Islamic State (Organization)
Syria 2014–2019 Iraq 2014–2017 Libya 2014–2016 Lebanon Yemen Egypt ( Wilayat Sinai ) Philippines 2017 ( Marawi ) Nigeria ( Boko Haram ) Afghanistan Russia ( Caucasus Emirate )
|strength||in Syria and Iraq: 6,500 (US forces estimate, October 2017) Largely battered in March 2019|
|anniversaries||June 29, 2014 (Proclamation of the Caliphate)|
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi † (Nov. 2019 to 3 Feb. 2022)
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi †
(to 27 October 2019)
|Head of the Military Council||Abu Ali al-Anbari †|
Omar Shishani † Hafez Said Khan
The so-called Islamic State ( IS , Arabic الدولة الإسلامية, DMG ad-daula al-islāmīya ) is a terrorist Salafist militia with thousands of members since 2003, which was a jihadist "state -building project " declared as a " caliphate ". However, IS was never recognized as a state within the meaning of international law.
The organization controlled parts of Iraq until December 2017 and parts of Syria until March 2019, and recruits members for civil wars and terrorist attacks . She is accused of genocide , destruction of human cultural heritage and other war crimes .
Organizational beginnings go back to the Iraqi resistance . In 2004, under al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and from 2011 to June 2014 under Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS ), the grouping was Arabic الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام, DMG ad-daula al-islāmiyya fī l-ʿIrāq wa-š-Šām , or the transliterated Arabic acronym Daesh or Daesh (داعش, DMG Dāʿiš ), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ( ISIL ).
After the military conquest of a contiguous area in northwestern Iraq and eastern Syria, on June 29, 2014, the militia announced the establishment of a caliphate with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as "Caliph Ibrahim - Commander of the Faithful". This is linked to the claim to succeed the Prophet Mohammed as the political and religious leader of all Muslims .
Initially, the IS professed allegiance to al-Qaeda , from whose leadership it broke away around mid-2013 and was expelled by Aiman al-Zawahiri in January 2014 . The leadership of the IS is formed among others by a group of former intelligence officers of the Iraqi armed forces from the Saddam Hussein era, which was led by Hajji Bakr until his death in January 2014 .
In the Syrian civil war , IS fought against the government of President Bashar al-Assad , but also against the Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish minority in the north. From August 2014, IS positions have been the target of airstrikes by an international alliance in which several Western and Arab states have participated since September 2014. The IS continued to fight against the political camps in western and eastern Libya in the second Libyan civil war from 2014, but was expelled from its local stronghold of Sirte in August 2016 and forced underground.
IS is officially classified as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council and the German government . The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Āl al ash-Sheikh , called IS together with al-Qaida "enemies number one of Islam".
The last village under IS control inside Syria was al-Baghuz Fawqani , which was captured by SDF fighters on March 23, 2019 . Since then, reporting on ISIS activities has shifted predominantly to Afghanistan and the continent of Africa , although ISIS continued to carry out attacks in Syria and Iraq after the Battle of Baghuz .
Since the end of June 2014, the organization has only called itself the Islamic State. According to the political scientist Volker Perthes , the organization, which he describes as a "jihadist state-building project", wants to underline that it wants to expand beyond Iraq and the Levant by doing without earlier parts of its name.
Until the end of 2014, the organization called itself "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" ( Arabic الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام, DMG ad-daula al-islāmiyya fī l-ʿIrāq wa-š-Šām ; also translatable as "...in the Levant " or "...in Greater Syria "), from which the common abbreviations ISIS, ISIL and ISIG are derived. A foreign term is the abbreviation Daesh ( which was coined in 2013 by the Syrian activist Khaled al-Haj Salih, derived from the first letters of Arabic and is widespread in the Arabic-speaking area and has a rather negative connotation.داعش, DMG dāʿiš , also in the spellings Daesh , Da'ish or Daaish ), which is now mainly used in other written Arabic languages.
The shortcut داعش, DMG dā'iš 'ISIS' ('Islamic State in Iraq and Syria') looks similar to the term in Arabic scriptداعس, DMG dāʿis 'one who tramples something underfoot'. Therefore, this abbreviation is forbidden within the areas occupied by IS and there is a risk of punishment if used. In many Near and Middle Eastern countries, on the other hand, this abbreviation has been adopted into the local vocabulary. This is intended to deliberately counteract the organisation's self-designation, which has positive connotations in the Islamic sense, and avoid direct association with Islam.
The IS does not speak of borders, but of "fronts" and thus fulfills an important characteristic of an openly aspired empire . Other former names of the organization or its predecessors (JTJ, Az Zarqawi Network, TQJBR, AQI) are given in the History section .
The IS was considered the richest terrorist organization in the world with an estimated fortune of two billion US dollars (as of January 2015). With the conquest of Mosul and the looting of the central bank in June 2014 alone, 429 million US dollars ended up in the hands of the IS. The "business model" IS was based on several pillars:
- Oil : The IS financed itself largely through the proceeds from the sale of crude oil from conquered oil fields. Up until the first airstrikes on oil fields in October 2014, oil was being mined and sold for USD 3 million every day. By the end of 2014, the numbers had dropped to around $360,000 a day.
- Robbery : An additional source of income was the sale of antique finds from robbery excavations at archaeological sites and the plundering of museums. By the end of 2014, archaeological finds worth 30 million US dollars were said to have been smuggled to the West from Syria alone and brought to the art trade here with forged papers.
- Ransom and slavery : Demands from kidnappings and the “auctioning” of children and women (especially captured Yazidis and Christians ) on slave markets represent another source of income. Girls and women between the ages of 10 and 20 were auctioned for the equivalent of 68 euros; Children up to the age of 9 achieved prices of up to the equivalent of 135 euros. Kidnapped western hostages were released for $3 million to $5 million.
- Donations : The IS is financed by donations from wealthy private individuals, religious foundations and mosque associations, primarily from Saudi Arabia and Qatar .
- Taxes : IS collects taxes from traders, which are 10% each for sales and property taxes , and tariffs (ranging from $200 to $500 per shipment). In addition, the IS in Mosul received rental income for more than 20,000 apartments and shops in the amount of 3 million US dollars a month. IS kept accurate records of all transactions.
The Islamic State is proclaiming the introduction of a gold dinar on its website and in social networks , which will gradually be put into circulation.
Adnan al-Sweidawi (“ Abu Ali al-Anbari ”; † December 12, 2015 in al-Ash, Syria) was the representative for Syria alongside the self-proclaimed “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , who was not recognized in the rest of the Islamic world the head of the organization IS. Fadel al-Hayali (“ Abu Muslim al-Turkmani ”), who was killed in a drone attack in the city of Mosul on August 18, 2015, was al-Baghdadi's deputy in Iraq up to that point. Five “governors” rule in Syria and seven more in Iraq. The leadership of ISIS consists of nine councils: the Leadership Council, the Shurā Council, the Legal Council, the Security Council, the Fighter Assistance Council, the Military Council, the Intelligence Council, the Media Council and the Finance Council.
Documents that, according to Der Spiegel, come from the killed IS chief strategist Hajji Bakr , suggest that there is a parallel secret or secret service structure in addition to the management structure described above. At their head is the clandestine body Ahl al-Hall wa-l-ʿAqd , which supposedly makes the actually relevant decisions. In the historical caliphate , a body of that name had the task of electing or deposing the caliph. According to the Spiegel source, Hajji Bakr and his Iraqi intelligence clique actually put al-Baghdadi at the head of IS as a religious frontman in 2010. It is therefore unclear how much power the caliph actually has.
As of 2004, 17 of the 25 members of IS's top leadership were held in the US prison at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq. Western commentators say a "fatal mistake" was made by merging radical jihadists, military and intelligence officers into joint cell blocks. There, experienced military personnel from the Iraqi army were recruited for the Islamic State. In this context, Iraqi observers speak of the “Akademie Bucca”.
"The US occupiers of Iraq had a tragic talent for creating and uniting... their most intelligent enemies."
- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (2003 – Jun. 2006)
- Abu Abdullah ar-Rashid al-Baghdadi (2006 – Apr. 2010)
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (May 2010 – Oct 2019)
- Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi (Nov. 2019 – Feb. 2022)
- Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary , British rapper of Egyptian descent and son of Abdel Abdel Bary, one of the masterminds of two terrorist attacks on US embassies in 1998
- Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi
- Abdul Rahman Uzbeki († 2017), commander, u. a. Planners of the terrorist attack in Istanbul on January 1, 2017
- Abu Abdul Kadr , Cabinet
- Abu Ali al-Anbari († 2015), former deputy in Syria
- Abu Anas ash-Shami († 2004)
- Abu Hajir al-Suri († 2014), was considered the right hand of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
- Abu Hashar al-Assaf , Cabinet
- Abu Husayn at-Tunusi († 2016)
- Abu Qassam , Cabinet
- Abu Louay , Cabinet
- Abu Mohammad al-Adnani († 2016)
- Abu Mohammed , Cabinet
- Abu Muslim al-Turkmani († 2015), former deputy in Iraq
- Abu Omar al-Shishani († 2016), military commander in Syria
- Abu Salah , Cabinet
- Abu Umar al-Kurdi († 2007), bomb specialist
- Abu Yahya Bagdadi († 2014), bomb specialist, allegedly killed by Iraqi special forces in October 2014
- Abu Zakariya al-Tunisi († 2015), Deputy for Tunisia , killed in Sirte
- Denis Cuspert († 2018), a German gangsta rapper and convert
- Christian Emde († 2018), a German IS ideologist who became known in Germany through an interview with Jürgen Todenhofer
- Gulmurod Khalimov , Russian and Azerbaijani citizen, former Tajik military commander, chief military strategist of ISIS after the death of Abu Omar al-Shishani, received US Department of Defense-sponsored anti-terrorist training between 2003 and 2014
- Haji Bakr († 2014), chief strategist
- Mohammed Emwazi "Jihadi John" († 2015), executioner, probably died near ar-Raqqa in a US drone attack
- Salim Benghalem , the highest-ranking Frenchman in the ISIS hierarchy in 2015
- Rachid Kassim († 2017), mastermind behind several successful and failed attacks in France in 2016
- Abu Wahib († 2016), commander of al-Anbar province , killed by airstrike
- Turki al-Binali , chief ideologue
- Hafiz Said Khan , since January 2015 as commander in chief of IS in Afghanistan
- Abu al-Hija († 2016), commander in the Tunisian branch, died in a drone attack near ar-Raqqa
- Çamsulvara Çamsulvarayev , 2009 European wrestling champion; † 2016 in Mosul by American drone
- Jonathan Geffroy , wrongly pronounced dead in 2016, captured by Operation Euphrates Shield troops in al-Bab in February 2017 and extradited to France.
troop strength of the armed forces
Estimates by the US State Department from May 2013 put the number of IS troops in Iraq at between 1,000 and 2,000 people. However, estimates by an Iraq expert from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in June 2014 put the number at between 10,000 and 15,000 people. In Syria, the number of IS fighters was estimated at between 3,000 and 8,000, depending on the source. In August 2014, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, reported that 50,000 people were now fighting in Syria – 20,000 of them were from abroad, and according to estimates by the EU Commission, 2,000 of them were from Europe. The spokesman for the US foreign intelligence service CIA , Ryan Trapani, said in September 2014 that the number of fighters was between 20,000 and 31,500. The number of foreign fighters with the IS (September 2014) was given as around 1,000 Turks, 2,000 Europeans and 100 Americans. In October 2014, the Tunisian government assumed there were 2,400 to 3,000 Tunisians in IS. A UN report dated September 29, 2014 reported 15,000 fighters from 80 countries. At the end of December 2014, 550 Germans were counted at IS. By mid-2015, at least 20,000 foreigners from over 100 countries were suspected, among the foreign jihadists 3,000 Tunisians, 2,500 Saudis, 1,400 French, 700 Germans and Britons, 400 Belgians and 220 Austrians. Although more than 10,000 IS fighters were killed in airstrikes by the anti-IS alliance up until June 2015, the IS's fighting power has remained intact, with 1,000 new fighters arriving every month.
In December 2015, think tank Soufan Group published a report stating that most foreign fighters are from Tunisia (6,000), Saudi Arabia (2,500), Russia (2,400), Turkey (2,100) and Jordan (2,000). According to this, 5,000 fighters come from Western Europe, 1,700 of them from France, 760 from Great Britain, 760 from Germany and 470 from Belgium. There are also 300 people each from Austria and Sweden. A total of about 280 come from the USA and Canada.
In November 2017, German security authorities assumed that 950 German Islamists had traveled to IS territory. Of these 950 people, 150 people were no longer alive at that time. According to an EU study, 42,000 people from 120 countries worldwide moved to IS territory.
In the spring of 2018, thousands of fighters were able to escape through the lines of the Syrian army to western Syria from what was now the core area of IS in Syria.
At times, the IS armed forces had extensive war equipment at their disposal, some of which was bought on the black market and some of which was captured during raids or failed weapon deliveries. The Handelsblatt reported in October 2014 that every fourth weapon comes from China and every fifth from the USA. According to estimates, IS used weapons from more than 25 different countries.
According to the German daily Die Welt , these included, for example, heavy artillery pieces and HOT anti-tank missiles from the production of the Franco-German manufacturer Euromissile and MILAN missiles. There are also American attack helicopters and M198 howitzers . The IS arsenal includes Austrian and Russian sniper rifles as well as machine guns from Russia, China and Belgium.
An article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung shows that IS had poison gas and had already used this chemical weapon. According to this, the poison either came from a secret store and the IS captured it or it could produce it itself.
Type and origin of weapons and ammunition
After IS was largely defeated by the end of 2017, researchers from the Conflict Armament Research group published a study in December 2017 examining the origin of IS weapons and ammunition.
The majority of IS weapons were models developed by the Soviet Union and its satellite states during the Cold War before 1989. Assault rifles and machine guns from Soviet, Chinese, Polish, Yugoslav, Hungarian and East German manufacture were seized.
The researchers also found that IS had captured a significant portion of the armament in the 2014 raid on Iraqi Mosul. The researchers attributed the seized IS ammunition for 7.62×39 and 7.62×54 caliber rifles and machine guns from Russian and Serbian production, PG-7T Panzerfaust rockets for the RPG-7 from Bulgaria to around ammunition deliveries that these states had legally sent to Iraq on behalf of the Americans before 2014.
The investigation also revealed that 9M111-MB-1 guided missiles and PG-7T missiles, which came from supplies purchased by the US in Bulgaria from 2015, were used by IS in Iraq. IS also deployed batches of Romanian PG-9 missiles and Romanian 12.7×108 ammunition purchased by the US Department of Defense in 2015. The researchers assume that the weapons of a group assigned to the Free Syrian Army were previously supplied by the US and then fell to IS. Missiles that Bulgaria had exported to Saudi Arabia in 2014 subject to an end-use certificate were also used by IS in Ramadi in February 2016 . Additional rockets from the batch were captured by Iraqi soldiers from IS near Mosul in September 2017, still in their original packaging. Weapons and ammunition were also found on IS fighters that Qatar had previously supplied to groups in Libya and those that Belgium had supplied to the Pakistani army decades ago. More modern rifles of the Chinese Norinco CQ series in NATO caliber 5.56×45mm were found among IS fighters in Kobane.
Small quantities of IS rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, mortar shells and 5.56×45 mm ammunition were proven to have come from Turkish stocks. The latter had been delivered to Turkey from Bosnia. Chemicals used by IS to make explosives have been seized at several locations in Syria and Iraq. The aluminum powder used came exclusively from sales offices in Turkey, as did the sacks with seized ammonium nitrate and those with potassium nitrate . Originally all these chemicals were produced for sale within Turkey. Indian-made detonators were found at IS in Kobane in 2015, belonging to a shipment of three million detonators for which a Lebanese authority had issued an import license in 2014.
Improvised poison gas bombs based on aluminum phosphide have been seized in IS workshops in Iraq.
Islamic State media
With the scope, professionalism and strategic use of media at all levels - from a fighter's cell phone video to glossy magazines - IS is the first terrorist organization to simultaneously conduct its real fight in the media to this extent. In this way, an attempt is being made to virtually constitute the proclaimed caliphate state . This often succeeds with the target group of the IS, the Muslims living in western countries. People directly affected in the countries bordering Syria and Iraq are usually not very receptive to IS propaganda due to other media and their personal connections. The IS fanaticizes for a radical, archaic interpretation of Islam and does so with the aesthetics of Hollywood and the technology of the Western world, which is rejected as a kuffār . The IS sees no contradiction in this, but uses it consciously. It connects to the preferences of young Muslims socialized in Western societies.
The Islamic State promotes its caliphate state primarily through the use of social networks. In a few cases, the IS appears openly, mostly it is associated sites that propagate a warlike Sunni Islam. After the social networks Twitter, Instagram and Facebook tried to limit the activities of the IS and other Islamist organizations, the operators of the relevant sites switched to other servers or their own servers. A number of social media offered themselves as alternatives. Messages were spread on numerous note services such as justpaste.it . The official accounts are repeatedly deleted from the respective platforms, but new accounts from IS sympathizers are created every day. Twitter deleted the accounts of IS-owned al-I'tisam Media Center and al-Hayat Media Center , but two new accounts opened on the same day , which quickly gained 20,000 followers . Most of the videos are commented or provided with subtitles. As a reaction to the blocking of accounts in social networks, "alternative" networks such as diaspora* are increasingly being used.
In 2014, the IS had Medyan Dairieh, a reporter who worked for the New York media company Vice , report as an embedded journalist from the heart of the new state structure and from its front. His documentary The Advance of the Caliphate received a lot of attention.
Since July 2014, IS has published the multilingual online magazine Dabiq ( Arabic دابق) out. It is elaborately produced and, according to some observers, its design is reminiscent of sect and free church magazines. It appears monthly and is used for propaganda and recruitment. Harleen K. Gambhir from the Institute for the Study of War also examined the comparable magazine of al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula, Inspire , and sees this as a source of motivation for so-called lone-wolf attacks on western targets. Dabiq , on the other hand, aims more at legitimizing the so-called caliphate and tries to persuade Muslims to emigrate to it.
One of the central production sites for all kinds of propaganda is the al-Hayat Media Center. It is the media organization of the Islamic State. According to the daily , ex-rapper and IS fighter Denis Cuspert played an active role in the center.
The al-Hayat is considered the foreign medium of the Islamic State. The al-Furqan Institute for Media Production is the official media office of the IS political leadership and also receives its material from the leadership.
The main media facilities of IS are:
- Al-Furqan Institute for Media Production (al-furqan for 'standard', 'criterion between lies and truth') is the oldest facility for the production of IS propaganda, especially videos. The Al-Furqan Institute was founded in 2006 in conjunction with the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). A video of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi attending a ceremony at a mosque in Mosul was uploaded to YouTube by al-Furqan.
- Al-Hayat Media Center is known for lavishly produced videos and is aimed at a Western audience. In addition to videos with subtitles in different languages, the center also distributes reports, photos and audio material. This is specifically designed to recruit Muslims in western countries for the IS. The logo is based on that of the broadcaster Al Jazeera .
- Al-I'tisam Media Foundation has existed since 2013 and produces and distributes propaganda videos for IS.
- Established in January 2014, Ajnad Media Foundation specializes in the production and distribution of jihadi pop and Islamist vocal music.
- Al Ghuraba Media , founded by Mohamed Mahmoud .
The authorities of various countries are trying, with varying degrees of success, to take action against the distribution of IS propaganda material.
Several media outlets reported extensively on Abu Azrael , an Iraqi Shia militiaman who is hailed by his supporters as a "Shia Rambo " and a hero and who is determined to fight IS terrorists. As a role model, he supports the recruitment of new fighters against the IS militias.
On July 8, 2015, The Sawab Center opened in Abu Dhabi , supporting the alliance against the Islamic State (IS) on social networks, e.g. B. as part of a multinational online messaging and engagement program to counter terrorism.
Ideology and Founding Manifesto
In mid-October 2006, an anonymous representative of the ISI Ministry of Information read a video of a founding declaration of the Islamic State. The political justification given for the proclamation of an Islamic state was that the Sunnis , unlike the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south, still did not have their own state and would have to continue to live under foreign rule. As a religious justification, reference was made to a saying of the Prophet Mohammed in the hadith that Muslims must be ruled by a Muslim. Even then, the most important political goals were the expulsion of all “invaders and aggressors ” from Iraq and the subsequent creation of peace and security, the literal implementation of the Sharia and the associated fair distribution of the country’s resources to all believers.
In early 2007, ISIS released a ninety-page pamphlet titled Notifying Believers of the Birth of Islamic State . In it, an attempt was made to prove the legitimacy of the founding of the state in the sense of the Sunni understanding of law , with reference to Koranic verses and statements by famous medieval Sunni state scholars. The determination of the head of state should be made by "usurpation by submission with the sword" (right of the strongest-armed applicant to the leadership position in the event of a crisis or dispute). Since it cannot be deduced from Sunni sources how large the territory must be on which an Islamic State may be proclaimed, the ISI believes that this is wherever its fighters publicly appear with weapons. Soon after its publication, the text was posted by the Palestinian-Jordanian scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisī on his widely acclaimed website tawhed.ws . It was still read there after al-Maqdisī tried to present himself as a critic of the Islamic State after his release from prison in June 2014.
Sharia and Laws
In its dominion, the IS introduced a 16-point catalog based on Sharia and Wahhabism , which massively standardizes public and private life. Accordingly, the consumption and sale of alcohol, tobacco products and other drugs are prohibited, as is the holding of meetings, "idols" and shrines. Shaving and trimming the beard is prohibited. Women must wear "modest, covering clothing", and statements in mosques are subject to censorship. In June 2015, pigeon breeding , popular in the Middle East , was banned because it discourages Muslims from praying and the sight of pigeon genitals offends their morals. Even before the ban, three men were executed for breeding pigeons. At the same time, this prevents them from being used as a means of communication. The use of mobile phones that can be located via GPS is strictly regulated. Apple products are generally prohibited, with other manufacturers the GPS function must be disabled.
threat to Muslims
Contrary to the message from Amman , it is observed that the IS applies a rigorous version of the Islamic practice of takfīr against Muslims of other faiths : all dissidents (e.g. the Shiites ) are therefore “infidels” or “deniers of God” ( kafir ) and will be deemed worthy of death and killed if they are in the IS' sphere of influence.
Az-Zarqawi harbored a particular hatred for Shiites, which shaped the entire anti-Shiite orientation of IS. He was convinced that these could not be converted, but had to be erased. This view was diametrically opposed to al-Qaeda's view that Shias are only misguided Muslims who, with the right guidance, can be led back to the truth. This was one of the reasons why az-Zarqawi never wanted to cooperate seriously with al-Qaeda. He classified al-Qaeda as a weak institution that followed misconceptions and, in the early stages of IS, only took advantage of its popularity to generate attention and financial resources for his organization.
persecution of Christians
Although Christians are by no means the only victims of Islamic State 's religious violence , the fact that they are still the largest non-Muslim religious community in Syria makes their danger situation even more precarious. Shortly after the Islamic State proclaimed a caliphate in large parts of the Syrian-Iraqi region in 2014, threats against the Christians either to convert to Islam, to leave Syria and Iraq or to be killed if these orders were disobeyed increased. On February 26, 2014 , the leader of the IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , offered - or imposed - a so-called dhimma status on 26 February 2014 in ar-Raqqa according to the prophetic model in Islamic law . However, this meant that the Christians would have to refrain from any hostile act towards the Islamic State . This deliberately vague statement led to the Islamic State practicing a completely arbitrary treatment of Christians, because it can always claim that the Christian population is hostile towards them. For example, after the city of Mosul was conquered by the IS in the summer of 2014, many of the Christians living there were forced to convert to Islam, contrary to the "protection contract" (Dhimma). Frequently, if they refused to convert, they were robbed, expelled, or put to death by the sword. Parts of the Sunni population in Mosul even supported the Islamists in identifying Christian houses by marking Christian buildings with the Arabic letter nun . In the Koran, Christians are often referred to as Naṣāra (Nazoreans , after Jesus of Nazareth ), where the Arabic letter (ن) "Nun" stands for the letter "N". In Mosul, the "nun" was misused to denigrate the Christian minority. While many Sunnis in Syria had forgotten their previously relatively unencumbered relationships with their Christian neighbors during the Islamist onslaught, parts of them subsequently began to hunt down Christians themselves. The IS invasion of Mosul and the subsequent expulsion of the Christians who had lived there for two millennia represented the sharpest turning point of the war for Christianity in the Levant to date. While there were 1.3 million Christians in Iraq under Saddam Hussein , as of 2021 there were still around 1.3 million 200,000. Other drastic incidents, such as the kidnapping of orthodox bishops and nuns and ultimately the widespread anti-Christian attacks by Islamists, confirmed the worst fears of Christians.
slavery and sexual abuse
During its advance in the summer of 2014, IS expelled the Yazidi population from northern Iraq; a large part, who could not escape in time, fell into his captivity. In October 2014, IS declared in its propaganda magazine Dabiq that its "goal was the cultural and religious erasure of Yazidi identity . " IS Sharia students did not classify the Yazidis as a former Islamic sect, but as a pagan religion from pre-Islamic times, i.e. as mushrik (idolaters, i.e. a derogatory term for polytheists ). "According to Islamic law, one is also entitled to enslave Yazidi women and children."
The article, titled The Premature Rebirth of Slavery , goes on to say that women and children were divided among Islamic State fighters "after one-fifth of them were handed over to the Islamic State government as taxes." Heard from accounts of escaped girls It is the practice in all ISIS-held territories to enslave young women and girls aged nine and over as concubines . Foreign militia supporters are provided with women.
In 2015, young people who had fled revealed that IS was training child soldiers. In the raided Yazidi villages in Iraq, IS is trying to re-educate boys and train them as fighters. Observers see the training as part of IS efforts to breed a new generation of fighters. In addition to forcible recruitment, the youth and children are brought into service with the help of gifts, threats and brainwashing. IS uses a video in which a boy, under the supervision of an adult jihadist, beheads a Syrian soldier. Another propaganda video shows 25 children shooting 15 captured Syrian soldiers in the head. According to IS sources, boys with drills are being trained to become fighters in the Faruk camp .
Various human rights organizations assume there are between 2,500 and 7,000 abducted people. "The self-accusation of IS is now an important indication that the terrorist militia is attempting a cultural genocide against the Yazidis."
In April 2016, the IS murdered 250 women because they did not want to be abused as sex slaves. Similar murders had also taken place earlier on a smaller scale.
destruction of cultural property
The IS operates a sharp iconoclasm and systematically destroys cultural assets of the pre-Islamic past. In September 2014, the Armenian Memorial Church at the former Deir ez-Zor concentration camp from the times of the Ottoman genocide of the Armenians was blown up. In February 2015, statues, particularly from the Assyrian period, were deliberately smashed in the Mosul museum . There are also reports that the destructiveness is generally directed against archaeological monuments. In Iraq, between late February and early March 2015, the remains of the ancient cities of Nimrud , Hatra and Dur Šarrukin , as well as the citadel of Assur , are said to have been obliterated with explosives and bulldozers. The scale of the iconoclasm reminded observers of the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddha statues by the Afghan Taliban in March 2001. It is suspected that IS is pursuing various goals and that propaganda motives also play a role in the iconoclasm. In some places it was also reported that cultural goods were possibly transported away by truck in order to make money in the western antique trade .
Islamic scholars and institutions such as the Cairo -based supreme Islamic legal institute Dar al-Ifta condemned the destruction of cultural assets by IS and pointed out that even previous caliphs or scholars such as Abu Hanifa lived in Iraq and preserved these sites and did not destroy them.
Historical places of worship belonging to the Christian minority in Iraq and Syria were deliberately destroyed. The 5th-century Chaldean Monastery of Saint Elias was completely demolished in 2014, as was the Syrian Orthodox Green Church in Tikrit, one of the oldest in Iraq. The tomb of Mar Behnam Monastery in Baghdida was blown up in 2015 and the ancient manuscripts burned, threatening Mor Mattai Monastery . In 2016, the 19th-century Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Hour in Mosul was demolished with explosives. Shia buildings such as the Oweis el-Karni mosque in Raqqa, which was demolished in 2014 , were not spared either.
On May 20, 2015, the IS conquered the ancient metropolis of Palmyra and the UNESCO World Heritage Site there with the predominantly Roman ruins that had been preserved until then. In August and September 2015, the IS began the systematic destruction of several important buildings in the ruined city, including the tomb towers on the outskirts of the city, as well as the Baal Temple and the Baal Shamin Temple , which were completely destroyed by explosives.
genocide and war crimes
On March 19, 2015, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report stating that the violence perpetrated by ISIS had reached genocidal proportions . According to the report, the actions against the Yazidis in particular aim to destroy them as a group. Other crimes such as murder, torture, rape and sexual slavery, as well as forced religious conversion and forced conscription of children were also listed. The investigators appealed to the UN Human Rights Council, which is meeting in Geneva, to lobby the UN Security Council to prosecute all such crimes. The UN Security Council must instruct the International Criminal Court in The Hague to do this.
The journalistic YouTube magazine Vice reports on the basis of an interview that the IS militias, and here above all young men without military training, are required to take the stimulant Captagon before military actions or acts of terrorism , which is intended to dull and brutalize them mentally. Captagon is produced in Lebanon and Syria, among other places, from where it reaches all warring parties via the black market.
Terrorism as a strategy
Islamic State's terrorist strategy stems from the Manifesto Idarat at Tawahush (English: The Management of Bestial Cruelty) written by the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda in 2004. Because youth are rebellious by nature, Islamists believe that terrorist attacks against Shia, Kurds, Christians and atheists would infuse Sunni youth with "energy and idealism" and devote themselves to combat or terror for the sake of self-sacrifice. In addition, the enemy states are to overstretch their forces to protect targets that cannot be effectively protected, and the West is to be encouraged to intervene directly with its own ground forces.
Following the recapture of the last major ISIS-held town of Albu Kamal by the Syrian army in November 2017, ISIS has now lost 96% of the “territory” it originally claimed.
A first terrorist group formed in 2000 around Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Herat (Afghanistan) with the support of al-Qaeda. Due to the US invasion, the small force had to leave Afghanistan and was temporarily accommodated in Pakistan and Iran. After Iranian security forces arrested several of az-Zarqawi's followers, he fled to northern Iraq and found shelter with a group of Kurdish jihadists who called themselves Ansar al-Islam . In 2002, az-Zarqawi began preparing his organization to fight in Iraq. The group carried out its first successful attack in October 2002, killing American Laurence Foley . The rise of the group began with the Iraq war in 2003, which ultimately ended in the establishment of the so-called Islamic State. Colin Powell 's statement before the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003 that Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein supported al-Qaeda and that the governor in Iraq was Abu Musab az-Zarqawi gave this hitherto almost unknown Jordanian an unintentional "knight" from the American nemesis. Since then, the group around Zarqawi has had the greatest appeal for jihadists in Iraq, with great advantages in terms of human and financial resources.
at-Tawheed wa'l-Jihad (2003 to 2004)
From June 2003, Abu Musab az-Zarqawi and his group participated in the resistance of Sunni groups against the occupation of Iraq . He was placed on the consolidated list of the UN Security Council's Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee on September 23, 2003. Az-Zarqawi's organization was blamed for the 19 August 2003 bombing of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq at Baghdad 's Canal Hotel , killing 22 people (including Sérgio Vieira de Mello ) and injuring over 100. The organization appeared in April 2004 as Jamāʿat al-Tawheed wa al-Jihad (JTJ, Association for Tawheed and Jihad ); it was also called the Zarqawi Group or Az Zarqawi Network.
Qāʿidat al-Jihād fi Bilād ar-Rāfidain (2004 to 2006)
In October 2004, the organization joined al-Qaeda and changed its name to Mesopotamia Jihad Base Organization (literally from Tanzīm Qāʿidat al-Jihād fī Bilād ar-Rāfidain , mostly referred to as al-Qaeda in Iraq , briefly: AQI): Osama bin Laden recognized Zarqawi's oath of allegiance ( baiʿa ) and declared him his deputy in Iraq in a message published at the end of December. The organization, which is mainly active in Baghdad and west of Fallujah , intended from the outset to carry out attacks (bombings, murder of hostages) on civilians (officials, foreign aid workers - dozens of dead in 2004); later she also counted political parties and all those involved in the democratic process among the legitimate targets for attacks. She claimed responsibility for the assassination of Ezzedine Salim . In 2004, via videos distributed on jihadist websites, the organization claimed that it was responsible for the kidnappings and videotaped murders of the following foreign civilians: Nicholas Berg , Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley (USA), Kenneth Bigley (UK), Murat Yüce (Turkey), Kim Sun-Il (South Korea), Shosei Koda (Japan), Georgi Lazov and Ivailo Kepov (Bulgaria).
On October 15, 2004, the United States Department of State announced that JTJ had been added to the United States Department of State's list of foreign designated terrorist organizations . On October 18, 2004, UN Security Council Resolution 1526 listed AQI as associated with al-Qaeda, bin Laden and the Taliban . On December 17, 2004, AQI was placed on the list of foreign terrorist organizations designated by the United States Department of State. On March 2, 2005, the Australian government listed AQI as a terrorist organization.
In a letter from Aiman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, dated July 9, 2005 , Zawahiri et al. the importance of the Iraq war for global jihad, that the war will not end with the withdrawal of American troops, the need for at least temporary support from the masses, the demand for political action, the realization that more than half of the conflict is in the media will be discharged.
AQI changed its strategy from kidnappings and individual assassinations in early 2005 to spectacular attacks (above all bomb attacks in Baghdad and western and northern Iraq with over 700 dead in 2005). In September 2005, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi declared war on the Raafida over attacks by Shias on Sunnis; that same year, AQI was also active in Jordan (notably with the November 9 bombings in Amman of the Grand Hyatt , Radisson SAS , and Days Inn hotels ).
Shura Council of Mujahideen in Iraq (2006)
Various jihadist groups joined TQJBR, and in January 2006 the umbrella organization “Shura Council of Mujahideen in Iraq” (MSC, Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen fi 'l-Iraq ) was proclaimed under their leadership; Abu Abdullah ar-Rashid al-Baghdadi (also Abu Omar al-Baghdadi ) was declared the leader , but he controlled the organization until Zarqawi's death in June 2006. After Zarqawi's death, Abu Ayyub al-Masri took over as head of TQJBR.
Islamic State of Iraq (2006 to 2013)
In October 2006, the organization renamed itself "Islamic State in Iraq" (ISI, ad-daula al-islāmīya fī l-ʿirāq ); since then, ISI has been run by a cabinet in which Masri became Minister of War. For the proclamation of the Islamic State , which was to include Baghdad as a Sunni territory, as well as the governorates of al-Anbar , Diyala , Salah ad-Din , Kirkuk , Ninewa and parts of al-Wasit and Babil , the autonomous region of Kurdistan for the Kurds was primarily used of Iraq and the passage of Iraq's federalism law for Iraqi Shias. In 2006, TQJBR/ISI's activities were concentrated in Baghdad, Karbala , Tuz Churmatu and Kufa , with around 440 dead. In the second half of 2006, the so-called Sahwa - or revival movement - was raised in Iraq (initially in al-Anbar) with financing, training and arming by the United States : militias recruited from Sunni Arab tribes and organized in local councils, which against insurgent - and above all AQI – were used. At its peak, it had over 100,000 members (no more than 38,000 since the withdrawal of American troops in 2010); among their leaders was Abdul Sattar Abu Risha .
In 2007, ISI launched attacks across Iraq, often using car bombs in suicide bombings, killing around 1,900 people. In early October 2013, the insurgent organizations in Iraq, Asaeb al-Iraq al-Jihadiyah and Hamas in Iraq, issued statements distancing themselves from the ISI and condemning its tactics.
In 2008, ISI carried out attacks primarily in Mosul , but also in Baghdad, Baquba and Tal Afar , killing a total of around 520 people. In 2009, ISI killed around 630 people in total. With the same strategy, Mosul was often a target of ISI in 2008; next to z. For example, there was an attack on a Shia mosque in Kirkuk that killed over 70 people. In 2010, most attacks by the ISI were carried out in Mosul, Baghdad and the governorates of Diyala and Karbala (including on Shia pilgrims and on busy markets), killing around 700 people. In April 2010, al-Baghdadi and al-Masri were killed near Tikrit in an operation conducted by Iraqi and American forces.
In the wake of the Arab Spring , which was also welcomed by Western countries, armed clashes broke out against demonstrators from early 2011. In mid-2011, the unrest culminated in the Syrian civil war . According to media reports, ISI was supported by Turkey for years. In 2011, ISI carried out attacks primarily in Baghdad and in the governorates of Karbala and Salah ad-Din (such as on Shia pilgrims near Samarra ), killing around 320 people. In 2012, ISI carried out attacks (such as on Shia pilgrims in Basra ) in Baghdad and in the governorates of Basra , Salah ad-Din and Babil , killing around 770 people; These included the July 23, 2012 series of attacks in 19 Iraqi cities that killed 113 and wounded 250, and was part of the "wall demolition" offensive announced by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on July 21, which included: aimed at freeing prisoners.
On January 26, 2012, ISI was recognized by the United States Department of State as an alias of AQI by order of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dated January 11. On February 11, 2012, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on Muslims in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to fight the Assad government. Since about this time, ISI has been openly involved in the Syrian civil war. There she was one of the actors associated with al-Qaeda, along with the al-Nusra Front , with which she partly collaborated and partly fought. On December 11, 2012, the US State Department also included the Nusra Front as an alias of AQI by order dated November 20.
On March 4, 2013, ISI carried out an attack on Syrian troops who had fled to Iraq's al-Anbar governorate; at least 42 Syrian soldiers and officials and up to 14 Iraqis were killed.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (April 2013 to May 2014)
In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the Nusra Front a mere part of ISI and announced the merger of Nusra Front and ISI under the new name Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The leader of the Nusra Front, Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani ( Arabic أبو محمد الجولاني), then a day later opposed the unification with ISI, but swore allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Aiman al-Zawahiri. On May 30, 2013, both ISIS and al-Nusra were identified by the UN as aliases of AQI. On June 9, 2013, Al Jazeera published a letter from Aiman al-Zawahiri to the leaders of ISIS and al-Nusra, in which he canceled the unification and called for the settlement of disputes between the two al-Qaeda groups (for which he blamed Abu Musab al-Suri as a mediator) and assigned different areas of influence to both (ISIS Iraq, Nusra Syria). Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani refused to mediate in their own embassies; this would sanctify the illegitimate colonial frontier of the Sykes-Picot Accord ; the Nusra Front is still considered part of ISIS and Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani is considered an apostate.
The background to ISIL's split from al-Qaeda is that al-Baghdadi, who is described as very ambitious, did not want to limit ISIL's operations to Iraq, but is also active in Syria and in the near future throughout the Levant wants to become active. On the other hand, al-Zawahiri advocates the motto: “If you practice jihad everywhere, you practice it nowhere”, according to which the individual organizations should concentrate on precisely defined operational areas in order to achieve the greatest possible effectiveness. According to observers, the theological positions of ISIL that deviate from al-Qaeda only developed after this break, also in order to legitimize this break.
On July 23, 2013, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks on Iraqi prisons in Abu Ghraib and Taji on the night of July 21-22 . ISIS killed dozens of people with handguns, grenades and car bombs launched by suicide bombers, helping hundreds of prisoners, including senior al-Qaeda operatives, escape from Abu Ghraib.
In the second half of 2013, the Iraqi government under Nuri al-Maliki decided to reinstate and strengthen the Sahwa movement in response to the strengthening of ISIS in Iraq.
On September 29, 2013, suicide car bombers killed six people and wounded 36 in Erbil (government seat of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq) near the Asayesh headquarters. On October 6, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which was a reaction to Masud Barzanis alleged will to support the government in Baghdad and Kurdish forces fighting jihadists in Syria.
In addition to Assad's troops , the main opponents of ISIS in the Syrian civil war are the Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish People's Defense Units (YPG). Syrian cities captured by ISIS include al-Bab , Jarābulus , A'zāz and ar-Raqqa . ISIS is strongest in ar-Raqqa governorate . There and u. a. there were also protests against ISIS in Manbij in 2013.
In the second half of 2013, ISIS expanded its presence in the Iraqi city of Mosul , where the organization reportedly collected $8 million a month in protection money. In late September 2013, ISIS began suicide and mortar attacks in Damascus ; with it she killed about 100 people in one month.
On October 11, 2013, Human Rights Watch released a report stating that ISIS, along with at least 19 other armed opposition groups, were involved in organized massacres in rural areas of Latakia governorate from August 4 to 18, killing at least 190 civilians and killing more than 200 were taken hostage. At least 67 people were executed or unlawfully killed in the operation in pro-government Alawite villages. The five groups that primarily financed, organized and carried out this operation were Ahrar al-Sham , ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra , Jaish al-Muhajirin wal-Ansar and Suquor al-Izz . ISIS and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar still have power over the hostages, most of whom are women and children. The Wall Street Journal reported on December 17, 2013 that the hostages are still in the hands of ISIS and that the organization has stepped up attacks on Alawites and Christians .
On October 15, 2013, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced that they fired four shells at ISIS positions with two T-155 Fırtına after a mortar shell from the Aʿzāz region on Turkish territory at the army border post Demirisik near Kilis . This was the first attack by Turkish forces on al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.
In November 2013, ISIS announced it was running a training camp in Syria for underage fighters , the youngest of whom were ten years old. That same month, following a request from Maliki during a state visit the previous month, the United States began sending Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to Iraq to fight ISIS. Also in November, ISIS and Ahrar al-Sham confronted each other when ISIS beheaded an Ahrar al-Sham commander whom they mistook for an Iraqi Shia. In early January 2014, another incident occurred where ISIS killed and maimed an Ahrar al-Sham commander.
Because of ISIS's mass arrests and killings of Syrian activists and rebels, its extreme interpretation of Islam, and its lack of involvement in struggles against the Assad government, numerous rebel groups have accused ISIS of being infiltrated by government forces and working against the revolution. Another part of the ISIS leadership comes from Iraq, the fighters previously served as officers under Saddam Hussein and were released from Iraqi prisons at short notice. Al-Qaeda head Zawahiri distanced himself from ISIS in February 2014.
Islamic State (June 2014 to present)
With the proclamation of a caliphate on June 29, 2014, the organization only calls itself the Islamic State. In mid-November 2014, IS announced in a statement that it would introduce its own currency based on gold and silver coins. The goal is to escape from the "tyranny of the financial system " and "to release Muslims from a global economic system based on satanic usury ".
Evaluations of internal IS documents were published in mid-November 2014, proving that IS is trying to build state-like structures. According to the Iraqi government, the documents were stored on USB sticks and hard drives and were found during a raid on Adnan Ismail Najim's hideout in Mosul on June 5, 2014. Adnan Ismail Najm (combat name: Abdel Rahman al-Bilawy), who was shot dead in the raid on June 4, 2014, was considered the second man within IS. He acted as Minister of War and was also considered a close confidant of the Caliph Baghdadi; in 2003, after the fall of Saddam Hussein , they were imprisoned together in the US military prison Camp Bucca (near Umm Qasr ) in southern Iraq, which they called "the Academy". The Iraqi government made some of the documents available to the investigative team at NDR , WDR and the Süddeutsche Zeitung . The British Guardian had already reported on the document discovery in June. The evaluated material dates from 2013 and extends to spring 2014. The documents refer almost exclusively to Iraq. As a result, social benefits (health insurance, marriage grants and support payments) have been initiated for the families of killed or imprisoned combatants. The costs for the social system, which were listed there, sometimes exceeded the expenditure for the purchase of weapons. The documents also show that all nine IS provinces have their own budget; In November 2013, the Baghdad North district alone spent exactly $493,200. The material also shows that there is a financial equalization between the IS provinces in favor of the poorer regions.
According to the political scientist Peter R. Neumann , Professor at King's College London , the IS uses terror as a means of warfare quite systematically, probably more than any other terrorist organization before it: "These documents basically confirm that this entire organization actually does a lot is more rational and much more well thought-out than we previously imagined.” The Federal Intelligence Service analyzed for the federal government : Unlike al-Qaeda, IS offers life in a caliphate. This makes it highly attractive to Muslims all over the world and is one of the reasons why IS represents "a greater challenge for the western community of states" than al-Qaeda.
According to Röhmel/Wolf, from the point of view of the IS (as well as other Islamists such as members of al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood ), the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a "soldier of Allah" who is supposed to fight all enemies and should be used as a weapon.
Reasons for the rise of IS
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair sees the US-led invasion of Iraq as partly to blame for the emergence of the terrorist militia Islamic State. There are "elements of truth" in the claim that the Iraq war caused the rise of ISIS.
The Qatari legal scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi , who is close to the Muslim Brotherhood , criticized the disadvantage and oppression of the Sunnis in Iraq. Discrimination, detention and torture were reported under the Maliki government.
In particular, the Sunni units of the Iraqi army were not sufficiently equipped with weapons, which meant that IS was able to take Ramadi 2015 without resistance, for example.
In a commentary, the Rhein-Zeitung assumes that the civil wars of many groups in Iraq and Syria made the strengthening of the IS possible in the first place; Chaos and a vacuum are made for tightly organized terrorist militias like the Islamic State. According to political scientist David Siddhartha Patel , the complete withdrawal of US troops in 2011 demanded by the Iraqi government was a security policy mistake . Iraq also lacks an air force .
The Green politician Claudia Roth accused Turkey of having supported the IS militias with weapons and training camps, she spoke of Turkey's "dirty politics". Green politician Katja Keul also criticizes Qatar's possible role as a supporter of IS: "Whether it's the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Islamists in Libya, Mali, Syria or Iraq - there are reports of financing from Qatari sources everywhere."
Islam scholar Ulrike Freitag points out that although the Saudi Arabian government now sees IS as an enemy, there are still Saudi supporters of the terrorist organization who support their policies financially. Freitag emphasizes the importance of the sectarian antagonism between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran as the cause of the war.
US General John R. Allen believes that Daesh is not fighting a force, but an idea. The IS has managed to give itself the image of an Islamic state that is invincible and protects the Islamic faith. Similarly, US General Michael K. Nagata is quoted as saying: “We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it.” According to a comment by former Israeli Major General Giora Eiland on the news portal ynetnews , however, IS would be much easier to defeat militarily than other terrorist organizations because it operates with large concentrations of troops that are easy to spot, and it is more due to the West's unwillingness to do so.
Syrian journalist Hassan Hassan explained that IS is adopting existing structures and thereby consolidating its power in the Sunni regions. The organization built up a security apparatus consisting of competing secret services modeled on the regime in Syria and the former dictatorship in Iraq. Similar to these Ba'ath regimes, IS is also expanding its influence by playing different groups and tribes off against each other. However, this system, which was largely built on the basis of local allies, also ensures that IS has no influence outside the Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria.
situation in Iraq
After the Second Iraq War , which was internationally disputed (see 2003 Iraq crisis ), first an interim administration , then a governing council , and then an Iraqi government was installed. United States troops were withdrawn in December 2011 (see 2003–2011 occupation of Iraq ). Social and religious groups in the country are in tension. The Sunni minority felt oppressed by Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (who resigned in August 2014). Parts of the Iraqi army deserted. In the first half of 2014, IS militias managed to take control of large parts of northern Iraq. In June 2014, even Baghdad was threatened .
In early January 2014, ISIS fighters managed to storm and take control of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi , the capital of western Iraq 's Al-Anbar province ; However, they were soon expelled from Ramadi by tribal fighters and local police forces (see Anbar uprising in January 2014 ). After a few days, the regular authorities in Fallujah were open again as usual. Previously, Sunni tribal leaders, along with the local police, had assumed responsibility for security in the area.
The USA and the European Union discussed a renewed military invasion in order to prevent the disintegration of Iraq. Turkey and Israel were also seen as affected by the crisis. The spiritual leader of the Iraqi Shiites , Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani , called on the Iraqis to resist the Sunni jihadists . Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has not ruled out working with the US to fight ISIS militias.
In early June 2014, the organization launched a lightning offensive on the second largest Iraqi city of Mosul - the group was led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi . Within a few days they conquered the city and then the predominantly Sunni provinces of Nineveh , Salahaddin and Anbar in the north of the country. When they took Mosul, they also kidnapped 49 people from the Turkish consulate. About 670 non-Sunni prisoners are said to have been massacred in Badusch prison . The Iraqi army mostly left the field to the attackers without a fight. The British newspaper The Guardian reported that around 30,000 government soldiers deserted in the Mosul offensive; the number of ISIS attackers was estimated at 800. In addition to the arms depots of the local garrison, the ISIS fighters also took control of an unknown number of US Black Hawk helicopters , other aircraft and heavy weapon systems. According to an Iraqi security officer, citing interrogation of a captured ISIS courier, up to $1.5 billion worth of money and military equipment fell into their hands during the seizure of Mosul, their combined assets (money and weapons) reported previously stood at $875 million. The IS captured 2,400 armored vehicles, mostly from US production.
On June 10, ISIS fighters from Mosul entered Baiji , home of Iraq's largest oil refinery, but withdrew in the face of increased army and police forces.
On June 11, 2014, ISIS fighters reached Tikrit , where Sunnis from Saddam Hussein 's former dictatorship worked with ISIS fighters, and Baiji. More than 100 people died in clashes between the Hawza of Najaf and IS in the province of Salah ad-Din on June 12 in the towns of Udhaim and Mukdadija .
On June 12, 3,000 Iraqi Army soldiers left Camp Speicher airbase in civilian clothes to surrender after their officers had fled. The ISIS militias divided the soldiers into Sunnis and Shiites and, according to their own statements, executed around 1,700 Shiite soldiers. The organization Human Rights Watch estimated the number of victims at up to 770. Satellite images were able to identify five locations where the killings had taken place. These mass killings became known as the Tikrit massacres . In the same period around 700 Turkmens are said to have been executed by IS around the village of Beshir .
The people of Baghdad braced for an attack, and on June 13, Iraq 's Shia religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani , shed his restraint and called for a fight against the Sunni extremists. Anyone who can carry a gun should join the Iraqi security forces. The appeal was read by Sistani's deputy, Sheikh Abdul Mehdi Kerbalaie, during the Friday sermon at Imam Hussein Mosque in Karbala . The radical Shiite preacher Muqtada al-Sadr also called on his followers to resist.
About a million Iraqis were on the run. Many tried to reach the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, which is considered stable. A little later, the Al-Kaim border post, an official border crossing between Iraq and Syria, was captured.
Despite the open dispute between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad and Kurdish President Masud Barzani in Erbil , the leadership of the Kurdish regions in Iraq officially sided with the Iraqi government and sent their Peshmerga units from the capital Erbil into the combat zone. On June 12, Peshmerga fighters took complete control of the major city of Kirkuk .
After taking Mosul, Nuri al-Maliki's government asked the US government for air support against ISIS fighters. US President Barack Obama considered a military strike, but the use of US troops on the ground was ruled out. The United States has already invested heavily in building up the Iraqi security forces; if they are not ready to fight, there are "problems with morale and commitment to Iraq". It is "up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign state, to solve their problems," Obama said, citing Iraq's difficult history . First, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel moved the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush to the Persian Gulf . This was accompanied by three destroyers that had already been deployed with their Tomahawk cruise missiles during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) , the USS Truxtun (DDG-103) , the USS O'Kane (DDG- 77) and a missile-equipped cruiser , the USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) . In addition, another warship was assigned to the region, the USS Mesa Verde , which is designed for amphibious operations, with a Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey vertical take-off tiltrotor convertible aircraft and with 550 marines on board.
On June 14, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered to assist Iraq under international law and did not rule out cooperation with the United States in Iraq in principle: "If we see that the United States is taking action against terrorist groups in Iraq, then you can think about it. So far, however, we have not seen any action from their side.” Rouhani also denied a Wall Street Journal report that at least three elite units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Al-Quds Brigades (Al-Quds Brigades) had already been deployed to Iraq.
On June 17, Barack Obama decided to send a 275-strong task force to Iraq to take personnel from the US Embassy in Baghdad to the US consulates in Erbil ( Kurdistan Autonomous Region in northern Iraq) and Basra (southern Iraq) as well as to the US -Move embassy to Amman , Jordan . It has not been announced how many of the 5,000 US embassy employees in Baghdad will be relocated.
A US State Department spokeswoman has denied possible military cooperation with Iran after Secretary of State John Kerry had previously failed to rule it out.
According to a Kurdish DPK official, most of the rebels who have joined the ISIS offensive are not Islamists but non-radical Sunni Iraqis who disagree with the Shia Maliki government. They are supported by soldiers from the Iraqi army who have been dismissed or who have defected, and the number is said to be many times that of the jihadists. They cite diverse discrimination by the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government as the reason.
On June 29, 2014, the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan , the organization proclaimed the caliphate and its leader Baghdadi caliph in a comprehensive statement . In Arabic, English, Russian, French and German, the organization simultaneously announced its renaming from "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" to "Islamic State". She also stated that all emirates, groups, states and organizations would lose their legitimacy with the arrival of the Caliphate and its troops.
On July 3, Saudi Arabia announced the deployment of 30,000 troops towards the Iraqi border after a withdrawal of Iraqi soldiers stationed there and amid ongoing fighting between government forces and IS.
In July 2014, IS fighters in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tal Afar destroyed Shia and Sufi mosques and shrines, including the mausoleum of Ahmed Rifai , a descendant of Muhammad . On July 18, the Christian residents of Mosul were told via loudspeakers in the mosques to leave the city; otherwise they are threatened with "the sword". A week earlier, they had been asked to convert to Islam or pay a special tax to avoid deportation. The homes of Christians were marked with an N for Nasrani ; they should go to the Islamic State. The bishopric of the Syriac Catholic Church in Mosul was set on fire. The group also took control of several oil fields and Iraq's largest dam, the Mosul Dam .
At the end of July, the Peshmerga units stationed north and west of Mosul withdrew after fierce fighting with at least 77 dead. Most residents of the area belong to the Yazidi religious minority , who are infidels in the eyes of IS. In the course of the conquest, IS murdered ten Shia Kurds and destroyed Shia and Yazidi shrines. The advance of IS triggered a mass exodus, with up to 200,000 people fleeing to nearby Jabal Sinjar . The UN special envoy for Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov , spoke of a humanitarian tragedy and warned that the IS had surrounded the Sinjar mountains. After the destruction of important mosques and tombs, Sunni resistance against the IS also formed in Mosul; a group called the Mosul Revolutionary Brigades killed several IS fighters.
Southeast of Mosul, IS fighters captured Baghdida (Karakosh) on August 7, among other places. Over 200,000 Christians, particularly of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East , were expelled from the Mosul plain. In addition, IS fighters pushed towards Erbil , the seat of the autonomous region of Kurdistan .
On August 8, 2014, the US government bombed IS artillery positions with fighter jets. Further US Navy airstrikes took place from the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN-77) in the following days . According to US military information, tanks captured by IS were also eliminated.
Iraqi Human Rights Minister Shia al Sudani reported that 500 Yazidis were killed by IS supporters, some of whom were buried alive. In addition, hundreds of women have been kidnapped, all of whom are under 35 years old and are said to be locked up in schools in the city of Mosul, according to a spokesman for the minister. Yezidi MP Wian Dachil stated that 20,000 to 30,000 Yazidis were rescued from the Sinjar mountains by Kurdish peshmerga fighters . According to expelled Yazidis, the rescue was not carried out by the Peshmerga, but by fighters from the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People's Defense Units (YPG), both of which are close to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The UN reported several thousand more Yazidis who were stuck in the mountains and surrounded by IS. On July 30, Qasim Şeşo founded a Yazidi vigilante group ( YBŞ ) in order to be prepared for extreme cases. This militia took up positions in the Sinjar Mountains to protect the Sherfedin pilgrimage site and to fight against the IS. According to the Kurdish news agency Basnews , at least 80 men died in Tel Kujo because they did not want to convert to Islam .
A senior IS leader, Abu Turab Al Mugaddasi, has said he intends to go as far as Saudi Arabia to take Mecca . King Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz then declared that 30,000 soldiers would be stationed in the north of the country. A month later, it was announced that a 900-kilometer fence would be erected on the border with Jordan.
On August 11, it was announced that Kurdish forces had recaptured the cities of Makhmur and Gver with US air support. Gwer had previously been abandoned by the Kurdish forces on the night of August 6/7.
Nuri al-Maliki resigned as Prime Minister of Iraq on August 14, 2014 in favor of his designated successor and political rival Haidar al-Abadi . On August 15, 25 Sunni tribes began resisting ISIS and driving it out of areas west of the provincial capital, Ramadi . On August 18, the strategically important Mosul Dam was recaptured by Kurdish and Iraqi units with US air support.
The Iraqi Army launched a counteroffensive on August 19, 2014 to retake the Sunni -dominated city of Tikrit . However, the offensive came to a standstill on the same day because the resistance was too strong.
On August 22, 2014, Kurdish forces launched an offensive on the strategically important town of Jalawla in the governorate of Diyala , while the Iraqi army marched on the nearby town of Saadiya . On September 17 it became known that the place was still in the hands of the IS, a main reason was the support of the IS by the Krui tribe, which according to the Peshmerga has about 1500 former army soldiers in its ranks.
At the end of August 2014, IS members posted a video on the Internet purporting to show the murder of American journalist James Foley . At the end of the video, a second prisoner identified as Steven Sotloff was shown. Addressed to the American President, the video explained: "The life of this American citizen, Obama , depends on your next decision." Shortly thereafter, the news channel ABC News reported on another hostage situation by IS. It is a 26-year-old woman who was kidnapped in Syria in 2013. Among other things, the kidnappers demanded $6.6 million and the release of Aafia Siddiqui . The USA are continuing their airstrikes and no longer ruled out an expansion of the attacks on IS positions in Syria .
On August 27, the Iraqi Air Force began attacking IS positions around the town of Amerli in the Tuz Churmatu district of Salah ad-Din , which had been surrounded for two months . At the same time, aid supplies and ammunition were flown into the city by helicopter. Iraqi Army forces, Shia and Kurdish fighters launched a joint offensive on August 30 to relieve the city, which had been besieged for more than two months. These ground forces, numbering several thousand strong, advanced against the encirclement from four directions, supported by airstrikes with US participation . The Iraqi army broke through the siege ring on August 31, 2014. The smaller towns around Amerli city were recaptured on the same day. The air force of Shiite-dominated Iran is likely to have participated for the first time. According to Washington Institute for Near East Policy Iraq expert Michael Knights, the city became a symbol of the Shia resistance and was also the last non-Sunni community to be at the mercy of the terrorist organization. In the course of this offensive, the allied forces were able to recapture the city of Sulaiman Bak, which had been lost eleven weeks ago, and 36 IS fighters were captured. Shortly thereafter, mass graves were discovered there.
On August 28, a video was posted on YouTube purporting to show the beheading of a peshmerga militant. The beheading is meant to be a warning to Kurdish leaders to end their alliance with the US. In the early morning, Kurdish forces in the Zumar district of Tal Afar in the governorate of Ninewa - 10 to 20 km west of the Mosul dam - were able to win back some towns, including the oil town of Ain Zalah , which was lost on August 3, and the strategically important Batma mountain - it enables a very good view of the towns of Ain Zalah and Zumar. IS set fire to three oil wells as it retreated. On August 30, the first Kurdish units were able to enter the town of Zumar , which had been under IS control since the beginning of the month. Zumar was captured shortly thereafter.
On September 2, IS released a video in which a black hooded fighter apparently murdered journalist Steven Joel Sotloff . In the video, the assassination was justified by the continuation of the US attacks against IS positions. There were also threats of killing British national David Cawthorne Haines if US airstrikes continue.
On September 4, it was announced that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's right-hand man, Abu Hajir al-Suri , was allegedly killed in an airstrike on Mosul; 50 IS fighters are said to have died in this air raid. During the same period, IS militias stormed the town of Tel Ali west of Kirkuk and kidnapped at least 50 men.
Kurdish forces advanced east of Mosul and were able to fight their way 25 kilometers to the city by September 5, while more villages were recaptured from IS. On September 6, the Peshmerga conquered the strategically important Zartak mountain about 20 km east of Mosul . The US Air Force supported the advance.
On September 7, the US Air Force also bombed IS positions at Haditha Dam , about 250 km southwest of Mosul, opening up an additional front. The attacks were in support of Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribes defending the dam, and the airstrikes came at the request of the Iraqi government. The air strikes enabled the fighters to capture the town of Barwana about 10 km south of the dam.
On September 12, it was announced that Saudi Arabia , Iraq , Bahrain , Egypt , Jordan , Kuwait , Lebanon , Oman , Qatar and the United Arab Emirates intend to join the international alliance. In a joint statement following an anti-terror conference in the Saudi port city of Jeddah , the ten Arab countries said they had agreed to do their part in the fight against the extremists and to support the military action. Among other things, they promised to stop the extremists' financial flows and the influx of foreign fighters.
Australia announced in mid-September 2014 that it would deploy 600 troops and eight FA18 Super Hornets to the United Arab Emirates. Two hundred of these soldiers were members of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment . On September 15, 2014, the French Air Force launched reconnaissance flights in Iraq for the first time.
A video was released on September 13 purporting to show the beheading of British aid worker David Haines . The act was justified as follows: "This Briton must pay the price for your promise, Cameron, to arm the peshmerga in order to take action against the 'Islamic State'." British development worker Alan Henning was announced as the next victim.
By September 16, US airstrikes on IS positions had reached 162, and positions near the Iraqi capital were attacked for the first time. On the same day, the peshmerga were able to liberate five more villages northeast of Mosul. The liberation of these villages was considered a strategically important success. After the Peshmerga had been able to establish themselves ten days earlier 20 km east of Mosul, on Mount Zartak, a northern encirclement movement became apparent here. According to statements by a local commander, the IS troops had been in retreat for days. It also became known that the Kurdish fighters are preparing an offensive to recapture the Mosul plain. On September 18, the US Air Force attacked and completely destroyed several training camps in the Hammam al-Alil area, about 25 km south of Mosul. On September 20, it became known that the US Air Force had attacked targets in downtown Mosul for the first time.
On September 19, French Air Force Rafale jets bombed and completely destroyed an IS weapons depot in the Zumar area . In Algeria , the Frenchman Hervé Gourdel was killed by Jund al-Chilāfa /جُنْد الخِلافة/ Ǧand al-Khilāfa / 'Army of the Caliphate / Army of the Caliphate' (formerly affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Maghreb , since 14 September IS) kidnapped on 21 September, the terrorists demanded a cessation of French airstrikes. On September 24, the French hostage was beheaded. The French government had previously announced that it would not give in to blackmail.
Airstrike on an IS building near Al Qitar on September 23, 2014
Attack on an IS base near Abu Kamal
On September 25, ten fighter jets from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and six from the United States carried out further airstrikes on 12 IS-controlled and modular oil refineries near the Syrian-Iraqi border at Al-Mayadin , Al-Hasakah and Abu Kamal .
On September 26, Britain participated in airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq with two Tornado armed fighter jets . Belgium , the Netherlands and Denmark also pledged their support. Belgium sent six F-16 fighter jets and 120 soldiers to Jordan, the Netherlands also sent six F-16s and a maximum of 250 soldiers, including 130 for training Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers.
According to Peshmerga representatives, Kurdish fighters advanced on three fronts on September 30 with air support and artillery fire. Two villages in the border area with Syria were recaptured, and the Kurdish fighters also moved into the border town of Rabia (located on Autobahn 1 ) and encountered resistance. Another offensive was carried out in the Zumar area. Around the Darkuk in the governorate of Kirkuk , some villages could also be recaptured.
On September 30, 2014, the Royal Air Force flew attacks against IS positions. Canada announced that it would take part in the airstrikes against IS. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said the Turkish parliament will approve resolutions on October 1 on combat operations against IS.
Along with ten former parliamentary candidates, the Iraqi lawyer and human rights activist Samira Salih Ali al-Nuaimi was executed after five days of torture in Mosul for criticizing the destruction of religious sites by IS.
The first Christian militia emerged in the Alqosh area . The reason for this is the flighty retreat of the Peshmerga in August 2014.
On October 3, a video appeared on the Internet purporting to show the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning , who was kidnapped by IS fighters in December 2013. His killing was justified in the video by Britain's involvement in the attacks on ISIS in Iraq.
Executions of politically active women and academics, including two doctors, also became known in early October. Cameraman Raad Mohammed al-Asawi and journalist Muhannad al-Akidi were also killed by IS. It was also reported that IS had already captured the Muthanna complex north- west of Baghdad on June 11, 2014 and presumably also captured the remains of warfare agents or production residues, including sarin .
At the beginning of October 2014, IS units advanced against the Yazidis in the Sinjar Mountains . About 10,000 people stayed in the region and lacked supplies. Among them were about 3000 vigilante ( Hêza Parastina Şingal ) members led by Qasim Şeşo , as well as 7000 civilians. Among other things, they are trying to protect the pilgrimage site of Sharaf ad-Din . The towns of Borik and Dhola fell to IS. Kurdish units managed to hold the city of Zumar , which was once again heavily contested, and thus access to the Sinjar Mountains. According to UN estimates , up to 5,000 Yazidis have been executed by IS since the summer of 2014 and around 7,000 women have been enslaved.
Syrian Ambassador to New Delhi , Riyadh Kamel Abbas, at an Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) conference on October 15, 2014, called ISIS an "American myth," a fabrication that receives direct support from Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Qatar funded: "Al Qaeda appeared in Syria after the US occupied Iraq. Before that, there was no al-Qaeda in Syria. It is clear that al-Qaeda was created by the US and ISIS is US-backed.”
The Iraqi army reported the expulsion of IS militias from the city of Baiji . In the western Iraqi province of al-Anbar , which since the capture of the city of Hīt has been largely controlled by IS, including at strategically important points, heavy fighting broke out again around Ramadi . In addition, more than 630 members of the Sunni tribe Albu Nimr are said to have been executed in the province because they had fought IS.
Sinjar Mountains : Kurdish forces launched a successful offensive to recapture the Sinjar Mountains. Many Yazidis are said to be hiding there after fleeing IS and threatened by winter. Access to the strategically important city of Sinjar was opened from the mountains .
Sinjar (also: Sinjar ): Kurdish troops were able to reconquer the city of Sinjar, which was formerly mostly inhabited by Yazidis. There were reports of snipers in the city. The city lies on a connecting road between ar-Raqqa and Mosul. The interruption of the connection is said to have led to supply problems for the IS in Mosul. Jihadists who fled Sinjar are said to have been executed in Mosul. The numbers, difficult to verify, varied between 45 and 70 people. The Kurdish successes led to discussions in the media about the strategy of the Kurds in non-Kurdish inhabited areas and the danger of a Kurdish-Sunni war. Mass graves have been discovered in Hardan , a Yazidi village near Sinjar.
Tal Afar ( ): The nearest major city towards Mosul is Tal Afar. Sunni Turkmen living there are said to have fled to Mosul for fear of air raids and acts of revenge. A special unit of Iraqi troops recaptured a military base near Tal Afar in the course of the Kurdish successes.
Mosul : IS blew up a St. Mary's Catholic Church north of the city.
Samarra : An Iranian officer was killed by a sniper.
Baiji : The city of Baiji, recently recaptured by Iraqi government forces, has been recaptured by ISIS. This again besieged the neighboring largest refinery in Iraq.
Shia militias: There are now said to be 35 Shia militias in Iraq, including 6 Hezbollah militias, fighting against Daesh. They were accused of indiscriminately targeting Sunni men and committing human rights abuses.
In mid-January 2015, the Kurdish fighters were able to gain further territory in northern Iraq. At the end of the month, IS launched a surprise offensive on the city of Kirkuk in dense fog , which the Kurds were able to repel. Middle East experts saw this as an attempt at diversion to stop the peshmerga from advancing on Mosul .
In early February 2015, the anti-IS coalition increasingly launched airstrikes on Mosul. The IS then took the city of Khan al-Baghdadi and carried out unsuccessful offensives against the nearby Al Asad military airfield and the Kurdish capital Erbil . A major military offensive by the Iraqi army has been announced for spring, in which up to 25,000 soldiers are to advance towards Mosul. The army is trained under the direction of the anti-IS coalition. New Zealand announced that it would send 140 soldiers to Iraq for this purpose. Australia also took this as an opportunity to increase the existing troop contingent from 170 soldiers by a further 300 to 470. France moved the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the Persian Gulf . IS is said to have started building a defensive trench in Mosul.
On February 17, it became known that IS had allegedly burned alive 30 to 45 civilians in a public execution in al-Anbar province for allegedly collaborating with state security forces.
At the end of the month there was a serious case of cultural vandalism in Mosul. First, IS supporters stormed the city's historic library and burned at least 8,000 books. More than 100,000 books and manuscripts may have been destroyed, including some that are on the UNESCO List of Rarities . On February 26, IS released a video showing the destruction of numerous works of art in the Mosul Museum . In addition to ancient finds from Hatra , two lamassu doorkeeper figures from Nineveh , more than 2,600 years old, were smashed; one was in the museum, the other at the Nergal Gate on the city wall.
On March 1, 2015, Iraqi forces launched the Battle of Tikrit from Samarra . Iraqi soldiers, Shia militias and fighters from Sunni tribes (totalling about 30,000 men) advanced on the city from three directions. They were supported by fighter jets and attack helicopters. The IS defended itself with booby traps, suicide bombers and snipers, so that the attack made slow progress at first.
On March 6, near Tikrit, the capture of the strategically important town of Al-Dur by the Iraqi army was reported. In addition, Chan al-Baghdadi and other villages in the area were conquered in western Iraq, and the IS fighters withdrew in the direction of Haditha . Kurdish soldiers from the city they held also attacked IS positions in the surrounding area near Kirkuk . During the same period, four members of the Sahwa militia in Tikrit and 20 Iraqis in al-Hawijah who wanted to fight IS with paramilitary units were executed.
On March 6, it was reported that IS in northern Iraq had bulldozed what remained of the ancient Near Eastern city of Nimrud , once a capital of the Assyrian Empire . Shortly thereafter , numerous buildings were also said to have been demolished with explosives and bulldozers in the ancient city of Hatra , which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List . Subsequently, the IS is said to have destroyed the old Assyrian fortress of Dur Sharrukin and the monastery of Mar Gorgis near Nineveh .
After Iraqi units took the town of Al-Alam on March 9, Tikrit was surrounded. On March 11, the army entered Tikrit for the first time; they were able to take partial control of the district of Kadissiya and penetrate to the city center on the same day. The next day it was reported that Iraqi forces had recaptured much of Tikrit.
On March 31, the Iraqi government was able to announce a victory against IS in Tikrit.
After heavy fighting between government troops and IS fighters, the western Iraqi provincial capital of Ramadi fell completely to IS on May 17. Authorities speak of around 500 dead combatants and civilians in the city, which government troops were unable to hold despite increased airstrikes by the United States. It was the terrorist militia's first significant victory since the defeats of Tikrit in early April and Kobane in January. The fall of Ramadi is therefore seen as a major setback for Iraq in the fight against IS.
The US decided to set up a training camp at Taqaddum, near the town of Habbaniya. The recapture of Mosul is to be postponed.
The recapture of Ramadi by the troops loyal to the government was initiated, and the city was cut off from supplies. In particular, 3,000 trained soldiers were brought in as reinforcements.
On August 1, 2015, Masud Barzani called on the PKK to withdraw from its bases in northern Iraq.
On October 20, 2015, Iraqi forces and Shiite militias recaptured the city of Baiji , home to Iraq's largest oil refinery.
On November 13, 2015, Sinjar was completely recaptured by Kurdish units.
On November 23, 2015, 14 of Ramadi's 39 wards were reportedly retaken from pro-government forces; on November 28, 2015, pro-government forces occupied the bridge over the Euphrates .
At the end of December 2015, Ramadi was in the hands of Iraqi government troops.
On May 13, 2016, at least 19 people died in an IS attack with machine guns and a suicide attack on visitors to a café in Balad .
On May 17, 2016, IS suicide bombers attacked the gas power plant in Taji , which was newly built in 2012 by URUK Engineering & Contracting Co. At least 11 people are killed and 22 others injured.
At least 27 people were killed and more than 60 injured in two suicide attacks by IS on June 9, 2016 in Baghdad . In Taji , about 25 kilometers north of Baghdad, an assassin drove his car loaded with explosives into an Iraqi army checkpoint . Seven civilians and five soldiers die.
On June 17, 2016, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the liberation of the city of Fallujah from the Islamic State (IS). Iraqi forces began their offensive in May 2016, supported by US airstrikes as part of Operation Inherent Resolve .
The US Department of Defense announced on July 1, 2016 that the International Alliance against the Islamic State had already captured the Deputy Minister of War of the Islamic State (IS), Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari, and killed ISIS commander and military police chief Hatim Talib al-Hamduni with precision attacks.
On July 8, the Reuters news agency reported that IS had managed to obtain nuclear material in northern Iraq. Approximately 40 kg of uranium compounds were stored in the University of Mosul for research purposes , which the IS was able to steal. According to Iraqi UN ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim , IS could use the material to build a radiological weapon (dirty bomb).
At least 75 people were killed and 130 others injured in an IS car bomb attack in a shopping area in Baghdad 's Karrada district. Another explosive device killed two people in the Al-Shaab neighborhood of al-Aʿzamiyya district.
After extensive preparations by Iraqi forces, the peshmerga and local militias, the Battle of Mosul began in mid-October . ISIS has ruled Mosul since early June 2014. "The time of victory has come and the operations to liberate Mosul have begun," Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a speech on state television on October 17, 2016. Before the operation, Refugee camps set up, but their capacities have been criticized as insufficient.
In the first days of the offensive, troops advanced on Mosul and by October 20, 2016 captured some surrounding villages. Turkey is involved in the offensive, which has sparked intra-coalition conflicts and protests.
The human rights organizations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International , as well as diplomatic observers, accuse the Peshmerga of deliberately and systematically destroying Arab settlements under the guise of fighting IS. and to expel the residents with the aim of creating a Kurdish settlement area that is as ethnically homogeneous as possible.
By January 2017, the Iraqi forces had succeeded in taking the districts of Mosul east of the Tigris River in the Battle of Mosul and, among other things , liberating the site of the ruins of Nineveh and the University of Mosul there.
In early March 2017, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the defeat of IS in north-west Iraq in a farewell speech. In this speech he called on his fighters to withdraw and entrench themselves in the Syrian and Iraqi mountains. Al-Baghdadi also spoke of the defeats of the IS in the province of Nineveh and other Iraqi areas. He himself described his message as a farewell speech.
According to their own statements, the armed forces are in a so-literally "final phase" of the recapture of Mosul. A week earlier, government troops opened a new front in the western part of the city. The task force announced that units are advancing from the northwest and south to disable IS fortifications . Iraqi elite units reached a position within sight of the mosque where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed his caliphate on June 29, 2014 in his only and last public appearance . The mosque is therefore of particular importance to IS, which is why its fighters are putting up fierce resistance. The UN refugee agency reported that a refugee camp opened in April 2017 with a capacity for 30,000 people is working to capacity. In addition, the refugees reported heavy fighting and massive air raids. They also reported that there was a lack of water, food and petrol within the city. The United Nations Emergency Relief Office said the total number of people fleeing Mosul has increased from over 430,000 to 615,000. In addition, there are said to be a large number of civilians in the western part of the city. In the already liberated eastern part there is a lack of drinking water. Aid organizations distribute 2.5 million liters of drinking water in plastic bottles to the needy every day, but this does not meet the actual need for clean water. The United Nations supported the reopening of a drinking water treatment plant in Salamiyya . According to a spokesman for the Iraqi armed forces, 90 percent of western Mosul has been recaptured. The IS still holds 6 percent of Iraqi territory. Previously, in 2014, he held 40 percent.
On June 18, 2017, the offensive on the old city of Mosul began. A division had previously taken over the al-Shifaa district and surrounded the IS. As part of this offensive, on June 21, 2017, the Great Mosque of An-Nuri with its crooked minaret was almost completely destroyed. In July 2017, Iraqi forces liberated the last quarters of Mosul's old town.
In early September 2017, Tal Afar was liberated by Iraqi forces.
According to government forces, on October 4, 2017, the city center of al-Hawijah was recaptured. The city center was completely liberated by the army, police and paramilitary units. The advance will continue to recapture the entire city and surrounding area from IS.
On November 17, 2017, the Iraqi border town of Rawa on the Euphrates was liberated by Iraqi government forces. The terrorist organization IS was expelled across the board from the Iraqi towns and cities on the Euphrates.
On December 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared ISIS defeated in Iraq.
On July 4, 2018, Iraqi forces and police special forces, supported by the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Shia al-Hashd al-Sha'bī militia, launched a major offensive against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia between Diyala and Kirkuk after the IS killed eight hostages at the end of June 2018 . The attacks are also supported by the air forces of the International Alliance Against the Islamic State .
situation in Syria
The civil war in Syria has been ongoing since March 2011 . President Bashar al-Assad commands government forces and is backed by Hezbollah . The Free Syrian Army sees itself as the militia of the Syrian opposition. Furthermore, the al -Nusra Front , which is close to al-Qaeda, established itself as an opponent of Assad; In 2014, IS gained a dominant role led by Omar al-Shishani . In addition, there are smaller insurgent organizations. In 2012 the Syrian-Turkish conflict erupted ; Since then, Turkey has seen itself as an opponent of Assad.
Since January 3, 2014, there have been massive attacks by rebels, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic Front , against ISIS in northern Syria. After ISIS murdered some prominent Syrian activists in their prisons in early January 2014, open fighting between ISIS and the rebels broke out, and more and more rebel groups joined them. Several attempts at mediation between ISIS and the rebels had previously failed.
By early February 2014, ISIS no longer had any allies among the Syrian rebel groups, especially among the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Army. The Kurdish People's Defense Units , YPG and YPJ (women's battalions), have long defended the Kurdish areas against ISIS incursions.
At the end of March 2014, ISIS launched another attack on the Kurdish region around Ain al-Arab (Kurdish: Kobanê). At the same time, ISIS asked Turkey to withdraw its troops from Turkey's only exclave , the burial site of Sulaiman Shah near the Syrian village of Qara Qusaq. Turkey threatened a military response.
In June 2014, assassinations and crucifixions were reported in Deir Hafir in eastern Aleppo province and al-Bab.
In July 2014, heavy fighting broke out around the Scha'ar natural gas field near Homs . After IS temporarily seized the field and killed 270 Syrian soldiers, government forces recaptured it at the end of the month.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) , IS also attacked a military base of the 17th Division of the Syrian Army in ar-Raqqa , around 35 km east of the Tabqa Dam . At least 50 government soldiers and 28 IS fighters died.
In mid-August 2014, activists reported that IS fighters had captured and killed 700 members of the regional Shu'aitat tribe , including 600 civilians, in Deir ez-Zor governorate . Deir ez-Zor is a Free Syrian Army -held enclave in IS-held territory.
On August 24, 2014, IS captured the Syrian air base at-Tabqa in al-Tabka . 500 people died in the process. In August 2014, in a fight with the Al-Nusra Front, which is allied with Al-Qaeda, IS also conquered other areas on the Turkish border.
On August 28, 2014, IS fighters killed more than 160 soldiers in ar-Raqqa governorate .
In September 2014, IS supporters attacked the city of Kobanê on the border with Turkey. The fighting culminated in the internationally acclaimed battle for Kobanê . At times, up to half a million people were surrounded by IS fighters. The US Air Force, along with Jordanian and Saudi Arabian warplanes, bombed IS targets in Syria. The action was also supported by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In mid-September 2014, IS captured a total of 16 Kurdish-majority villages near the city of Kobanê . The villages near the Turkish border were defended by local militias, the civilians had fled the capture. The Kurdish enclave around Kobanê had been attacked by the IS for months and the enclave was surrounded . After violent protests, Turkey opened the border for the refugees. With the exception of Kobanê, the terrorist organization IS controlled the entire border with Turkey between Ras al-Ain and Aleppo . The capture of Kobanê would also have facilitated the advance on Aleppo. The success of the IS militia in this offensive has been linked to the heavy weapons captured by the Syrian army. Supplying the enclave from outside proved difficult because Turkey was hostile to the Syrian Kurds. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 300 Turkish Kurdish fighters crossed the border into Syria on the night of September 20 to support the Syrian Kurds' fight against IS. Salih Muslim Mohamed, a representative of the Syrian Kurdish movement, called for help from the US and Europe. In Kobanê there was a threat of "even worse ethnic cleansing than that in Sinjar." On September 23, 2014 it became known that the USA had carried out air strikes in Syria together with its Arab allies. The Allied States, according to the Washington Post , were : Saudi Arabia , Jordan , the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain . The attacks took place in the ar-Raqqa area of the northern Syrian IS stronghold and along the Syrian-Iraqi border. These targets were attacked with fighter jets , bombers and cruise missiles . The Washington Post reported that drones were also used in the attack.
In mid-October 2014, the jihadists were able to take large parts of the besieged northern Syrian border town of Kobanê . Several Kurdish fighters were beheaded by IS. There were also reports of house-to-house fighting in Aleppo against Syrian government units and the blowing up of a checkpoint in Hama .
Later, the IS militias were pushed back from Kobanê. The USA supported the Kurds there with a total of 135 airstrikes against IS units. On October 20, 2014, it became known that the United States had dropped multiple shipments of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies for the Kurdish fighters using Lockheed C-130 aircraft for the first time. The material was made available by the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq. At the same time, according to a report by the Anadolu news agency, Erdoğan declared that the Syrian Kurdish party PYD is a terrorist organization, as is the Kurdish Workers' Party PKK; He fundamentally rejects arms assistance from Turkey.
In response to growing resistance, IS released a propaganda video on October 27 featuring hostage John Cantlie , in which the British journalist downplayed the military achievements of the Kurds and anti-IS coalition, allegedly under duress.
On November 16, a video was released showing US aid worker Peter Kassig being beheaded. The same video showed the killing of several Syrian soldiers.
Fighting broke out again near Homs for the Scha'ar natural gas field, which the Syrian army was able to defend against IS after a temporary loss. In Kobanê, the Kurdish fighters were able to recapture larger parts of the city.
Deir ez-Zor : Although IS controls large parts of the region, which has been contested for months, the Syrian army was able to repel an offensive on the city's military airport and continue to use it as a base for airstrikes against IS.
ar-Raqqa : A Jordanian F16 fighter jet crashed over Syria. The pilot Muʿādh al-Kasāsba survived and was captured by IS. IS fighters claimed to have shot down the jet with a missile with thermal sensors. The US Army said the machine crashed for technical reasons. The intensity of the air attacks by the USA and its allies was not reduced despite the crash.
Kobane : It has been reported that the Kurdish YPG is said to now control 60% of the city. At that time, the IS was still mainly present in the east of the city. Some roads abandoned by IS were avoided by the YPG for fear of mine traps.
al-Bab : Assad forces bombed the IS-held cities of al-Bab and Qabaseen, including with barrel bombs . 45 civilians were reported dead and 175 wounded. The attacks were highlighted because Assad's troops used them to increasingly fly airstrikes in areas over which they no longer have control.
Afrin (Kurdish-majority city or district north of Aleppo ): Turkey keeps the border to Afrin closed. In the south, the Kurdish enclave is threatened by the Nusra Front. In the east, the Islamic Front is a buffer against IS. The Islamic Front has taken the border town of Aʿzāz (Azaz) from IS. The Islamic Front allows Kurds and others to cross the border into Turkey via Aʿzāz. According to Sulaiman Jaafar, head of Afrin's foreign relations department, Turkey is keeping the border closed to weaken the Kurds and supporting the Nusra Front to fight Assad.
Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Gotō were executed by IS. IS threatened to kill Jordanian pilot Muʿādh al-Kasāsba if the terrorist Sajidah al-Rishawi , who was sentenced to death in 2006, is not released . Kobanê was about to be liberated, but large parts of the city have been destroyed.
Kobanê is considered liberated, and the surrounding towns were also recaptured by the Kurds. They announced that they would now advance to the IS-held border town of Tall Abyad . In the middle of the month, the Kurds were able to take places in the governorate of ar-Raqqa for the first time . At the end of the month they reported the reconquest of the town of Tall Hamis and the town of the same name today near the ancient settlement of Tell Brak in the north-east of the country.
On February 3, it became known about the pilot Muʿādh al-Kasāsba that he was probably burned alive with petrol by IS militias in early January. In direct response, the Jordanian government executed terrorists Sajidah al-Rishawi and Ziyad Karboli, and also stepped up airstrikes on IS positions. According to IS, the US development worker Kayla Mueller , who has been held hostage since August 2013, was killed in a bombardment of ar-Raqqa . Her death was confirmed by the US government on February 10 without verification of circumstances.
In mid-February 2015, the Burkān al-Furāt alliance was formed from various Syrian groups against IS. One of the strategic goals is to gain control of the roads from Aleppo via Manbij and Sarrin to ar-Raqqa in order to extend IS supply routes.
In the night from February 21 to 22, Turkey launched a military action to permanently evacuate the exclave of Qal'at Ja'bar with the tomb of Sulayman Shah , which is surrounded by IS. 38 guards, the bones of Sulaiman Shah and other moving parts were evacuated, the rest of the mausoleum was blown up. One soldier died in an accident, but there was no fighting.
In the governorate of al-Hasakah , up to 350 Assyrian Christians were abducted by IS in an attack on several villages at the end of the month . On February 27 it was reported that 15 of them had been executed.
After 19 of the kidnapped Christians were released for ransom earlier this month, most of the other hostages were soon released as well. No further payments were made, according to Mario Zenari , the Vatican ambassador to Syria.
On March 9, it was reported that 30 people were killed in an airstrike by the anti-terrorist coalition on an IS-run oil refinery near Tall Abyad . On March 11, the IS attacked the city of Raʾs al-ʿAyn on the Turkish border, there were heavy skirmishes with Kurdish units.
Around the same time as the IS offensive on the western Iraqi provincial capital of Ramadi , units of the IS militia began advancing on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra in mid-May . Although these were initially repulsed by Syrian government troops, by May 20 IS had gained complete control of Palmyra, and the Syrian army was forced to withdraw. In northern Syria, too, the Islamists gained territory, in some cases considerable, through a series of offensives. On May 19, the Assad government's last major military base was captured, which means that more than 50% of Syria's land area is now under the control of the terrorist militia, including most of the country's oil fields. On May 27, the IS had to withdraw from the town of Mabrukeh , which was occupied by Kurdish soldiers.
More than 150 people were killed in IS attacks and attacks in Kobanê.
Turkish Air Force forces have been attacking IS positions in northern Syria and PKK positions in northern Iraq since July 26, 2015 .
Russia began a military intervention to take action from Syria against the jihadist militia IS and rebels. Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani previously visited Moscow, as a result the Russians and Iranians reached a strategic decision: Syria should act as a barrier to prevent the spread of ISIS and Islamist militias into the Islamic republics of the former Soviet Union.
Great Britain and France announced plans to participate in the US military operation in Syria. The background to the participation in the air raids is the lack of success in the fight against IS, the increasing presence of Russia in the region and the high number of Syrian refugees. British Finance Minister George Osborne said the problem needed to be tackled at its root, citing the leadership around Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and IS. British Prime Minister David Cameron plans to ask Parliament to approve air strikes on IS in early October. It would be the second attempt: in 2013, the MPs had rejected an assignment. French President François Hollande has discussed a possible deployment with his defense staff. France is already involved in the US-led operation in Iraq, but the country has so far refused to extend it to Syria.
On September 7, 2015 Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed before the House of Commons in London that the RAF had already killed IS fighters in drone operations near Raqqa on August 21 - without a parliamentary vote - including two Britons, namely Reyaad Khan, a 21 -year-olds from Cardiff , and Ruhul Amin from Aberdeen , who is about the same age . A third Briton was killed by a US Reaper drone on 24/25. Killed on August 21: 21-year-old Junaid Hussain from Birmingham , believed to be the chief hacker of IS and carrying the nom de guerre Abu Hussain Al Britani. His death had been announced weeks ago by the US military.
They had planned terror attacks in their home country, Cameron justified the procedure. In Syria, it was Britain's first such attack.
At the same time, since the beginning of September 2015, Putin has ordered more aid deliveries to Syria with reference to old contracts and sent the military to Syria, in particular aircraft and material, to expand their own bases near Damascus and Jabla and to support Assad in defending against IS. The USA was irritated by this.
In mid-November, the Syrian army was able to break through the siege ring around the military airfield in Kuweyres .
At the end of December 2015, Syrian-Kurdish guerrillas succeeded in wresting control of the Tishrin Dam from IS and taking some towns west of the Euphrates. As a result, IS lost a supply route across the Euphrates. In an unconfirmed audio message, al-Baghdadi tried to boost his troops' morale. He also made threats against Europe, the United States, Israel, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
On December 27, 2015, the Syrian journalist and filmmaker Naji al-Jerf (b. 1977) was shot in the head in Gaziantep in south-eastern Turkey. He had made a number of documentaries covering IS atrocities in Aleppo , Syria, and collaborated closely with the group Raqqa is being slaughtered silently (RIBSS), a group of activists and citizen journalists who secretly document human rights violations in the Syrian IS stronghold of Raqqa and are persecuted by IS for doing so. Two Syrian opposition figures who had publicly opposed IS were murdered in Turkey in October. Ibrahim Abdul Kader and Fares Hamadi were found beheaded in a house in the border town of Sanliurfa . At the time, IS claimed responsibility for the crime. Turkey expert Gareth Jenkins from the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Istanbul explained that the AKP government has suppressed any reporting that could cast it in a negative light, including that it is possible for IS sympathizers to target people in Turkey to murder.
In early August, after a long siege , Manbij was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). As a result, IS lost influence in northern Syria. The only remaining route from the IS capital, Raqqa, to Turkey is through Manbij. The region is considered important by the US-led anti-IS coalition because it is believed that fighters enter the IS from Turkey.
After the IS was driven out of the historic desert city of Palmyra by Syrian government troops in March 2016 , it succeeded in invading again in December 2016. Before that, IS launched an offensive on Palmyra, attacking the Syrian army from different directions. Dozens of soldiers are said to have died in this attack. In addition, the IS is said to have taken some gas fields .
On May 19, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that US President Donald Trump had ordered a (literally) “campaign of annihilation” against members of ISIS. The purpose of this campaign is to prevent IS fighters from returning to their home countries from Syria because they pose a strategic threat there. To this end, the US President ordered a “tactical change” to the previous approach. IS fighters should no longer be forced out of their retreats, but surrounded and "destructively" beaten.
On October 17, 2017, the battle for ar-Raqqa ended with the victory of the anti-IS coalition.
In early November 2017, the Syrian armed forces reported the capture of the governorate 's capital, Deir ez-Zor . On November 9, 2017, the Syrian armed forces reported the capture of the border town of Abu Kamal on the Euphrates. This drove IS out of the last major city on the Euphrates . With the recapture, the Syrian army announced victory over IS. However, on November 11, 2017, IS pushed the Syrian army back from Abu Kamal. On November 19, 2017, the Syrian Army announced the final capture of Abu Kamal. As a result, IS no longer holds any larger settlements in Syria either.
On December 7, 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry declared ISIS in Syria defeated.
In February 2018, IS was still occupying individual villages on the Euphrates in Syria . The Kurdish advance against IS came to a halt as the Kurds withdrew their fighters from the SDF to fight invading Turkish troops in Afrin .
IS fighters launched an attack against the Syrian army in Deir ez-Zor governorate in mid-March 2018 and, according to SOHR, took control of the "Pumping Station 2" production facility in the south-eastern part of the province. Several pro-government militiamen were killed. Government troops counterattacked on March 20.
On March 20, 2018, fighters from the terrorist organization Islamic State occupied the southern district of Qadam (Al-Kadam) in Damascus, where the Yarmouk refugee camp is located, within a day. According to SOHR, 36 pro-government militiamen were killed.
On May 21, 2018, the Syrian army regained full control of Damascus.
After President Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops, IS fighters from the few remaining areas on the Euphrates near Deir ez-Zor again carried out more offensives against the US-backed SDF. Western experts saw Trump's announcement as a motivational boost for the IS and estimated that the attacks were now intended to stylize themselves as the force that drove out the United States. Towards the end of January, SDF units with US support had compressed the rest of the IS area to 10 km². Only the villages of al- Marashida ( ) and al-Baghuz Fawqani ( ) were killed according to reports on January 27 still held by IS. Experts assumed that the remaining IS fighters in the area were made up of foreigners who, due to their appearance, had previously not been able to mingle with local refugees to escape.
According to a February 2019 report by the UN Security Council, IS controlled 14,000-18,000 gunmen in Iraq and Syria at the time.
The Battle of Baghuz developed into a prolonged siege. On March 23, 2019, the SDF liberated Al-Baghuz Fawqani, becoming the last area in Syria controlled by IS. A total of up to 80,000 IS supporters and fighters surrendered in the course of the Battle of Baghuz.
April to December 2019
After the Battle of Baghuz, the remaining relatives of IS fighters fled mainly to al-Haul . Thus, at that time, during the Battle of Baghuz, this refugee town grew from less than 10,000 to about 72,000 people. The most radical members of Islamic State fighters, a group of 10,000 people, were detained in a cordoned-off area in al-Haul. Unless captured or killed, the remaining IS fighters from the Battle of Baghuz retreated to the Syrian desert and the Syrian-Iraqi border region. In October 2019, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed.
In Syria in 2020, IS fighters operated primarily in the desert west of the Euphrates River in the provinces of Deir ez-Zor (where they attacked Syrian Armed Forces soldiers near the small town of Sukhna ) and Homs .
In January 2022, IS tried with more than 100 fighters to storm the prison in al-Hasakah , which was held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and was filled with at least 5,000 inmates . The fighting spread to the surrounding residential areas after the SDF with US air support first routed the attackers and lasted at least four days. At least 180 people (including 77 IS members and 39 Kurdish security forces) were killed in the fighting. About 200 detainees could not be found a week later. Of the 80,000 IS supporters who surrendered in the Battle of Baghouz in March 2019, up to 12,000 were still being held in prisons in Hasakah, Kobane and Qamishli as of January 2022 .
situation in Turkey
Relationship to the Kurds in Turkey and Syria
In Turkey, until 2014 , Recep Tayyip Erdoğan , Prime Minister and now President , sought a compromise with the Kurds in Turkey and, as a historic agreement, proposed cultural autonomy and more political rights for the Kurds while at the same time disarming those in Turkey and other NATO countries Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) classified as a terrorist organization and similar groups.
The People's Defense Units (YPG) and the PKK had rescued the Yazidis from the Sinjar mountains from the IS, defended Kobane and finally drove the IS out of Tall Abyad . However, their territorial gains in Syria and northern Iraq worried the Turkish government.
Indirect support of jihadist groups until 2015
During the Syrian crisis, the NATO member state Turkey allowed jihadist groups to operate freely for a long time. In mid-September 2014, Turkey was the most important transit country for IS members. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu described IS as "reactionary", but like the previous Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, avoided directly condemning its actions as terrorism.
In Turkish hospitals, such as the municipal hospital in the Turkish-Syrian border town of Kilis , radical Islamic Syrian fighters, including an IS commander and the German Salafist Denis Cuspert , are said to have received medical treatment before returning to the war zone without being arrested. In October 2014, Claudia Roth ( Bündnis 90/Die Grünen ) accused Turkey of treating IS fighters in Turkish hospitals and supplying weapons through Turkey. She called on NATO to put pressure on Turkey. According to media reports, the Turkish government was unable to refute indications of arms and ammunition deliveries via Turkey to the area controlled by IS.
According to James Clapper , United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI), 60% of the IS fighters took the route to the crisis zone via Turkey, which shares a nearly 1,000 km border with Syria and Iraq.
reception of refugees
Turkey had already taken in a large number of refugees by 2014. Since the civil war in Syria in 2011, around 1.8 million people have fled to Turkey. Between September 20 and 22, up to 130,000 people are said to have fled to Turkey before an IS offensive on the Syrian city of Kobanê.
According to a report by Michael Martens in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FASZ), who referred to the mayor of the city of Suruç , Zühal Ekmez from the DBP , the Turkish government is said to have greatly exaggerated the number of refugees from Kobanê: instead of the 144,000 rumored by the UNHCR According to this, only 15,000 to 20,000 people fled from Kobanê. Ekmez accused Turkey of wanting to have the de facto autonomous Kurdish areas in Syria declared deserted buffer zones by exaggerating the number of refugees . Frank Nordhausen, correspondent for Frankfurter Rundschau and Berliner Zeitung , then accused FAZ correspondent Martens on Twitter of spreading false information and PKK propaganda.
On September 26, 2014, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu put the figure at 160,000. Turkey announced tightening of border controls and a blocking of the trade routes for diesel and oil from IS areas. By September 27, 2014, 830 Europeans who wanted to use Turkey as a transit country as IS fighters were arrested.
In July 2015, Erdoğan announced that he would create a security zone in Syria by conquering IS territory in order to be able to accommodate Syrian refugees there.
Taking hostages and liberating Suleiman Shah's tomb
On September 20, 2014, the hostages taken by IS in June 2014 in northern Iraq's Mosul were released. The government in Ankara then discussed military intervention in Iraq and Syria in parliament on September 30, 2014; Turkey remained passive at the Battle of Kobanê .
In September 2014, the tomb of Suleiman Shah in Syria 's Qal'at Ja'bar , an exclave of Turkey, was surrounded by IS units. On the night of February 22, 2015, the tomb was evacuated by Turkey in Operation Şah Fırat. IS fighters occupied the facility but were driven out by SDF units in early January 2017.
Combating IS from 2015
The attack in Suruç on July 20, 2015 in the Turkish city of Suruç, about 10 km from the Syrian border, killed 32 people and injured more than 100 in a suicide attack. The Turkish Interior Ministry blamed the Islamic State for the attack. A 20-year-old IS fighter was identified as the assassin.
According to reports on July 22, 2015, Erdoğan also allowed the Americans to use Incirlik Air Force Base for manned flights. On July 23, 2015, a Turkish soldier was shot dead from the Syrian side; the Turkish military responded, killing an IS fighter in the process. As a result, on July 24, 2015, three Turkish warplanes flew attacks from the Diyarbakir base on IS militia positions in the Syrian village of Havar .
In the second half of 2015, IS fighters could still be found in Turkish cities along the border with Syria. In addition, IS fighters traveled unmolested via Turkey to their combat zones in Syria and Iraq. One could meet IS supporters in Istanbul and other places, and IS banners, stickers and other devotional objects were sold in shops.
A suicide attack on January 12, 2016 in Istanbul's historic center killed 11 people and injured 15 others - mostly German tourists. The assassin, a member of IS according to Turkish sources, blew himself up at a symbolic location between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque , near a German tour group. After the attack, the Turkish government imposed a news blackout . Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the attack as a "murderous act", UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared that it was a "despicable crime". The US emphasized that they remain firmly on Turkey's side. Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière visited the scene of the crime in Istanbul and also met with Turkey's Interior Minister Efkan Ala . Before the suicide attack, the Turkish domestic news service MIT had warned of terrorist attacks, including on tourists. Turkey's daily Hürriyet reported that the warnings were issued to security agencies across the country on December 17, 2015 and January 4, 2016. It states that IS is planning suicide attacks "on non-Muslims living in Turkey, foreigners, tourist regions, places heavily frequented by foreign visitors or on embassies and consulates of the relevant countries and on NATO facilities in the country".
On August 24, 2016, Turkey launched the Euphrates Defense Shield military offensive , which was aimed at IS, among others. The IS was defeated by the Turkish military and allied rebels and pushed out of the region of northern Syria. The operation officially ended on March 29, 2017.
Anti-terrorist police units arrested over 420 Islamic State terrorist suspects in nationwide raids on February 5, 2017, including 150 people in the border province of Sanliurfa , 60 in the capital Ankara, 47 in Gaziantep , 18 in Istanbul and in Kocaeli province as well as in Adana , Bingöl , Bursa , Konya and Izmir .
Situation in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
According to estimates by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community in autumn 2019, around 1,050 Islamists from Germany had gone abroad in the “holy war” in the previous years. About a third have since returned, about 100 others are aiming to return to Germany and there are indications that 220 people from the group have been killed in the meantime. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution counts at least 1,060 people who have left Germany and joined IS. Most of them were under 30, more than half had German citizenship, and about a quarter were women. More than 500 are said to have fought in or supported terrorist militias.
activities of IS supporters
At the beginning of August 2014, IS supporters of German and non-German origin attacked Yazidis in Herford with knives and threatened them. In Hamburg, in September 2014, there were threats and attacks by IS sympathizers in a refugee accommodation in the Hamburg district of Stellingen . Abu Abdullah, who played a key role in carrying out Islamic State suicide bombings in Baghdad, reports that a German carried out an assassination with his help. On January 7, 2016, the first anniversary of the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine , French police in Paris shot dead a man who was trying to storm a police station. He had previously lived in an asylum center in Recklinghausen. The authorities later discovered devotional objects belonging to the Islamic State there.
On June 2, 2016, Hamza C., Mahood B. and Abd Arahman AK, who had traveled from Syria, were arrested in North Rhine-Westphalia , Baden-Württemberg and Brandenburg on behalf of Attorney General Peter Frank . They are accused of having planned a terrorist attack in Düsseldorf with Saleh A., who had previously been arrested in France , in which two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the old town near Heinrich-Heine-Allee and, after the explosions with guns and explosive devices, other people should be killed. Abd Arahman AK is said to have been responsible for the construction of the explosive vests . According to information from the Federal Prosecutor's Office, Abd Arahman AK is said to have already built explosive belts and grenades for the Al-Nusra Front in Syria.
On July 18, an IS sympathizer attacked four people with an ax on a train near Würzburg and was shot dead during a police operation. The Islamic State claimed the crime through its mouthpiece Amaq and published a video confessing the perpetrator.
On July 24, another IS sympathizer blew himself up in front of the main entrance of a music festival in Ansbach . 15 people were injured.
On the morning of September 13, 2016, three Syrian asylum seekers who lived in communal refugee accommodation in Ahrensburg , Großhansdorf and Reinfeld were arrested on behalf of the federal prosecutor. They are accused of having come to Germany on behalf of the IS in November 2015 "to either carry out an order that has already been received or to be ready for further instructions." Their fake papers are said to have come from the same counterfeiting workshop as those of the terrorists in the terrorist attacks on September 13. November 2015 in Paris . There are also indications that they came to Europe with the same smugglers.
On December 19, the attack on the Berlin Christmas market at the Memorial Church took place , in which IS sympathizer Anis Amri steered a trailer truck into a crowd and killed 12 people. 45 people were injured, 30 of them seriously.
Assessment of the protection of the constitution
In the 2012 report by the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution , AQI was described as the "most active terrorist group in central and southern Iraq". Structures of AQI in Germany are currently not known. At the end of November 2013, ISIS published a video in which a German ISIS member promoted jihad in Syria for the first time. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution identified the man as a 26-year-old convert from Dinslaken ; He is said to have traveled with four Salafists from the Dinslaken area via Turkey to Syria and joined ISIS there. Several men from Germany are now working for the IS, as is the former rapper Denis Cuspert .
In February 2014, German authorities said at least 20 German jihadists had been killed in Syria. At the presentation of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution for 2013, the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maassen , warned of a "particular security risk" posed by Syrian fighters returning to Germany. In November 2014, according to the intelligence agency, 550 young men had already left Germany for Iraq or Syria to fight for IS - 60 of them had already been killed. Stimulated by the latest reports from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, a first comprehensive criminal (criminal aetiological and criminal preventive) study on the phenomenon of German IS jihadism was written.
prohibition and criminal liability
In Germany , the organization has been banned since September 12, 2014 according to , Paragraph 1 in conjunction with , Paragraph 1 and , Clause 2 of the Associations Act (VereinsG). The collection of donations, the recruitment of fighters and any other support for the organization as well as the use of IS symbols in public or in meetings is therefore punishable under the Associations Act (see VereinsG) or as using symbols of unconstitutional organizations (see StGB ).
It was criticized that the use of the IS flag was a punishable offense because its content ( "There is no god but God."; "Muhammad is God's prophet." ) as a confession of faith was covered by the protected area of religious freedom . In this regard, the Federal Ministry of the Interior announced that the license plate ban is not directed against Islamic symbols in general, but against their specific use by IS for its unconstitutional purposes . The federal government justified the ban (according to VereinsG ) as follows:
“The terrorist organization 'Islamic State' threatens people of other faiths with death. Volunteers from Germany and other European countries have joined the IS militias. In Germany, IS tries to recruit followers primarily via social networks. The ban against the 'Islamic State' is based on Article 3, Paragraph 1 in conjunction with Article 15, Paragraph 1 and Article 18, Clause 2 of the Law on Associations, since the organization is directed against the constitutional order and the idea of international understanding. With the decree issued, the Federal Minister of the Interior has forbidden the use of IS symbols in public, in an assembly or in writing, sound or image carriers, illustrations or representations.
The interior minister justified the ban as follows:
“Today's ban makes it more difficult for extremists and terrorists affiliated with the terrorist organization 'Islamic State' to abuse religion and religious symbols. This is in the interests of the Muslims living here. This strengthens the cohesion of our society. That strengthens freedom and justice.”
In March 2016, the city of Düsseldorf banned the use of the abbreviation IS in license plates.
prosecution and rehabilitation
As of mid-September 2014, around 140 preliminary investigations were underway against IS fighters and activists from Germany. 33 cases involving 60 suspects are being processed by the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office . However, the Federal Prosecutor's Office has already warned that it could soon be overwhelmed because more procedures could tend to be added. Justice Minister Heiko Maas spoke out in favor of reintegration assistance for IS fighters who want to renounce terrorism in order to bring them back into society.
The trial against the German IS sympathizer Jennifer W. was opened in April 2019 before the Munich Higher Regional Court because, among other allegations, she and her husband Taha H. are accused of murdering a 5-year-old Yazidi girl in Iraq in 2015. W. was arrested in Turkey in 2016, her Iraqi husband was picked up in Greece in May 2019 and is to be extradited to Germany, where he is also to be tried. At the end of October 2021, the woman was sentenced to ten years in prison in the first instance. The man who has since become Taha A.-J. is, was sentenced to life imprisonment at the end of November 2021 for, among other things, genocide and crimes against humanity resulting in death.
Publication of records on IS fighters
On March 7, 2016, it became known that various media in Germany, Syria and the United Kingdom had obtained extensive data on IS volunteer fighters. The data should provide information about names, place of residence, previous jihad experience, etc. The Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior Thomas de Maizière assessed them as presumably authentic. Attorney General Peter Frank explained that the papers would be used in the prosecution of IS returnees. The data, which presumably dates from 2013 and 2014, was published by a former IS fighter who stole it on a memory stick .
Support for the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan
On August 15, 2014, Germany launched aid flights to Iraq. Four Bundeswehr aircraft brought 36 tons of medical supplies and food to Erbil . After a meeting of the European foreign ministers, the German government made a fundamental decision on August 20, 2014 that the Kurds' fight in northern Iraq against the jihadist group Islamic State would be supported, if necessary with weapons. At the end of August 2014, the German government decided to supply the Iraqi Kurds with anti-tank weapons ( MILAN system, Panzerfaust 3 , heavy Panzerfaust ), assault rifles ( G3 , G36 ), machine guns ( MG3 ), pistols ( P1 ), hand grenades and ammunition.
Although approval was not formally required, the German Bundestag supported the arms deliveries by a majority on September 1, 2014, against the vote of the Left Party and most of the Greens . Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel justified the motion for a resolution by the CDU/CSU and SPD. The expansion of the cruel IS terror must be stopped. Arms deliveries correspond to the request of the Kurdish autonomous government as well as the Iraqi central government. "Measures to combat" IS are covered by a resolution of the UN Security Council. The leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag , Thomas Oppermann , declared that the danger of "continued genocide and further crimes against humanity " should be rated higher than the "quite existing risk of our weapons falling into the wrong hands".
On the opposition side, on the other hand, Anton Hofreiter , one of the two chairmen of the Green parliamentary group , referred to US weapons that IS had captured. He stuck to the principle of not delivering weapons to crisis areas and called for pressure to be put on Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular to stop supporting IS. The UN should be more involved. Gregor Gysi made a similar statement and emphasized the goal of preventing all arms exports.
Discussion about UN mandate
In view of the ongoing fighting in Kobanê, the leader of the Green parliamentary group, Katrin Göring-Eckardt , said on October 13, 2014 that IS could "only be fought militarily", but that there had to be a UN mandate for that. If necessary, the Bundeswehr should also participate with ground troops. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier disagreed and referred to the existing refusal of the USA and all "important" European countries to send land forces. In addition, there is no chance of a UN mandate in Syria.
Jürgen Trittin said that Russia also had no interest in building a Muslim caliphate. An agreement is possible if overthrowing Bashar al-Assad is not a priority and talks are held with Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah . European or US troops are not enforceable and would lead to solidarity with the IS as the sole fighter against the infidels. Rather, ground forces should come from Iraq, from the Free Syrian Army and the Kurds. Such a UN mandate could be a step towards an overall political solution.
In mid-August 2014 it happened in several cities, e.g. B. Hanover , Bielefeld and Frankfurt am Main , to demonstrations against the terror of the IS, each with thousands of participants. On October 6, 2014, demonstrations against the ISIS siege of Kobanê broke out in several European cities. The European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, and the Parliament in The Hague were briefly occupied. On October 7, Westdeutscher Rundfunk and Deutsche Welle buildings in Düsseldorf and Bonn were briefly occupied and a resolution passed. On October 8, 1,300 people demonstrated in Hamburg, on October 11, 21,000 people demonstrated in Düsseldorf against the IS attack on Kobanê, on October 12, over 3,000 people demonstrated in Berlin.
By August 2014, 130 people from Austria had gone to war for IS. Most of them come from Chechnya . Ten people, mainly recognized Chechen asylum seekers, were arrested in August 2014 for membership in a terrorist organization. The Symbols Act ( Federal Law Gazette I No. 103/2014 ) generally prohibits the use of IS symbols with effect from January 1, 2015.
In Switzerland, the "Islamic State" group was banned by the Federal Council on October 8, 2014 , as was al-Qaeda earlier.
situation in other countries
In September 2014, assassinations in Ghazni province indicated ISIS was forming in Afghanistan . However, there is strong rivalry in the country with the Taliban , which is close to al-Qaeda, so that armed conflicts broke out between the two groups in Helmand province , among other places. On February 9, 2015, it was announced that the leading IS recruiter in Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Rauf, had been killed in a US drone strike. In April 2015, members of IS repeatedly claimed responsibility for an attack in Jalalabad in which 30 people died and more than 100 were injured.
The mountainous Achin district of Nangarhar province on the border with Pakistan has been considered an ISIS core area in Afghanistan since 2014. The group is referred to as ISIS-K to distinguish it, with "K" meant to denote the historical seventh-century Khorasan province .
Iran has been arming the Kurds in Iraq since August 2014. According to statements by an Iranian opposition site, which has not been confirmed by third parties, Iran is said to have 1,000 military advisers and 7,000 Revolutionary Guardsmen deployed in Iraq.
Israel and Palestine
According to Israeli Major General Yoav Mordechai and other security sources, sections of Hamas support ISIS in Egypt. In July 2015, ISIS threatened Hamas that it would destroy them.
Since March 2015, IS has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile attacks, particularly anti-Shia attacks. These attacks eclipsed al-Qaeda's operations in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which had benefited from the Saudi-led and US-logistically supported military intervention in Yemen in 2015 and seized vast areas. While the US government continued to classify AQAP as the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda, experts believe that IS in Yemen is trying to oust AQAP. The relative weakening of AQAP vis-à-vis IS-affiliated groups during the Saudi-led military intervention has also been interpreted as a consequence of US drone strikes on AQAP leaders. Some observers, such as Ibrahim Sharqieh Frehat of the Brookings Doha Center , argued that US counter-extremist methods created a climate conducive to ISIS building and "a pattern like what we've seen in Iraq and Syria." , to be determined. A weakening of al-Qaeda should therefore be seen as conducive to the rise of IS.
On May 23, 2016, at least 45 people were killed and 30 others injured in two suicide bombings by the Islamic State (IS) in Aden in front of an army barracks in the Khormaksar district and in front of a commander's house, according to a hospital.
ISIS captured the only border crossing with Iraq on Highway 10 to ar-Rutba , al-Anbar , on June 20, 2014 in Jordan. Traffic came to a standstill. Jordan then increased its troops in the east of the country against the background of the IS advance in the western Iraqi governorate of al-Anbar. US President Obama warned of an attack by IS on Jordan. After the capture and murder of the pilot Muʿādh al-Kasāsba , the Jordanian air force increasingly flew attacks against IS positions.
Qatar is accused of being one of the main financiers of the Islamic State. Qatar's disavowal of this accusation is widely considered implausible. In a ZDF interview, Germany's Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) mentioned the "keyword Qatar" in connection with IS financing, and in a subsequent interview Angela Merkel indirectly distanced herself from this accusation. CDU Vice-Chairman Thomas Strobl questioned Qatar's suitability as a major investor in Germany. Green MP Katja Keul pointed out that Qatar supports Islamist and terrorist organizations in Egypt, Mali, Syria, Iraq and Libya. In particular, Qatar refuses to criminalize the participation of its own nationals in fights abroad and calls for participation in such fights, thereby complying with UN Resolution 2170 . Unlike in Saudi Arabia, advertising for the IS, recruiting fighters and supporting donations for Qataris is still possible today without any consequences. SPD Vice Ralf Stegner also called Qatar's influence on the conflicts in the region "not exactly defusing the crisis".
On June 26, 2015, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in Kuwait during Friday prayers. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the crime. According to initial reports, at least 25 people died and more than 200 were injured.
In August 2014, at least 27 Lebanese soldiers were kidnapped in the village of Arsal , which borders Syria, as a result of a gun conflict that lasted several days . Two of them, Ali Sayyed and Abbas Medlej, were beheaded in August and September 2014.
In October 2014, the leadership of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) pledged support to ISIS after ISIS launched a recruitment drive in the country. The TTP is divided; some groups within the organization sympathize with al-Qaeda, others with IS.
The Abu Sajaf group , which has been fighting for an Islamic state in the southern Philippines since 1991, supports IS. In September 2014, she threatened to kill two German hostages if Germany took part in the fight against IS and did not pay the ransom demanded. On October 17, the release of both people was announced.
A group called Maute formed around 2017 from a collection of different actors who had previously belonged to other Islamist groups and clan militias. The group is named after its leaders, brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute of Marawi City .
In May 2017, the Maute group, which has sworn allegiance to ISIS, took over parts of Marawi City. According to the government, among the IS fighters killed in the subsequent fighting were foreigners who apparently came from Chechnya, Yemen, Malaysia and Indonesia.
In June 2014, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accused Saudi Arabia of providing financial and moral support to ISIS.
On July 3, 2014, Saudi Arabia announced that it would send 30,000 troops to the 800 km border with Iraq. At the end of July 2014, Saudi Arabia distanced itself from IS.
At the beginning of January 2015, there was an attack on a Saudi Arabian border patrol in the Arar region , killing two Saudi soldiers. In return, Saudi Arabia attacked IS positions.
In May 2015, 22 people were killed in an attack on a mosque in Al Kudaich, which ISIS claimed was responsible for.
In August 2015, an attack was carried out in Abha , which a previously unknown IS group called Hijas claimed responsibility for.
In a video message circulated in the first half of November 2014, a spokesman for the Egyptian group Ansar Bait al-Maqdis , which has been credited with a series of terrorist attacks, said they had decided to join ISIS and pledge allegiance to al-Baghdadi. The group consists of 2,000 fighters, controls large areas in north Sinai and killed about 100 Egyptian security guards in the years up to 2014, and repeatedly fired rockets at the seaside resort of Eilat .
After a series of attacks on January 29, 2015 that left more than 30 dead, the Egyptian military attacked the IS militias on the Sinai Peninsula with helicopter gunships . Two days later, the group released a video showing the beheading of eight men allegedly collaborating with the Egyptian army.
At the end of June 2015, Egypt was hit by a series of attacks on checkpoints. In total, more than 117 people died.
French mountain guide Hervé Gourdel was kidnapped in Algeria on September 21, 2014 and beheaded on September 24, 2014. One of the perpetrators is believed to have been Bachir Kherza , leader of the jihadist group Jund al-Chilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), who called on France to end its airstrikes against the jihadist militia Islamic State of Iraq within 24 hours. The group has sworn allegiance to IS.
Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad
In Burkina Faso , Mali , Mauritania , Niger and Chad , the Islamic State established itself, self-titled Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) [name translated] . France combats the ISGS as part of Opération Barkhane . In September 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the killing of ISGS leader Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi .
On October 3, 2014, the Islamic Youth Shura declared the city of Darna , which it has controlled since April 2014, to be part of the Islamic State. The group rivals other militias linked to Libya's Ansar al-Sharia . In June 2014, she prevented the opening of polling stations for the election of the new Libyan parliament and shot dead several anti-Islamist demonstrators. On August 18, 2014, she carried out several public executions at a football stadium.
According to a Libyan internet newspaper, the Islamic State plans to set up a propaganda station in Sirte called Tawhid (Unity). According to statements made by US General Rodriguez at the beginning of December, IS maintains training camps in eastern Libya with several hundred participants. The common enemy of the militias is General Chalifa Haftar , who commands the anti-Islamist "Operation Dignity" from Tobruk .
