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The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known by the Arabic acronym Daʿish, and self-proclaimed as the Islamic State, is a Sunni, extremist, jihadist rebel group based in Iraq and Syria where it controls territory. It also operates in eastern Libya, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, and other areas of the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
The group claims religious authority over all Muslims and aspires to a macro state which includes many countries in the Middle East: Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, and part of Syria. ISIS is known for its uncompromising interpretation of Islam. The group is responsible for brutal violence against Shia Muslims and Christians.
The group's original aim was to establish an Islamic state in Sunni-majority regions of Iraq, and after it joined the Syrian Civil War, this extended to include Sunni-majority areas of Syria. On 29 June 2014, the group proclaimed a worldwide caliphate,
Mapping The Conflict
ISIS territory in Iraq and Syria tends to be describedas "swaths." The estimated size of these swaths, which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in June, varies widely in reports, from 12,000 square miles" an area –the size of Belgium,
The self-proclaimed caliphate stretches from the newly conquered towns along the Syrian-Turkish border, through its de-facto capital of Raqqa, in northern Syria, across the obliterated Iraqi border into Mosul, Tikrit, and Falluja, down to the farming towns south of Baghdad roughly a third of the territory of both [Iraq and Syria].
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is now in control of 35 percent of the Syrian territory following a string of victories, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday.
ISIS holdings include nearly all of Syria's oil and gas fields, the monitoring group said in a statement.
One of the latest gains of the self-proclaimed "caliphate" was the seizure of the country's biggest oil fields, in Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria, earlier in the week.
Deir Ezzor borders Homs province as well as Iraq, where the jihadist group has spearheaded a major Sunni militant offensive that has seen large swathes of territory fall out of the Baghdad government's control.
Locating the Conflict
To counter the Islamic Extremist Group ISIS, the United States and several Arab nations carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.
Tomahawk missiles launched from the sea began the strikes against the Sunni Muslim extremists, followed by bombers and fighters.
The bombing has focused on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, a city in northern Syria. ISIS has had control of Raqqa for more than a year, imposing its brutal interpretation of Islamic law on the city's residents.
The extremists have made the city, which sits on the banks of the Euphrates River, the de facto capital of their self-declared "Islamic State" that stretches across large areas of Syria and Iraq.
ISIS targets around other Syrian cities -- Deir Ezzor, Al Hasakah and Abu Kamal -- were also hit in the strikes.
All the foreign partners participating in the strikes with the United States are Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar.
"It's a remarkable diplomatic achievement," said CNN Political Commentator Peter Beinhart. "I don't think it was expected that there would be this much Arab support."
Analysis of Stakeholders
Stakeholders are defined as those individuals or groups who are directly or indirectly involved in the conflict so According to this there may be many other states Like United states of America, Saudi Arab, Iran, Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Qatar.
Conspiracy theorists in the Arab world have advanced rumors that the US is secretly behind the existence and emboldening of ISIL, as part of an attempt to further destabilize the Middle East.
By viewing ISIS as an opportunity to "reset" its relations with Iran, Washington can help Tehran become a constructive player in the conflict and weaken the potential for it to act as a spoiler.
While a threat to U.S. interests, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) presents US with a unique opportunity to "reset" the Middle East equation to actively transform regional relations, to abate the cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia and to forge a new working relationship with Iran. As the United States moves to escalate its war against ISIS and forge a coalition against the terrorist group, it is important that Iran be included in the process. After all, U.S. and Iranian interests have increasingly converged in the Middle East with the emergence of a common enemy, and no power in the region is better suited to taking on ISIS than Iran and its affiliated Shi'a militias in Iraq.
Just as importantly, Iran will have to be a key part of any meaningful solution to regional instability and any effort to help sustain a new unity government in Iraq. By formally acknowledging the role it can play in the conflict, Iran can be guided into becoming a constructive stakeholder in a more inclusive Middle East order.
