Isis, or as they now call themselves: the Islamic State, are on the rise. They’re all over the news for their brutal treamtent of all non-Muslim people in Iraq and beyond. These bloodthirsty Jihadi warriors are hell bent on creating an Islamic state in the Middle East with themselves at the very top of the pile. Even Al-Qaeda severed ties with them because of the their brutality and “intractability”.
Isis are predominantly a Sunni Muslim group who initially formed as a reaction to their ill treatment by the Shia led Iraqi government. The Sunnis became second class citizens and were forced to live in slums on the outskirts of town. Employment was impossible to come by and they had a legitimate beef with the government.
Many Sunni youths were locked up or executed for crimes they hadn’t committed and tensions grew at a furious rate.
Isis had no problems recruiting in the early days, Sunni boys were eager to get out of the squaller that they were accustomed to and fight for their rights. During the recent Syrian rebellion Isis joined the fight on the side of the “goodies” i.e. the rebels attempting to oust Assad. This helped them get experience in fighting, increased their profile, and because they were fighting alongside US backed groups they got a bit of weapons know-how and the odd hardware cast off.
The Syrian rebels, however, didn’t subscribe to Isis’ brutal Islamist agenda and eventually both Assad’s guys and the rebels forced Isis back to Iraq. At that stage Isis looked like it might shrink into the background but Isis was a much gnarlier and vicious beast than that.
But what are Isis after? What do they want?…
Many of the Middle East’s problems started way back during WWI, a fact that Isis are not swift to forget. In 1910 the West promised the people of the Middle East Independence if they rose up and defeated the Ottoman Empire which had ruled them since the 16th Century, so they did rebel and they won.
The West went back on its promise and shared the land of the Middle East between themselves, in secret. In 1916 the French and English took out their pen and ruler (literally) and drew the familiar borders we all recognise on the map of the Middle East today. They decided which bits of land would be for England and which bits for France.
This changed foreign policy in the Middle East from moving towards liberal constitutions to a nationalist drive to remove the West’s colonial tendrils. This drawing up of the map and colonial takeover all seems like ancient history, but many see it as the cause of the region’s instability to this very day. One of Isis’ first videos was called The End Of Sykes-Picot, named after the Sykes-Picot treaty that split the land between British and French rule.
Isis want to reunite the Middle East as one nation under Allah, with their no holds barred Sharia law to govern them. In a way you can understand this desire to reclaim and rejoin lands that were once one. But the problem is that these fellas want it to be a Muslim state, there’s nothing wrong with following Islam, but these hard-line Isis fighters have the mentality that if you aren’t a Muslim you must either repent and convert or die. There is no middle ground. There is no sympathy.