ISIS declares caliphate, calls on all jihadist networks to obey

posted at 8:41 am on June 30, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The Sunni terrorist network that now controls a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq declared itself a caliphate over the weekend, a move that they claim carries significant impact on global jihad. The Washington Post calls this a “powerful challenge” to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who inherited the top spot in al-Qaeda after US forces killed Osama bin Laden three years ago, as the new self-proclaimed caliph demands absolute fealty from all other jihadi forces … or else:

In an audio statement posted on the Internet, the spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria announced the restoration of the 7th-century Islamic caliphate, a long-declared goal of the al-Qaeda renegades who broke with the mainstream organization early this year and have since asserted control over large areas spanning the two countries.

The move signifies “a new era of international jihad,” said the spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, who also declared an end to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as the group had called itself.

Henceforth, ISIS will simply be known as the Islamic State, in recognition of the breakdown of international borders achieved as a result of the group’s conquests, he said. ISIS’s chief, an Iraqi known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will be the caliph, or leader, of the new caliphate, and all Muslims worldwide will be required to pay allegiance to him.

The proclamation is a powerful challenge to al-Qaeda’s chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who also claims supremacy over the global jihadist movement. Zawahiri repudiated Baghdadi early this year after the Iraqi leader rejected repeated al-Qaeda directives to adopt a more inclusive approach toward other jihadist groups, and it is unlikely that he will agree to bow to the authority of the proclaimed new caliph.

According to Bill Gertz at the Free Beacon, at least one AQ affiliate has switched to Baghdadi’s command:

A Syrian rebel group closely aligned with al Qaeda’s official central leadership has switched sides and is now supporting an ultra-violent offshoot, following the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s blitzkrieg attack on Iraq, according to U.S. officials and reports from the region.

A local unit of the Al Nusra Front—the official rebel group of al Qaeda in Syria—agreed to back the ISIL on Wednesday.

The merger of one portion of al Nusra with ISIL is being viewed by government intelligence analysts and others as a troubling indicator that the inner battle between the two groups may be shifting in ISIL’s favor.

CBS News also seems hopeful for some AQ-ISIS infighting:

Experts predicted the caliphate declaration could herald infighting among the Sunni militants who have joined forces with the Islamic State in its fight against the Shiite-led government.

“Now the insurgents in Iraq have no excuse for working with ISIS also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) if they were hoping to share power with ISIS,” said Aymenn al-Tamimi, an analyst who specializes in Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. “The prospect of infighting in Iraq is increased for sure.”

The greatest impact, however, could be on the broader international jihadist movement, in particular on the future of al Qaeda.

Founded by Osama bin Laden, the group that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. has long carried the mantle of the international jihadi cause. But the Islamic State has managed to do in Syria and Iraq what al Qaeda never has – carve out a large swath of territory in the heart of the Arab world and control it.

“This announcement poses a huge threat to al Qaeda and its long-time position of leadership of the international jihadist cause,” said Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, in emailed comments. “Taken globally, the younger generation of the jihadist community is becoming more and more supportive of (the Islamic State), largely out of fealty to its slick and proven capacity for attaining rapid results through brutality.”

That sounds more like wishful thinking than reality. The various competing networks have clashed at times and allied at others. Zawahiri isn’t going to come out of hiding anyway, so the only way he’d be able to claim the title of Caliph would be if everyone else fighting his battles dropped dead or all of his enemies did, neither of which is likely to happen in his lifetime. Bakr is on the only ground that jihadis can claim to hold, so he’s the only one who make a case for any kind of caliphate. The other networks are mostly focused on their own local fights or attacking the West, neither of which competes with ISIS except perhaps in parts of Syria not under their control anyway.

That doesn’t mean that we should start addressing ISIS as a de facto state yet. Simply declaring a caliphate doesn’t make it a reality. Thus far, ISIS controls a lot of territory but hardly well enough to claim statehood. It’s unclear where the caliphate would be headquartered, for instance, and with the kind of pressure being supplied by Syria and Iraq, it’s doubtful that they’ll declare a capital city any time soon — or at least stick their heads up in one.

