Having declared a caliphate, the terrorist group formerly known as ISIS (or ISIL) has decided a rebranding is in order. Since the group no longer recognizes the political distinction between Iraq and Syria, it has dropped the “Iraq” and “Levant” from its name, making it only the “Islamic State”. The leader of the extremist group is looking to build his presence, as AP reports, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released a 19-minute tape demanding, “Muslims, rush to your state. Yes, it is your state.”
The leader of the extremist group that has swept over much of northern Syria and Iraq has called on Muslims to come to the territory his group has seized to help build an Islamic state.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, says in a 19-minute audiotape released on line Tuesday: “Muslims, rush to your state. Yes, it is your state.”
And Stratfor notes,
On June 29, a spokesman for the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant announced that the group had established a caliphate, a political institution to govern the global Muslim community, stretching from Diyala province, Iraq, to Aleppo, Syria. Since the group no longer recognizes the political distinction between Iraq and Syria, it has dropped the “Iraq” and “Levant” from its name, making it only the Islamic State.
The trouble with the announcement is that the Islamic State does not have a caliphate and probably never will. The new moniker will not change the fact that geography, political ideology, and religious, cultural and ethnic differences will prevent the emergence of a singular polity capable of ruling the greater Middle East. Even the Islamic State, which has made impressive territorial gains quickly, has only an emirate, which encompasses a far smaller geographic area than a caliphate. Establishing an emirate is not terribly remarkable. Similar groups have established emirates before: The Taliban ruled more than 90 percent of Afghanistan prior to 9/11, and al Qaeda franchise groups oversaw short-lived emirates in Yemen and Mali.
Still, the Islamic State’s announcement represents the first serious attempt to re-establish the caliphate since the Turkish Republic abolished the institution in 1924. During the past 90 years, there have been a few other attempts to revive the caliphate, but none were particularly successful.