from

34 militant groups have pledged allegiance to ISIS: Ban Ki-moon. (2016). Retrieved 10 November 2017, from

May 02, 2023

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Al-Qaeda Terrorism

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