On the other hand, the pressure from Iraq may not be as great as some hope. The offensive to retake Tikrit has apparently stalled:

The so-called caliphate’s resources are significant — for a terrorist network. For a marauding army with delusions of statehood, not so much:

“The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas,” al-Adnani said.

Al-Baghdadi rose through the ranks of the organization before becoming emir some time in 2010-2011. The group relies on a handful of senior decision makers, but al-Baghdadi has the final word, according to the intelligence official. Most of its funding comes via robbery, extortion and smuggling, with a small percentage coming from donations. ISIS has also reportedly looted banks in some of the cities its seized.

Although CBS doesn’t mention it, the new “caliph” actually started his ascent after being released in 2009 from the US detention center at Camp Bucca in Iraq, part of the planned withdrawal of US forces that was completed in 2011.

At any rate, the declaration of the caliphate has less to do with statehood or global leadership than it does with local competitors. Zawahiri may get annoyed, but he’s not really the main target of this declaration. It’s meant to warn competing militias in the areas ISIS already controls that either they’re with Baghdadi, or they’re against him. ISIS wants no competition in arms inside of their existing footprint or adjacent to it, and will target any other networks that don’t fall in line. That’s where the infighting will occur.


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The Washington Post calls this a “powerful challenge” to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who inherited the top spot in al-Qaeda

I’d rather have them killing each other over there than killing us here.

rbj on June 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

How many beheadings did they do in celebration? The Religion of Peace does it up in style.

This is also day 3 of the annual Ramadan Bomabthon, track the score over on http://www.thereligionofpeace.com

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 8:48 AM

a “powerful challenge” to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who inherited the top spot in al-Qaeda after US forces killed Osama bin Laden three years ago, as the new self-proclaimed caliph demands absolute fealty from all other jihadi forces

Hopefully they will both be so power hungry to start killing each other. Terrorists killing terrorists. Nice. One can hope.

Patriot Vet on June 30, 2014 at 8:49 AM

They’re animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.

The Religion of Peace is on the move again.

TarasBulbous on June 30, 2014 at 8:49 AM

I’d rather have them killing each other over there than killing us here.

rbj on June 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Amen.

islam is a lot like the pro abortion left. Eventually it will kill itself off.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Although CBS doesn’t mention it, the new “caliph” actually started his ascent after being released in 2009 from the US detention center at Camp Bucca in Iraq, part of the planned withdrawal of US forces that was completed in 2011.

Oh Happy Day! Another alumni of the Obama administration’s feckless lack of leadership. But hey! Why sweat the small stuff like Iraq and Syria. It’s better to focus on really important things like getting Beyonce to sing at the First Yeti’s 50th birthday party!

Happy Nomad on June 30, 2014 at 8:50 AM

How many beheadings did they do in celebration? The Religion of Peace does it up in style.

This is also day 3 of the annual Ramadan Bomabthon, track the score over on http://www.thereligionofpeace.com

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Posts like this are why I come to this site.

ToddPA on June 30, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Although CBS doesn’t mention it, the new “caliph” actually started his ascent after being released in 2009 from the US detention center at Camp Bucca in Iraq, part of the planned withdrawal of US forces that was completed in 2011.

I wonder why CBS wouldn’t mention this. Weird.

Flange on June 30, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Just as a reminder – historically, a “caliphate” includes control of Mecca.

So, how close is the House of Saud to ISIS?

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Although CBS doesn’t mention it, the new “caliph” actually started his ascent after being released in 2009 from the US detention center at Camp Bucca in Iraq, part of the planned withdrawal of US forces that was completed in 2011.

I wonder why CBS wouldn’t mention this. Weird.

Flange on June 30, 2014 at 8:50 AM

If the comments section allowed us to use the <sup> HTML tag for superscript, I’d show you with the proper display of C<sup>BS</sup>.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:53 AM

ISIS’s chief, an Iraqi known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will be the caliph, or leader, of the new caliphate, and all Muslims worldwide will be required to pay allegiance to him.

The proclamation is a powerful challenge to al-Qaeda’s chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who also claims supremacy over the global jihadist movement.

Well I claim supremacy over all muslims too, and I command them to renounce mohammy-on-rye and destroy islam.

Flange on June 30, 2014 at 8:55 AM

I’d rather have them killing each other over there than killing us here.

rbj on June 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Hopefully they will both be so power hungry to start killing each other. Terrorists killing terrorists. Nice. One can hope.

Patriot Vet on June 30, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Any hope related to that assumes that we’d pick up off the pieces when they’re done. With Teh SCOAMT in charge, I’m not at all hopeful.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Just as a reminder – historically, a “caliphate” includes control of Mecca.

So, how close is the House of Saud to ISIS?

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:51 AM

The Saudis must be shitting themselves. ISIS is a populist revolution, the Saudis may find that they are suddenly the “wrong” fundamentalists.

TarasBulbous on June 30, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Although CBS doesn’t mention it, the new “caliph” actually started his ascent after being released in 2009 from the US detention center at Camp Bucca in Iraq, part of the planned withdrawal of US forces that was completed in 2011.

CBS need to be slut-shamed for this little omission.

Naturally Curly on June 30, 2014 at 8:58 AM

The Saudis must be shitting themselves. ISIS is a populist revolution, the Saudis may find that they are suddenly the “wrong” fundamentalists.

TarasBulbous on June 30, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Populist? Surely you can’t be serious.

The House of Saud is quite large, and most of it is not in power in Saudi Arabia. Significant elements of the portion not in power backed Al Qaeda back in the day.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Any hope related to that assumes that we’d pick up off the pieces when they’re done. With Teh SCOAMT in charge, I’m not at all hopeful.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:56 AM

What we can do, and what we need to do, is allow the development of our own resources to their potential, then the muslim barbarians can go back to murdering each other with sticks and stones, the West won’t need to give a shiite about them, and Israel will be secure because the barbarians won’t be able to equip anyone with modern arms…

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 8:59 AM

I’d rather have them killing each other over there than killing us here.

rbj on June 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

I hope this caliphate works out for them like the first one did.

ezspirit on June 30, 2014 at 9:01 AM

What we can do, and what we need to do, is allow the development of our own resources to their potential, then the muslim barbarians can go back to murdering each other with sticks and stones, the West won’t need to give a shiite about them, and Israel will be secure because the barbarians won’t be able to equip anyone with modern arms…

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 8:59 AM

That would be a good start. Even before Teh SCOAMT came along, however, that became impossible because the Rats are wholly beholden to the Envirowhackos.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 9:01 AM

The House of Saud is quite large, and most of it is not in power in Saudi Arabia. Significant elements of the portion not in power backed Al Qaeda back in the day.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Saudi Arabia had better be frightened. Their country is no less an arbitrary boundary invented at the end of World War I to dissolve the Ottoman Empire than Iraq, Syria, and the rest.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:02 AM

That would be a good start. Even before Teh SCOAMT came along, however, that became impossible because the Rats are wholly beholden to the Envirowhackos.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 9:01 AM

The democrats will die as the party of $10 gas. Make them own it.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:03 AM

How many beheadings did they do in celebration? The Religion of Peace does it up in style.

This is also day 3 of the annual Ramadan Bomabthon, track the score over on http://www.thereligionofpeace.com

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Posts like this are why I come to this site.

ToddPA on June 30, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Ditto, and thanks ConstantineXI

Shay on June 30, 2014 at 9:04 AM

This news leaves me strangely buoyed.
It’s on.
Are we going to get serious, finally?
Oops. My hopes got too high for a moment.

vityas on June 30, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Saudi Arabia had better be frightened. Their country is no less an arbitrary boundary invented at the end of World War I to dissolve the Ottoman Empire than Iraq, Syria, and the rest.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:02 AM

I guarantee you Abdullah and the portion of the clan he gave power to is frightened. I equally guarantee you the portion of the clan frozen out by Abdullah is cheering ISIS on.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 9:08 AM

That doesn’t mean that we should start addressing ISIS as a de facto state yet. Simply declaring a caliphate doesn’t make it a reality.

First question – When does Barky announce that he recognizes it and appoints an ambassador to this new nation?

/I think, who knows anymore.

D-fusit on June 30, 2014 at 9:08 AM

I guarantee you Abdullah and the portion of the clan he gave power to is frightened. I equally guarantee you the portion of the clan frozen out by Abdullah is cheering ISIS on.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Abdullah is also rather old. The game the Saudis have been playing the last 40 years is pay off the jihadis and dump them onto other countries to keep them from causing problems in the “magic kingdom”. But their problem can never be bought off or put off forever, since Saudi Arabia has the unholy cities of mecca and medina, the “caliphate” is going to want them sooner or later.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Although CBS doesn’t mention it, the new “caliph” actually started his ascent after being released in 2009 from the US detention center at Camp Bucca in Iraq, part of the planned withdrawal of US forces that was completed in 2011.

“Local crime story”.

forest on June 30, 2014 at 9:15 AM

…long-declared goal of the al-Qaeda renegades who broke with the mainstream organization early this year and have since asserted control over large areas spanning the two countries.

 
It’s comical to watch the push to separate the two groups.
 
GM is alive, though.

rogerb on June 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM

A video purportedly shot by Islamist militants at a captured Iraqi border post on the Syrian border shows captured Iraqi soldiers and vehicles, while an English-speaking fighter reaffirms the declaration of an Islamic “caliphate.”

The fighter, Abu Safiyya from Chile, claims to be standing on the Iraq border with Syria.

In the clip, titled The End of Sykes-Picot, Safiyya says that the ISIS will eventually break all of the Middle East borders to make way to Jerusalem.

“This is not the first border we will break,” he says of the border he is standing on. “God will break all barriers..Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon…all of the them until we reach Jerusalem. This is the first of many barriers we will break.”

A man after Maerose Prizzi’s own heart. After all, the Middle East is ‘just a community with a border going through it.’

Resist We Much on June 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Although CBS doesn’t mention it, the new “caliph” actually started his ascent after being released in 2009 from the US detention center at Camp Bucca in Iraq, part of the planned withdrawal of US forces that was completed in 2011.

Help me out here, who was the President then?

D-fusit on June 30, 2014 at 9:18 AM

I’d rather have them killing each other over there than killing us here.

rbj on June 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

They can multitask and are probably already here.

dogsoldier on June 30, 2014 at 9:20 AM

It’s comical to watch the push to separate the two groups.

GM is alive, though.

rogerb on June 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM

The only question is which comes first, the next 9/11 attack on American soil, or the second bankruptcy of GM.

50/50 tossup.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Man, that Glenn Beck is a nut job…oh, wait..

vcferlita on June 30, 2014 at 9:21 AM

They can multitask and are probably already here.

dogsoldier on June 30, 2014 at 9:20 AM

I guarantee you they’ve slipped hundreds in at least during this intentional Obama created border fiasco. Not to mention potential thousands of sleeper agents in enclaves like Dearborn, Minneapolis, Columbus, etc…

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Hey, do you think Chris Matthews remembers when he spoke for all of the really ‘smahhht people’ and claimed that Glenn Beck was ‘Looney Tunes, Completely Crazy, Captain Queeg, and a Full Mooner’ for stating that a Caliphate would form in the Middle East?

How’s that crow tasting, Tingles?

Resist We Much on June 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

I guarantee you they’ve slipped hundreds in at least during this intentional Obama created border fiasco. Not to mention potential thousands of sleeper agents in enclaves like Dearborn, Minneapolis, Columbus, etc…

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:23 AM

And Nanzi Pelosi has welcomed them and declared them to be “Americans.”

TarheelBen on June 30, 2014 at 9:25 AM

The House of Saud is quite large, and most of it is not in power in Saudi Arabia. Significant elements of the portion not in power backed Al Qaeda back in the day.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Saudi Arabia had better be frightened. Their country is no less an arbitrary boundary invented at the end of World War I to dissolve the Ottoman Empire than Iraq, Syria, and the rest.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Toyota doesn’t sell fleets of pickup trucks to ragged bands of dune-coons. Saudi provides them. The Saudis are behind ISIS one hundred percent despite pretending their planet has no affiliation with the unpleasantness happening on planet Earth.

BL@KBIRD on June 30, 2014 at 9:26 AM

BTW
 

…long-declared goal of the al-Qaeda renegades who broke with the mainstream organization early this year and have since asserted control over large areas spanning the two countries.

 
Oopsies.
 
Say, can one of our (D)s check their calendar and see if early 2014 was after the 2012 Democratic National Convention campaign speech?
 

A new tower rises above the New York skyline, Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama Bin Laden is dead.
 
- President Barack Hussein Obama, Sept. 2012

rogerb on June 30, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Wow… just like that: “We’re a caliphate!” And so it is thus…

I think I’ll try that… “I have Joe Manganiello’s body!”

… pretty cool.

Hey I have an idea… why doesn’t the rest of the world get together and inform these pigs that we all interpret “caliphate” to translate directly to “parking lot” and help them out with that?

dpduq on June 30, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Is that how the ‘caliphate’ works – someone simply ‘declares’ they have one, and it is so?

Midas on June 30, 2014 at 9:33 AM

This isn’t the 7th century, monkeys, standing in a ditch with your AK simply means you’re easier to target.

Bishop on June 30, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Hey I have an idea… why doesn’t the rest of the world get together and inform these pigs that we all interpret “caliphate” to translate directly to “parking lot” and help them out with that?

dpduq on June 30, 2014 at 9:28 AM

I vote for this.

Midas on June 30, 2014 at 9:37 AM

I guarantee you Abdullah and the portion of the clan he gave power to is frightened. I equally guarantee you the portion of the clan frozen out by Abdullah is cheering ISIS on.

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 9:08 AM

We essentially prop up the Saudi ‘military’ with arms and training and have done so for at least a couple of generations. My understanding is that the Saudis are militarily incompetent to conduct any sustained operation and the military is likely infested with terrorist sympathizers. The House of Saud is essentially a house of cards. Think about it–SA is among the highest in diabetes and heart disease. It imports workers to do virtually everything in the country from producing its oil to serving food to medical care and beyond and it produces nothing other than what can be extracted from the ground using foreign technology. It’s a country on oil welfare in its last phases of existence. It’s tipping point may be fast arriving if Jordan should fall into turmoil.

cthemfly on June 30, 2014 at 9:39 AM

This is WWlll,lV,V,and maybe Vl.

docflash on June 30, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Toyota doesn’t sell fleets of pickup trucks to ragged bands of dune-coons. Saudi provides them. The Saudis are behind ISIS one hundred percent despite pretending their planet has no affiliation with the unpleasantness happening on planet Earth.

BL@KBIRD on June 30, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Nearly all islamic jihad that doesn’t have saudi funding has Iranian funding. Iran wants to be the head of a shia caliphate. The Saudis just want the jihad happening.. elsewhere but Saudi Arabia.

As I said, American energy independence would cause the Middle East to be less and less relevant economically, and yes, become much poorer, meaning that Iran and Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be able to afford such frivolities.

As I said, force the Democrats to own $10 gas.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 9:46 AM

It’s all just so complicated. Sunnis, Shias, Wahabis, Wasabis, Saudis,
Al-Qaedas, Abdullahs and Mohammeds. Can’t we just nuke em all from orbit and be sure? One caliphate is much like another to me and they all look better when they’re turned into radioactive slag.

Oldnuke on June 30, 2014 at 9:48 AM

an Iraqi known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will be the caliph, or leader, of the new caliphate, and all Muslims worldwide will be required to pay allegiance to him.

Except for Obama, CAIR, and all the other “peace loving” muslims here in the US. Not to mention all those muslim protesters wanting their mosque at the heart of Ground Zero, wanting to outlaw the word “terrorist”, wanting to enact Sharia law over here, etc. They’ve really gotten themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place by never speaking up in the past 13 years.
Which is fine by me.

leftamark on June 30, 2014 at 9:53 AM

A local unit of the Al Nusra Front—the official rebel group of al Qaeda in Syria—agreed to back the ISIL on Wednesday.

Hard to tell the players without a score-card. Wasn’t this the group that the ever-thoughtful Juan McLame had the photo-op with?

bofh on June 30, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Considering the Demos, from Bucketmouth through Willie to the Choom Gang are in large part responsible for this, maybe we’ll now find out what the meaning of IS is.

formwiz on June 30, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Barry O. is happy.
Another one on his list accomplished.

albill on June 30, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Although CBS doesn’t mention it, the new “caliph” actually started his ascent after being released in 2009 from the US detention center at Camp Bucca in Iraq, part of the planned withdrawal of US forces that was completed in 2011.

Obama: As a true believer in my Muslim faith, I am proud to have liberated the first Caliph of Babylon from the brutality of George W. Bush.

Steve Z on June 30, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Here’s my prediction of what will eventually transpire in the ME. A coalition of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria will eventually defeat ISIS and ISIL then set up their own Caliphate. They won’t stop there. They will go on to destroy Arabia and the House of Saud and make their way down into Egypt and Northern Africa.

iceman1960 on June 30, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Next, we need James Clapper to reassure us that ISIS is “mostly secular.”

kozmocostello on June 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

The good news is that we can declare war on an organized political entity and blow it to smithereens if necessary.

Not that the Obama administration will do jack-doody about it, other than going on a media tour and spouting a lot of useless talking points.

Maybe American voters will elect the next President based on the candidate having some real core values and a spine…. Nah. We will end up electing somebody who looks good on camera, gives a speech that tells us nothing of substance but rouses the emotions, and doesn’t really believe in anything except for doing what it takes to win the next election.

s1im on June 30, 2014 at 11:34 AM

NSFW: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/06/29/ISIL-crucifies-9-men-in-Syrias-Aleppo–NGO

davidk on June 30, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Thanks for the NSFW warning davidk.

s1im on June 30, 2014 at 11:36 AM

…GM is alive!

JugEarsButtHurt on June 30, 2014 at 11:46 AM

A global network of terrorists is easier to operate than an actual state with territory to defend and diplomatic business to conduct. Terrorism is by definition random and destructive; building a state is more a creative process requiring caution and forethought. The whole point of the Caliphate, it seems, is to lend legitimacy to Islam as a world power similar to the efforts of the Communist International of Soviet times.
Should Islam achieve the reinstitution of the Caliphate it will take on the burdens of a self-contained state (albeit a rogue state such as Iran or North Korea) and will in that sense be easier for the West to deal with than in the current situation. A wasp’s nest as opposed to a cockroach infestation so to speak. Already ISIS is apparently attempting to stamp out Islamic rivals in order to consolidate itself as the lone Islamic entity on the world stage.
A dangerous development to be sure, but maybe in the long game more manageable.

jbspry on June 30, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Maybe American voters will elect the next President based on the candidate having some real core values and a spine…. Nah. We will end up electing somebody who looks good on camera, gives a speech that tells us nothing of substance but rouses the emotions…

As long as they are not truly rich, they have my vote.

jbspry on June 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Henceforth, ISIS will simply be known as the Islamic State, in recognition of the breakdown of international borders achieved as a result of the group’s conquests, he said. ISIS’s chief, an Iraqi known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will be the caliph, or leader, of the new caliphate, and all Muslims worldwide will be required to pay allegiance to him.

