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Al-Qaeda in Iraq [AQI] / Islamic State (ISIL) - Activities

On 12 October 2015 the Islamic State (ISIL) called on Muslims worldwide to launch jihad against Russian and US citizens. Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani called on the Islamic youth worldwide to start a holy war against Russians and Americans "in their crusaders' war" against Muslims.

In his 2004 online treatise: The Management of Savagery, al-Qaeda strategist Abu Bakr Naji wrote what would eventually become the ISIL strategy. "The Management of Savagery" was translated into English by Brookings Institution fellow Will McCants. In essence, the booklet explains how to destroy "apostate" Muslim regimes so they fall into a state of "savagery", allowing them to be built back up under a caliphate. Naji believed that violence and cruelty were necessary in order to achieve and maintain control and that no mercy should be shown. According to Naji: "One who previously engaged in jihad knows that it is nought but violence, crudeness, terrorism, deterrence and massacring."

This is all quite familiar. The word "terrorism" was first adopted as a self-conscious badge of pride by a significant revolutionary group in Russia at the end of the 1870's, just before they launched the most spectacular program of systematic political assassination in the 19th century which culminated in the murder of Czar Alexander II in 1881.

In the Russian Civil War, neither side asked nor gave any quarter. Red Terror and White Terror mounted in scale and intensity. At times it was difficult to distinguish between combatants and brigands. The Bolsheviks went out of their way to quash intellectual and political opposition in any form it took, attacking not only the representatives of the old regime but also other socialists: Mensheviks, Anarchists, Social Revolutionaries.

On September 5, 1918, Feliks Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka - Lenin's secret police, was directed to implement Lenin's policy of Red Terror. This wave of terror -- arrests, imprisonments, murders -- was directed against those suspected of working to destroy the Revolution on the "home front." It was bloody, it was merciless, and it was cruel -- as its perpetrators wanted it to be. Krasnaya Gazeta, the organ of the Red Army, described it: "Without mercy, without sparing, we will kill our enemies in scores of hundreds. Let them be thousands, let them drown themselves in their own blood. For the blood of Lenin . . . let there be floods of blood of the bourgeoisie--more blood, as much as possible . . ."

As AQI, ISIL has conducted high profile attacks, including improvised explosive device attacks against US military personnel and Iraqi infrastructure; videotaped beheadings of Americans Nicholas Berg (May 11, 2004), Jack Armstrong (September 22, 2004), and Jack Hensley (September 21, 2004); suicide bomber attacks against both military and civilian targets; and rocket attacks. ISIL perpetrates the majority of suicide and mass casualty bombings in Iraq using foreign and Iraqi operatives.

ISIL was active in Iraq in 2012 and 2013; in 2013 alone it was responsible for the majority of deaths of the over 7,000 Iraqi civilians killed that year. ISIL was heavily involved in the fighting in Syria during 2013, including against other militant opposition groups, and participated in a number of kidnapping incidents against civilians, including aid workers and reporters.

ISIL remained active in 2014, launching numerous attacks on a variety of targets in both Syria and Iraq. In January, ISIL captured Fallujah, Iraq, and proclaimed an Islamic state there. In June, the group took over Mosul, the second most populous city in Iraq, and a large part of the surrounding Nineveh province. In early July, ISIL captured Syrias largest oilfield, the al-Omar. By late July, they took a Syrian 17th Division base near Raqqah.

In early August 2014, the group captured the Iraqi city of Sinjar, precipitating a humanitarian refugee crisis when the Yazidi, an Iraqi minority ethnic group living in the area, fled to avoid ISIL atrocities. Reported atrocities include the massacre of Yazidi men and the holding of Yazidi women and girls captive and selling them as slaves. In mid-August, ISIL beheaded .. journalist James Foley; in September, the group beheaded journalist Steven Sotloff; in October, ISIL killed British aid worker Alan Henning; and in November, American aid worker and ISIL hostage Peter Kassig was also murdered. In late December 2014, ISIL captured a Jordanian pilot after his aircraft malfunctioned and he ejected into ISIL-controlled territory. He was later burned alive in a cage by the Islamic State.

According to international media reports and human rights organizations, throughout 2015 Daesh published videos depicting alleged executions of persons accused of homosexuality. For example, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, an international human rights organization, cited widely published January 16 photographs of Daesh members throwing LGBTI men from tall buildings in central Mosul in Ninewa Governorate. On March 8, Daesh beheaded two individuals accused of homosexuality and a third for blasphemy in the Bab al-Toob area of Mosul. Between June and August, UNAMI cited several other cases of Daesh executing civilians by throwing them off tall buildings, all accused of sodomy or homosexuality.

The Daash master narrative derives from the idea that "Allah grants Muslims victory over their enemies." Jihadis understand that it is a sin to neglect the material causes of victory, for they are indispensable as much as the religious ones. Neglecting any of these causes leads to disappointment, as Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allh, He will help you, and make your foothold firm. (47:7) This holy Ayah (Qur'anic verse) addresses all the believers and points out to them that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) will help them when they help in the cause of Allah. Helping in the cause of Allah on the part of the believers means following His Shari`ah (Islamic law), defending His Religion and undertaking His Obligations. Allh is Rich (Free of all needs), Worthy of all praise. When Muslims support Allah's Religion and Awliya' (pious people), Allah will support them against their enemies and grant them the good outcome.

Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam)." Quran, Surah an-Noor (The Light) 24:55

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Page last modified: 10-12-2018 18:51:40 ZULU