Image source: http://www.pbs.org
Rise of Islamic State a phenomenon that has scared the entire world. It’s controlled territory is as big as United Kingdom which cover huge oil supplies and covertly sells it to nations who too buy it without coming out in the fray.
So how did ISIS come to be?
What does it want?
When Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, men from the middle east came to Afghanistan in support of the rebels who were fighting against the soviets and to overthrow the government. Who was right and who was wrong is a different discussion altogether. These people came to be known as Mujahideen (one engaged in holy war called jihad)
Osama Bin Laden was also one of them. He came from a rich bin Laden family of Saudi Arabia along with him was Abu Musab Zarqawi who was a Jordanian. These two failed to get along and thus both had their own faction. Bin Laden headed Al Qaeda and Zarqawi headed ISIS.
In the year 1989, the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan after which Zarqawi and Bin Laden headed back to their countries. Laden started spreading the ideas of Al Qaeda and initiated a worldwide revolt against Islam’s enemies.
Eventually, both returned back to Afghanistan, which was then ruled by Taliban. After the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers of the United States of America, US declared war as Osama declared that he was the one who did it. Following invade, Osama hid in Pakistan, while Zarqawi hid in Iraq.
Two years later, United States under the Presidentship of George Bush and supported by UK invaded Iraq, which created unprecedented havoc in the middle east and which is responsible for the current mess in the subcontinent.
After Saddam’s Sunni dictatorship was toppled by American and supporting forces, they left the Iraqi soldiers as they were and left the country in turmoil without initiating a process to form a government in the country.
Eventually, the disbanded and financially ailing Sunni Iraqi soldiers join the insurgency since it was ready to pay them. On the other hand, the Jihadist groups were also Sunni. The phase Iraq was entering into was a repetition of of what happened in Afghanistan.
This gave impetus to Zarqawi’s group who came to be the most ruthless group in Iraq. They attacked Shia, Iraq’s majority and igniting an unprecedented Shia-Sunni civil war in Iraq. They became popular among the jihadist groups and Al Qaeda was sidelined, thus Al Qaeda intending to bolster its image, formed an alliance with Zarqawi’s group came to be known as Al Qaeda in Iraq.
In 2006, Zarqawi was killed in a US airstrike and Al Qaeda in Iraq was weakened. This lead to withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in 2011 as Iraq looked stable.
Then came the Arab Spring in the same year, which spread across the middle east. In neighbouring Syria, Bashar al-Assad violently crushed down the protestors and the conflict lead to a civil war in Syria.
Assad released jihadists from prisons fearing his direct involvement will attract foreign intervention. In Iraq the the previously Al Qaeda in Iraq was being headed by a self proclaimed Islamic scholar Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and was renamed as Islamic State of Iraq.
Baghdadi sent troops to Syria to help fight alongside rebel forces of Jabhat al-Nusra. Baghdadi eventually recruited new jihadists by after releasing prisoners of Iraq by attacking the prisons. This gave tremendous power to IS in Iraq and Baghdadi announced that will take control of the Al-Qaeda allies in Syria and Iraq and IS in Iraq became IS in Iraq and Syria.