ISIS has taken over the news headlines everywhere in the world. They have successfully become the newest and biggest current terrorist threat in the world. Their rise has seemed rapid and world changing.
ISIS has been around for over ten years. At first, it was known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq (2004), later changing to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2006. In the beginning, Al-Qaeda and ISIS were allies working together to establish an Islamic state in the Middle East. But, differences started emerging and Al-Qaeda disowned ISIS in February of 2014.
ISIS is much more brutal than other terrorist groups. They also seem to have better control over regions they have taken over. ISIS has replaced the current governments in Syria and Iraq with their own. ISIS is also much more organized both militarily, financially, and politically.
The new government structures actually has similarities to the Western governments they pledge to fight. There are seven councils total and twelve governors each in Syria and Iraq. The councils cover the follwing areas: financial, leadership, military, legal, fighters assistance, security, and intelligence. But, the differences far outweigh the similarities. ISIS is not a democracy and, last time I looked, the government of the United States does not have a council to decide who loses their head, literally.
Oil. Reduce it all down and it mostly comes to oil. It is based in Raqqa, Syria and now ISIS owns over half of the Syrian oil. With oil fields in Iraq, ISIS is releasing oil onto the black market. According to several sources, ISIS could be earning between $1 and $3 million dollars PER DAY!
In the summer of 2014, American journalist James Foley was the first to be executed on camera. Since then, he has been followed by others, totaling nine individuals in less than a year.
On October 31st, 2015, a bomb on the Russian Metrojet Airbus A321 exploded over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. The plane was full of vacationers and crew.
On November 13th, 2015, a wave of suicide bombing swept Paris, which was responsible for 129 deaths. In all, six different locations were selected, including the Bataclan Theater and the Stade du France national stadium. The theater was hosting the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal. The stadium was hosting the soccer match between Germany and France. The other targets were restaraunts.
Isis intends to create a caliphate (country) that covers the entire Middle East. It will have to overcome over its fellow Muslim countries to do so. Al-Qaeda has already divorced themselves of ISIS. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, Iran, and Kurdistan all have ISIS on their no-no list.
Does this mean there is nothing to worry about and the problem will eventually fade away? Of course not. Even though the objectives seem extremely difficult and very improbable for ISIS, keep in mind another long-term goal in the Middle East is achieving and maintaining peace. In comparison, peace would seem nearly impossible.