In an interview with the NZZ , former human rights activist Ahmed Shebani, who describes himself as a "secular democrat", called for support for Haftar's opponents, who are sponsored by Qatar , including the jihadist spleens from Darna. He described the jihadists as a "part of our society" that had to be "dealt with civilly".
On February 15, 2015, ISIS supporters in Libya released a video online showing the killing of 21 kidnapped Christian Copts from Egypt, entitled “A Message Written in Blood to the Nation of the Cross”. The guest workers from the neighboring country had been missing since the beginning of the year. Experts believe the video is real. In retaliation, the Libyan and Egyptian air forces jointly bombed ISIS positions in Libya. According to Egyptian F-16C fighter jets , they destroyed weapons depots and training camps near Darna .
After IS militias had previously been able to take control of the city of Nufalija , the capture of Sirte was reported on February 19, 2015. In early March 2015, eleven Libyan security guards were killed and nine foreigners kidnapped during the IS attack on the Al-Ghani oil field, including an Austrian and a Czech.
A rebellion by residents of Sirte's "district number three" was put down by IS using mortars, tanks and combat units in August 2015; the district hospital was burned down.
In September 2016, Libyan troops from the western part of the country under Fayiz as-Sarraj , with the help of the United States Air Force , managed to largely recapture Sirte. At the same time, the troops of the ruler of the East, Haftar, also took action against the IS militia, which Since then, the Islamic State has hardly had any territory in Libya.
On January 19, 2017, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced an airstrike south of Sirte with two long-range B-2 bombers that killed at least 80 IS fighters at an Islamic State camp. From August to December 2016, US forces have carried out around 500 airstrikes against IS in Libya.
The Nigerian Sunni Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram pledged support to IS in 2014. East Nigeria has been contested for several years; Boko Haram proclaimed an Islamic state here. With Gwoza , the government troops lost a large city to the Islamists. In early January 2015, the group committed one of numerous massacres of civilians during the capture of Baga , during which most of the city was burned and destroyed. At the end of February, the Nigerian army was able to recapture Baga.
Boko Haram officially joined ISIS in March 2015. Meanwhile, Nigerian troops were able to push back the terrorist organization in the states of Yobe and Adamawa . A ground offensive was launched on March 8, supported by soldiers from neighboring Niger and Chad . Cameroon and Benin also agreed to take part in the fight with their own army units. A day after crossing the border, Nigerien and Chadian units were able to regain the city of Damasak in Borno state . On March 11, the recapture of 36 towns by the coalition was reported.
The stronghold of the Tunisian jihadist group Phalange Okba Ibn Nafaa, which offers support to the IS, is located in the administrative district of Kasserine on the border with Algeria. In February 2015, four police officers were killed in an attack in Boulaaba .
On March 19, 2015, IS claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on the Bardo National Museum that killed 25 people, mostly foreign tourists, the day before. However, the Tunisian authorities assume that Okba Ibn Nafaa committed the attack himself.
In mid-September 2014, the Australian police arrested 15 IS supporters who are said to have planned to randomly pick up passers-by on the street and behead them in front of the camera. On December 15, 2014, IS sympathizer Man Haron Monis took 17 people hostage in a Sydney café . Two hostages later died, and Man Haron Monis was shot dead by the police.
On the occasion of the beheading of James Foley in August 2014, US President Barack Obama stated that the ideology of the IS does not stand for any religion. It threatens Muslims and non-Muslims alike. “Their victims are predominantly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre the innocent. […] No righteous God would stand behind what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.”
Since August 2014, the USA has been equipping the Kurds with weapons and is also increasingly flying airstrikes against IS positions. At the same time, they initiated relief measures for the Yazidis who were under pressure from the IS .
In May 2015, IS claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack at an event in Texas where cartoons of Muhammad were presented. Two attackers were shot dead during the attack.
After three British Islamist terrorists were killed in Syria in August 2015, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon indirectly confirmed on September 8, 2015 that the British government had a death list. British Prime Minister David Cameron is said to have signed a so-called “kill list”. Until then, a death list was always denied by the British government. Top: Mohammed Emwazi, who became known as Jihadi John . Fallon refused to release the Attorney General's legal opinion used to legitimize the move. The British government announced that it would continue to keep the legal basis for this under wraps.
In 2017, several terrorist attacks to which the Islamic State claimed responsibility took place on the territory of Great Britain.
- Terrorist attack in London on March 22, 2017
- Terrorist attack in Manchester on May 22, 2017
- Terrorist attack in London on June 3, 2017
With the progressive disintegration of IS in October 2017, when asked about British IS fighters, Development Minister Rory Stewart stated that they were highly motivated extremists, committed to a hateful doctrine and using violence and brutality to build a seventh-century state wanted to. So you have to admit that these people are a serious threat and the only way to deal with it is unfortunately, in most cases, to kill them.
France is taking part in the fight against IS. While the two main assassins in the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 claimed responsibility for the Al-Qaeda organization in Yemen , their accomplice Amedy Coulibaly , who was also killed, declared his solidarity with the Islamic State in a video message that was published later. IS has also claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris . In the terrorist attack in Magnanville on June 13, 2016, during which two police officers were killed, the perpetrator claimed responsibility for IS. The Nice attack took place on July 14, 2016 , killing 86 people. Two days after the crime, IS claimed responsibility for the crime through its mouthpiece Amaq . It said: “The person who carried out the run over operation in Nice, France, was one of the Islamic State soldiers. He carried out the operation in response to calls to target members of the international alliance fighting the Islamic State . In the attack in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray on July 26, 2016, two assassins murdered a priest and claimed responsibility for IS.
Parts of the Caucasus Emirate operating in the North Caucasus swore allegiance to the Islamic State and proclaimed a province in the North Caucasus.
In June 2014, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation , which has 56 member states, distanced itself from IS. The Secretary-General emphasized that "this forced displacement is a crime intolerable and that the practices of ISIS have nothing to do with Islam and its principles of justice, benevolence, decency, freedom of belief and coexistence."
At the end of August, the Gulf Cooperation Council condemned the atrocities of those "who use Islam as a pretext for killing and expelling people". At a meeting in Cairo on September 7, 2014, the foreign ministers of the Arab League agreed that they would take the necessary measures against terrorist groups such as IS.
The Turkish cultural community in Austria accused IS of abusing Islam.
Voices from the religious communities
In October 2014, 120 internationally respected scholars issued a fatwa to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , ISIS fighters and supporters, contradicting the abridged understanding of the Koran by Islamic State supporters. Written in Arabic and freely accessible to the public, the 18-page document entitled “ Open letter to al-Baghdadi ” deals in detail with IS’s interpretation of Islam and is based entirely on statements and actions by IS supporters . The letter condemns the crimes of IS in the form of an Islamic legal opinion ( fatwā ). In addition, the Islamic legal opinion of the scholars clearly questions the fundamental legitimacy of al-Baghdadi as a "self-proclaimed caliph " and his caliphate , since a consensus with "all Muslims" must exist for the claim . Muslim scholars reject the IS caliphate because its ideology risk the deaths of fellow Muslims and bystanders, pointing out that Islamic martial law prohibits the killing of women, children and clergy. In an open letter to IS leader al-Baghdadi, they distanced themselves from his organization's approach.
Away from these official statements, Muslim intellectuals in Saudi and other Arab societies noted a not inconsiderable sympathy for IS ideology and acts of terrorism. Qatari legal scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi expressed understanding for the Sunni uprising against discrimination and oppression, but distanced himself from IS and called for Iraqi unity across sectarian differences.
The supreme mufti of Saudi Arabia ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al al-Shaikh stated that the IS with its crimes in the Middle East violated Islamic principles and teachings and described it as "enemy number one" of Islam. Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Allam characterized IS as a threat to Islam and Muslims because it destroys and corrupts the image of Islam, denied IS the right to call itself "Islamic State" and urged the media to do so to refer to the IS only as "al-Qaeda separatists in Iraq and Syria". In August 2014, the organization was declared “ haram ” (prohibited) by the Council of Islamic Scholars of Indonesia .
The Central Council of Muslims in Germany declared that the expulsion of Christians was against Islam. In November 2015, its chairman Aiman Mazyek described the welcoming culture as the greatest enemy of terrorists and appealed to society to take Muslims as partners in the fight against radicalism. Representatives of the eight largest Muslim associations in Germany sharply condemned the terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015 in Paris . They expressed their sympathy and solidarity with France and campaigned for peace, dialogue and cohesion. At the same time they appealed to the sense of responsibility of all Muslims against radicalization in their personal circle. They also declared that they would increase their efforts to defend against Islamism and European values such as freedom and pluralism .
The Islamic Religious Community in Austria announced that IS does not have the right to represent the Muslim faith. In early September 2014, leading British imams issued a fatwa banning Muslims from supporting ISIS's "poisoned ideology": "IS is a heretical , extremist organization and it is religiously forbidden (haram) to support or join it . Furthermore, it is a duty of British Muslims to actively oppose this toxic ideology, especially when it is being spread in Britain.” The Islamic Society of North America condemned the IS attacks as “un-Islamic”.
Opinion in Great Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands
The British opinion research institute ICM Research conducted a telephone survey in 2014 among 1,000 French, British and Germans. This showed that 16% of the French, 7% of the British and 3-4% of the Germans had a positive opinion of the IS, in contrast 26% of the group opposed it and 43% strongly opposed it. Among French people aged 18 to 24, the proportion of positive opinions was 27%. The credibility of this study was questioned in a Washington Post article , since it would put the number of sympathizers in France greater than the total number of Muslims in the country. According to previous studies, the number of Muslims with extremist views is far smaller.
According to a survey in the Netherlands in 2014, 90% of young Turkish-born Dutch people (18-35 years) described as heroes those who went to jihad in Syria. 80% of Dutch people of Turkish origin consider violence by jihadi groups against non-believers or those of other faiths to be “not wrong”. Young people of Moroccan origin have a much more negative image of IS, with only 18% calling Syrian fighters “heroes”. They reject violence against non-believers or those of other faiths by a large majority. 404 young people from Morocco and 300 from Turkey were interviewed.
Condemnation by the UN Security Council
On September 24, 2014, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2178 for the global fight against the Islamist terrorist organization IS. The resolution obliges all UN member states to prevent and combat the recruitment, transport, transit, organization and equipment of terrorists. On November 20, the Security Council called on all states with the appropriate capacities to fight ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq. However, the reference to doing this "in compliance with international law" did not create a separate international legal basis for the use of force. The Security Council renewed its warning on December 17, 2015 with Resolution 2253, calling on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take further steps. As instructed, Ki-Moon had his Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman , formulate an official response in early February 2016 on assessing and combating IS. Above all, he wants to draw the attention of the world public to the ongoing financing of the organization and to the attempts of the IS to expand into large parts of Africa and Asia, for example to Southeast Asia :
“The future threat from 'Islamic State' must not be underestimated. ISIS is an unprecedented threat to international peace and security... 30,000 fighters from more than 100 countries are fighting in Syria and Iraq, and the influx continues. Worldwide, 34 terrorist groups have joined the IS... There is no 'forecast profile' of a future IS fighter... (It is to be feared) that more and more IS fighters will try to enter (to Syria and Iraq) to commit terrorist acts... Such Travelers must be punished by member states, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions... Border crossing controls must be improved... In the last 18 months, the threat from ISIS has increased significantly.”
International alliance against the Islamic State
On September 5, 2014, the USA launched an international alliance against IS at the NATO summit in Newport , Wales . The founding members were: Germany , Great Britain , France , Italy , Poland , Denmark , Australia , Canada , Turkey and the United States of America .
On September 11, 2014, US President Barack Obama presented his future strategy against the terrorist organization IS in a speech to the nation. This essentially comprises four points:
- The US air offensive in Iraq is being systematically expanded. IS positions should continue to be shelled. There should also be US air strikes in Syria. "I will not shy away from taking action against IS there as well," emphasized the President: "Anyone who threatens America will find nowhere to hide."
- The fight will not be limited to airstrikes alone. The US also wanted to support local security forces in Iraq and opposition troops in Syria. US assistance includes military training, weapons and other equipment. In the next few days, 475 military advisers from the United States were to leave for Baghdad. However, Obama clarified that US soldiers would not be sent into battle. “Our efforts are fundamentally different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be no American combat troops on foreign soil.”
- The terrorist network should be deprived of its financial basis. In addition one wants to freeze IS accounts worldwide with the help of secret services. Foreign IS fighters should also be prevented from entering and leaving Syria unmolested.
- Humanitarian aid for victims of IS terrorism and refugees should be increased.
A few days later, Obama appointed former general and former commander of the International Security Assistance Force John Allen as special envoy for the anti-IS alliance. Allen's successor in this post, as of October 2015, is Brett McGurk .
On September 22, 2014 it became known that Russia is also considering joining the alliance.
On October 15, 2014, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) officially and retrospectively from August 8, 2014 gave the name Operation Inherent Resolve to the airstrikes against IS in Syria and Iraq .
science and media
A commentary in the Rhein-Zeitung judged them and the war against an "Islamist state of the most brutal type" to be the only alternative, even if it expressed a great deal of helplessness. The civil wars of many groups in Iraq and Syria, which made the rise of IS possible in the first place, are "a global political disaster". In the future only prudent forces should be supported. The Iraq war shattered many old structures, but the mostly corrupt and egotistical elites in Iraq have to work towards national reconciliation.
Conflict researcher Musa al-Gharbi , on the other hand, criticizes in Al Jazeera America that the goals of the military operation are poorly defined. Fundamentalism and terrorism are fundamental sociological problems that cannot be solved by military means. Rather, it increases the legitimacy of the IS as a combat organization against the forces perceived in large parts of the Arab world as the main enemies of Muslim self-determination: the sole superpower USA, autocratic states in the region and former European colonial powers. Instead, non-state actors should be deprived of support, foreign arms and money flows and the influx of fighters should be stopped, and cooperation with Israel and dictators and monarchs in the Middle East should be reduced. Then the states of the region and the local populations could meet the difficult but overstated challenge posed by the Islamic State.
One of the goals of the international alliance against the Islamic State is to restore the territorial integrity and authority of the central government of Iraq in the areas controlled by IS. In contrast, the political scientist Vicken Cheterian notes that Iraq is disintegrating as an artificially created nation state at the end of the colonial era . The Sykes-Picot Agreement was enforced by Great Britain and France against the will of the local population. The state order in Iraq was then destroyed by the Second Iraq War (or Third Gulf War). No less important are internal reasons for the national crisis, especially the enormous social and economic differences. Superimposed on this are local, religious or tribal interests, particularly the confrontation of Shiites , Sunnis and Kurds . In addition to the historical and sociological causes, power-political interests are also at work - the hegemony efforts of the leading states Iran , Turkey , Saudi Arabia - as well as the greed for resources.
The Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery sees the general tendency that nation states are outdated in view of global interdependencies, but often initially break up into smaller structures. This tendency is shown, for example, by the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, which narrowly failed . The idea of a European nation state was never firmly rooted in the Arab world. On the other hand, the myth of great Muslim empires like the Arab one is being revived by the idea of the Islamic State , which, like European unification , wants to overcome nation states. Leading politicians in the US and Europe wrongly believed that they could extinguish a revolutionary new idea by bombing and in coalition with "Arab dictators and corrupt politicians". They are “not confronted with 'terrorists' – the magic word that seems to solve all problems without straining the brain. You are facing a new phenomenon.” There is no easy answer to that.
In December 2014, the 74-year-old German publicist Jürgen Todenhöfer (b. 1940) made a name for himself, speaking with his son to members of the IS in Mosul and ar-Raqqa. In his view, the West underestimates IS. His followers are in an intoxicated state. In general, it was criticized that – apart from the dangers – in the age of the Internet fewer and fewer media would afford war reporters on site.
The Islamic State makes extensive use of the internet , especially social media, for online propaganda. The relevant pages are professionally designed, mostly in Arabic, often with English subtitles . Many IS video files are stored on servers in California .
IS children and women
After the caliphate was crushed and the remaining areas of IS in Syria were occupied, numerous children and women of IS fighters were arrested by Kurds and, before that, by Iraqi troops. This includes those who are nationals of a third country. In the spring of 2019, the SDF had 13,000 IS supporters from abroad under its supervision, including 12,000 women and children. Another 1,400 were being held in Iraq at the time. Women are now believed to play a more active role in the caliphate than was first thought. There are only a few exceptions to the willingness to take these people back to their original home countries. The main reason for the rejection is the alleged radicalization and indoctrination of the people during their time in IS territory and the assumption by experts that they could act as the core of new terrorist cells in their home countries after their return. The inability of home states to allow returnees to be tried by courts and jailed once they return is another factor. It is the result of the failure to enact appropriate legislation in a timely manner, so that each returnee would have to be individually proven responsible for engaging in criminal acts during their time in ISIS. Great Britain and Australia have tried to get rid of the problem by withdrawing the nationality of IS fighters detained in Iraq and Syria.
The death toll from IS is estimated at around 60,000 to 70,000.
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