Despite its public statements, Iran has already signaled its willingness to cooperate on ISIS. Iran's decision to remove its support from former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was not primarily driven by fear or simply a response to the grave threat posed by ISIS as commonly perceived in the West but rather a demonstration of its own flexibility and accommodation with regional powers. Based on my conversations with the conservative elite in Tehran during the summer, the Iranian leadership does not view ISIS as a serious threat to the country, but rather an opportunity for further empowerment not just for Iran, but for the larger Shi'a community and the "popular militias" in Iraq as they become entrenched as a consequence of the conflict. Iran's influence in Iraq has certainly expanded with the ISIS offensive. By rapidly moving to support the Shi'a militias at the very beginning of the conflict, Iran has effectively gained the support of the Iraqi Shi'a as they have been pushed toward Iran as a source of protection. Iranian influence has also increased over the Sunni Kurds as it has helped them establish a buffer zone on its Western frontier.
Iran's decision to facilitate Maliki's removal signals the leadership's intent and willingness to cooperate with regional countries and the United States in search of a political solution instead. This intent is most clearly demonstrated by the prominent role played by Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the chairman of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, when he traveled to Iraq to broker an agreement on a new unity government. Shamkhani's role is important for two reasons. First, not only is he a moderate in the Iranian political spectrum appointed last year by President Rouhani but he is also an Iranian of Arab origin who is believed to be held in high esteem by the Saudi King. Both his appointment and his recent visit to Iraq signal Iran's desire to pursue rapprochement with the Saudis and abate sectarianism.
Second, Shamkhani's role demonstrates that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards work within the constitutional boundaries of the state operating within, rather than outside, the Supreme National Security Council to discuss and negotiate Iran's role in Iraq. This development was particularly striking, since the security files of Iraq and Syria belong to the Revolutionary Guards and the position of the Guards has only strengthened with the escalation of the ISIS conflict. By working within the Council, the Guards opened the space and possibility for greater foreign cooperation, allowing the Iranian government to influence and coordinate with the Guards based on government discussions with the Iraqis and external powers.
These positive signals, however, seem to contravene Iran's growing declarations that it will not engage U.S. efforts against ISIS. It also begs the question of why Iran would cooperate with the United States or an Arab coalition if it perceives itself to be strengthened by the conflict and if it considers ISIS to be a foreign conspiracy. Of course, it is not likely that Iran will work with the United States openly, due to the historical relations between the two countries, but it may do so within a regional framework that formalizes Iran's role and protects its interests in the Middle East. In other words, Iran is looking at the larger picture and vision it has for the future Middle East beyond ISIS and will base its foreign policies on two driving considerations: Iran's role in the security architecture of the region, including in Syria, and the increasing sectarian nature of conflicts and politics in the Middle East. If cooperation preserves Iran's role in the region and diminishes sectarian strife, Iran will cooperate. For Iran to do so explicitly and publicly will depend on how it sees itself to be accepted and incorporated as part of this process one from which it sees itself largely excluded thus far.
By viewing ISIS as an opportunity to "reset" its working relation with Iran in the region, the United States can help Iran become a constructive player in the conflict and weaken the potential for it to act as a spoiler or destabilizing force. Moreover, it will allow the United States to make effective use of Iranian power and the Shi'a militias in opposing ISIS, by far the best regional means of military boots on the ground. To do so, the United States must not only clarify its own vision for the Middle East, but also, just as importantly, persuade Saudi Arabia to cooperate and work with the Iranians. Yes, engaging Iran and incorporating it as part of the Middle East order will be a daunting task fraught with its own risks, particularly at a time when the nuclear negotiations are taking place. But not doing so will only further exacerbate the ongoing conflict in a direction that will be worse not only for the entire Middle East, but for U.S. interests as well.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) used to have a different name: al Qaeda in Iraq.
Rise of ISIS: US troops and allied Sunni militias defeated al Qaeda in Iraq during the post-2006 "surge" but it didn't destroy them. The US commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, described the group in 2010 as down but "fundamentally the same." In 2011, the group rebooted. ISIS successfully freed a number of prisoners held by the Iraqi government and, slowly but surely, began rebuilding their strength.