Well, if that doesn’t motivate Iran and Pakistan to declare war on them, I don’t know what will.

They all want one supreme Islamic caliphate, but only if they can be in control.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 30, 2014 at 12:45 PM

I’d rather have them killing each other over there than killing us here.

rbj on June 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Amen.

islam is a lot like the pro abortion left. Eventually it will kill itself off.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Wishful thinking. Though I certainly understand the wish.

Don’t get me wrong. As a practical matter, I can appreciate letting three or four groups of people who hate us kill each other. But the west has a bad tendency to just sit back and hope our enemies will take each other out. Sometimes it works out that way, but you can’t count on it.

In the case of the Iraq-Iran war, it mostly worked out that way. But when we tried to just sit back and hope that some of Saddam’s enemies would take care of him for us after Desert Storm, that completely failed.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 30, 2014 at 12:57 PM

It is only a matter of time before the Turks become involved. They are not going to allow a mostly Arab run Caliphate to be set up right near their borders. Hence the blooming of the Kurdish-Turkish alliance.

This is going to be a long war, and for all the hotheads in America who want a piece of the action at least let it play out for a while.

If we had jumped in the Kurds and Turks would not have started to work together. Also what ever side we choose, we have to make war against either Saudi Arabia (supporters of Sunni Jihad) or Iran (supporters of Shia Jihad). Personally I dislike Saudi Arabia more than Iran, but that is not saying very much. For now let them fight it out…we can be patient on this.

William Eaton on June 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Any guesses, how long it will be before Iran or one of their agents declares a Shia Caliphate? They won’t tolerate the Sunnis stealing a march on them; nor the Sunnis gaining the prestige of being The Caliphate. They’ll have to have one of their own!

And the two will immediately be at each other’s throats. With Iran having The Bomb any time now, and the Sunnis having access to Syria’s (ex-Iraqi) chemical weapons…

Pass the popcorn.

ReggieA on June 30, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Just as a reminder – historically, a “caliphate” includes control of Mecca.

So, how close is the House of Saud to ISIS?

Steve Eggleston on June 30, 2014 at 8:51 AM

A little something to add to your discussion with Constantine et al. above:
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/06/isis-saudi-arabia-iraq-syria-bandar/373181/

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the “moderate” armed opposition in the country, receives a lot of attention. But two of the most successful factions fighting Assad’s forces are Islamist extremist groups: Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the latter of which is now amassing territory in Iraq and threatening to further destabilize the entire region. And that success is in part due to the support they have received from two Persian Gulf countries: Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.”

ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria. The Saudi government, for its part, has denied allegations, including claims made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, that it has directly supported ISIS. But there are also signs that the kingdom recently shifted its assistance—whether direct or indirect—away from extremist factions in Syria and toward more moderate opposition groups.

RTWT for context.

AesopFan on June 30, 2014 at 3:24 PM

They’re animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.

Nice use of a line from the movie The Godfather. In my opinion thugs killing thugs. So far I do not see anything wrong with that.

logicman_1998 on June 30, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Ed, first of all, I give credit where credit is due, and I know that I have busted your balls about your analysis of jihad in the past, but I have to say that this is the least bad thing that you’ve written on this topic that I’ve seen. I mean that in all seriousness.

Beyond that, reading this, I think two things:

1) Someone is financing these guys. Who?

2) How blatant do Muslim ambitions have to be before the mainstream media starts to cover this in any serious way? Do any of the dopes that most people rely on for news even know what a Caliphate is? Do they know what Sharia is? Do they understand that jihad (warfare for the establishment of Sharia law and the Caliphate) is something that every single Muslim believes in? How bad do things have to get before America wakes up? Until they’ve nuked one of our cities? Ten of them? Until there is not one single family in the US that hasn’t had a family member killed by a Muslim? It just staggers me. How bad does it have to get?

WhatSlushfund on July 1, 2014 at 3:05 AM