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  What Is ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)? (1)

Ismail Mollagil
2017 11 30

The problem of ISIL, like other problems of the Middle East, resembles the Matryoshka doll. When you open one of them, there is another one inside. The opinions of specialists on this issue differ significantly. In this article, we will try to present different opinions on ISIL.


The goal of ISIL is to expand the sphere of its influence, to get part of lands belonging to Iraq, Syria, Northern Jordan and Palestine, and to create on this territory a state existing under the Sharia law.

The northern regions of the Middle East are the main area of ISIL activities. This organization has great influence in Iraq and Syria, where many Sunni Muslims live. Due to the fact that ISIL shares material values with the residents of occupied cities, people give this organization full support, which allows ISIL to maintain its existence for a long time.

ISIL receives support from both large organizations like Al-Qaeda and smaller groups.

ISIL does not hesitate to turn guns on the civil population in Syria and Iraq. In both countries, the activists of ISIL kill people of any ethnic, religious or confessional affiliation with no mercy. Among their victims, there are Muslim Kurds and Turkmen, Christians, Iraq citizens and Yezidi, an ethno-confessional minority with religion based on Zoroastrism. Only in the Kurdistan Region (Iraqi Kurdistan) the number of Iraqi refugees fleeing away from the oppression of ISIL exceeds 1,5 million people.

When was it created?

When on March 21, 2003 the United States of America invaded Iraq and started the Iraq war, in 2004, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi created an organization called "Tawhid and Jihad" in Iraq. First, he announced that it was bound to Al-Qaeda, and then stated its name as "Al-Qaeda in Iraq" or in other words "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia."

In April 2010, during a joint operation of American and Iraqi troops in Sisar, the leader of the organization Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and one of its top level executives Abu Hamza al-Muhajir were killed. After that, the organization was headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who restructured it and renamed as ISIL.

The forces of ISIL include 7 500 armed militants in Syria and 10 500 armed militants in Iraq.

How was it created?

According to the sociologist and writer Ali Bulaç, the founders of this organization and its leaders are not ignorant Bedouins, but people who have received a good education. They are good with technology, electronic and digital means. Many of them began their political activities as Arab nationalists, secular liberals or followers of Marxism, and then, having become acquainted with Islam, became the followers of Al-Qaeda. They are not poor people as there are huge income sources behind them. They read the Quran and hadiths literally and act accordingly. Using the words of Ibn Khaldun, with the energy originating from the "Bedouin short temper" they attack and destroy, lay to waste regimes, life styles and ‘rotten’ city-dwellers... ISIL is a movement that emerged and developed in the Arab lands. Its Islamic roots originate from the Wahhabis and Kharijites. The hostility of ISIL towards Shiites and Alawites stems from Wahhabism, while its rebellious character and the ideology of armed struggle comes from the Kharijites.

According to the former police chief and writer Bulent Orakoğlu, who wrote an article called "Did the spring of ISIL wipe off the Sykes-Picot?", ISIL is an organization that is supported by England and Israel. Whereas Ali Bulaç, as we noted above, puts forward an absolutely opposite opinion that ISIL is an organization whose activities are directed against the West.

In his article about the Sykes-Picot agreement, Orakoğlu writes the following: "About a century ago, when World War I was going on, England and France, guided by colonialist goals and strategies, secretly signed the Sykes-Picot agreement, sharing the Middle East, which was under the control of the Ottoman Empire".

Orakoğlu also points out that this agreement was supported by the USA, but in recent years, the implementation of the Sykes-Picot agreement faces challenges. In particular, he writes:

"It is noteworthy that the issue that the satellite states and borders formed by this agreement in the Middle East have become out of date is often raised by senior executives of the colonial states on the agenda of various international platforms and conferences".

According to Orakoğlu, ISIL is a ‘subcontractor’ supported by England and Israel. Moreover, Assad also supports ISIL. As a proof, he points at the fact that ISIL militants are armed with Israeli weapons, and also cites some documents published in the western press. He also notes that Assad does not attack the positions of ISIL, and after some time, the territories occupied by ISIL are abandoned to the forces of Assad.

The third opinion belongs to the journalist and Middle East specialist Cengiz Çandar. Cengiz Çandar argues that ISIL is the result of the erroneous policies of such dictators as Saddam and Assad. According to Çandar, ISIL appeared because such dictators as Saddam and Assad pursued the policy of pressure aimed at ostracising Sunnis. The erroneous policy of AKP (The Justice and Development Party) also cleared the way for ISIL. Çandar briefly sums this erroneous policy as a policy of supporting ISIL against Assad.

Çandar claims that ISIL occupied Mosul by the force of 1 000 people, and that it was supported by Saddam’s adherents.

What are their religious references?

In the opinion of the overwhelming majority of Islamic scholars and ordinary Muslims, ISIL is a ruthless perverted organization. For example, the Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen, who loudly and clearly voices objections against ISIL, said the following: "Attacking any minority or innocent civilians, pressure or oppression of them completely contradict the brilliant principles of the Holy Quran and Sunnah of our Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). If the members of ISIL are not as a pawn in the game of some forces, they can be called ignorant people who do not understand the spirit of Islam and its Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In any event, the thing they do is terrorism, and that is the way it should be called. The purpose of religion is to establish peace based on universal human rights, the superiority of law and high human values". In its turn, ISIL in its magazine called ‘Konstantiniyye’ called F. Gülen and his followers kafir (unbelievers), which means that they were sentenced to death.

Thus, it would be wrong to affirm that "ISIL is an Islamic organization", but it would be also incorrect to say that "It has nothing to do with Islam". Just like the Kharijites, who perverted religion in the first centuries of Islam, ISIL represents a movement that treats religious sources very rigidly, fanatically and disorderly, and at the same time considers that only its followers are the true representatives of Islam. The religious sources that ISIL refers to are rather confusing, but to put it in a more simple way, this is a radical-rebellious-Salafi organization. ISIL takes a lot from Salafism, and not only its religious views. For its propaganda, ISIL actively uses such ideological means as the colonial past of the West, the use of double standards by the West and Islamophobia.


In our opinion, if there were no suitable internal driving forces, the external forces would not be able to create such an organization as ISIL. Today, the situation is even more complex than described in the above-mentioned comments. The world is changing and a new world is being created. All these are the footfalls of the changing world.

ISIL is not a phenomenon that exists only in the Middle East, somewhere far from Europe. As you know, this is an organization that commits barbarous terrorist attacks in European capital cities and America, so this is an organization that exists in the West as well. Hundreds of young men and women from Europe become militants in ISIL, and not only people with Islamic roots or children of migrants are involved in it. Children from Christian families also join ISID. Today, unlike in the past, the Christian societies in Western countries are existing side by side with Muslims. This is a socio-political process that cannot be stopped. In addition, as we know, radicalism, fanaticism and terrorism have no religion or nationality. There are good and bad people within all nations. However, if we are informed, we will be able to do something about those who will be our friends and neighbours. The last sentence somehow reminds of the phrase that "we do not choose our parents, but we can choose our parents-in-law", but it is OK.

Photo 112.ua.

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