ISIS and Jaabhat al-Nusra tried to compete each other but Jaabhat al-Nusra was not strong enough to compete and ISIS made their Hold in Iraq and initiated actions against Shia Muslims and the Syrian Regime. And later on the both parties forms Coalition.
ISIS claimed that it controlled Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al-Qaeda splinter in Syria, and defied orders from al-Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to back off. "This was the first time a leader of an al-Qaeda franchise had publicly disobeyed" a movement leader, he says. ISIS also defied repeated orders to kill fewer civilians in Syria, and the tensions led to al-Qaeda disavowing any connection with ISIS in a February communiqué.
Today, ISIS and al-Qaeda compete for influence over Islamist extremist groups around the world. Some experts believe ISIS may overtake al-Qaeda as the most influential group in this area globally.
ISIS wants to establish a caliphate: They want complete failure of the government in Iraq. They want to establish a caliphate in Iraq
The conflict between Iraqi Sunnis and Shias sustains ISIS: A majority of Iraqis are Shias, but Sunnis ran the show when Saddam Hussein, himself Sunni, ruled Iraq. Saddam spread a false belief, still surprisingly persistent today, that Sunnis were the real majority in Iraq
Iran is fighting on the Iraqi government's side: The Iranian government is Shia, and it has close ties with the Iraqi government. Much like in Syria, Iran doesn't want Sunni Islamist rebels to topple a friendly Shia government. So in both countries, Iran has gone to war.
The US has launched a campaign to destroy ISIS: On September 10, the United States announced a comprehensive strategy for destroying ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. The campaign centers an expanded air war against ISIS in both countries and the provision of arms and training to local allies on the ground the Iraqi army, the Kurdish peshmerga, and "moderate" Syrian rebels.
ISIS has made significant territorial gains in Iraq: ISIS' major breakthrough was a victory in Mosul, a northern Iraqi city and the country's second most populous.
Utilizing tools for conflict analysis
Tool that can help in assessing the causes and effects of a conflict is the conflict tree and the other one is The Circle of Conflict.
The conflict tree symbolizes the core problem of the conflict (represented by the trunk of the tree),
The underlying causes (represented by the roots of the tree)
The effects of the conflict (represented by the branches and leaves of the tree).
Causes of Conflict
In order to take revenge from Shia an Islamic militant group was formed named as ISIS and they also wants to carve out an Islamic state and complete failure of the government in Iraq. in Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shia Muslim, has built a Shia sectarian state and refused to take steps to accommodate Sunnis. Police have killed peaceful Sunni protestors and used anti-terrorism laws to mass-arrest Sunni civilians. ISIS cannily exploited that brutality to recruit new fighters.
Core Problems of Conflict
ISIS is a Sunni extremist group. It follows an extreme interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence, and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels.
ISIS compels people in the areas that it controls to declare Islamic creed and live according to its interpretation of Sunni Islam and sharia law. There have been many reports of the group's use of death threats, torture and mutilation to compel conversion to Islam, and of clerics being killed for refusal to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State. ISIS directs violence against Shia Muslims, indigenous Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac and Armenian Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Shabaks and Mandeans in particular.
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.
ISIS wants to establish a caliphate as they want complete failure of the government in Iraq they want to establish a caliphate in Iraq. Establishment
Effects of the Conflict
By 2014, ISIL was increasingly being viewed as a militia rather than as a terrorist group. As major Iraqi cities fell to ISIL in June 2014.
Jessica Lewis, a former US 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.
"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"
The Circle of Conflict
ISIS want to over throw the Iraqi Govt.
Arab countries want to counter ISIS.
The Rise of ISIS.
Shia Muslims Vs Sunni Muslims.
Middle East against ISIS
UN involvement in certain framework
Wahabismvs Shiasm and Christianity
Relationships: There is Rivalry between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims