Islamic State: The Terrorist Organization
- Pages: 7
- Word count: 1513
- Category: Isis
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As written by Charles C. Colton, a well-known author and English cleric, “Men will wrangle for religion…fight for it, die for it; anything but live for it” (Tripp 790). In the timeless battle between the two main branches of Islam, the Shiites and Sunnis, each side refuses unity, holding steadfast to the belief there can be only one absolute truth within their religion. Among this divergency, ruthless aggression blooms. This violence then roots extremist groups around their interpretation of Islamic ideals and is nourished by the rebellion of civilians. As a result, the focal extremist group to have sprouted from the Middle East is the Islamic State, which grew to impact far more than what was originally only Iraq and Syria. The radical terrorist organization, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), affected daily life on a global scale through its social, cultural, and economic influences.
Foremost, the Islamic State was primarily impactful through its tactical presence in Iraq and Syria, which affected society in the involved countries. Initially, the extremist group saw their opportunity to combat Syrian forces in their civil war and gain control over some of the country with support from “Sunni rebel groups in Syria” (Bumgardner and Cuno). According to the CNN Library’s “ISIS Fast Facts”, by 2014 the Islamic State had amounted more than 34,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State was born of al-Qaeda, with roots back to 2004, but the modern-day acronym “ISIS” arose in 2013, due to the civil war that erupted within Syria (“ISIS Fast Facts”). The name later turned into the Arabic acronym “Daesh” as an abbreviation of their full title. Furthermore, Daesh was as vicious with civilians as it was with opposing militias, believing that anyone who did not fit their distorted ideals should be slaughtered (Bumgardner and Cuno). For instance, between January 2014 and October 2015, in Iraq alone, there were “at least 55,047 civilian casualties… with 18,802 people killed and 36,245 wounded” (Jamieson). Both Iraq and Syria had been left in shambles due to the warring militant groups. This was largely because of airstrikes by allied nations trying to aid the weak Iraqi government, as well as the gravity of Daesh’s attacks against the cities they attempted to occupy (Bumgardner and Cuno).
In addition to having affected society through its physical presence, the terrorist organization had amounted a vast global media presence. The group had both claimed all terrorist attacks shown in the media as their own and uploaded graphic videos to platforms like YouTube of the massacre of people who did not fit their Islamic extremism. As an example, their first publicized video arose on August 19, 2014, when the United States journalist James Foley was videotaped while being beheaded after having been missing in Syria since 2012 (“ISIS Fast Facts”). For this reason, Daesh had “earned a nefarious reputation for videotaping brutal killings and displaying them online” (“ISIS – Facts & Summary”). These acts have come to include beheadings, public executions, and crucifixions (“ISIS – Facts & Summary”). The willingness of the Islamic State to commit such graphic crimes could not be questioned after such public violence was provided by the group, and the United States even put the Islamic State ahead of al- Qaeda in the State Department’s annual terrorism report for 2015, based on their threat level (“ISIS Fast Facts”). However, the amount of graphic footage started to decrease as Daesh began to lose territory and power in the Middle East, but the group continued to claim any terror attacks happening across the globe to maintain its reputation (“ISIS Fast Facts”). Due to this, the world remained tense.
In regard to cultural impressions, the Islamic State is on one side of the continuous conflict between the two focal deviations of Islam, pushing the separate communities even farther from peace (“Sunnis, Shiites Locked in an Endless Conflict”). The Sunni and Shi’ite conflict dates back to the death of the Muslim prophet, Muhammad, in the 7th century, and who the true successor to him was. Some Muslims believed that one of his closest friends, Abu Bakr, should be his successor, while others thought the successor should remain in the prophet’s bloodline and should be his cousin and son-in-law, Ali (“Sunnis, Shiites Locked in an Endless Conflict”). The people who followed Abu became known as Sunni, while the people who followed Ali were referred to as Shi’ite. The Shi’ite community has consistently been the minority, with a representation of “only 10-15 percent of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims” (“Sunnis, Shiites Locked in an Endless Conflict”) and some parts of the Sunni community even refuse to acknowledge Shi’ites are Muslims at all (“Sunnis, Shiites Locked in an Endless Conflict”). Though the conflict between the two communities is regularly reignited, Muslims across the globe will remain bonded by a sole belief in one God and their prophet, Muhammad (“Sunnis, Shiites Locked in an Endless Conflict”).
Moreover, the Muslim community is taxed by continuous discrimination on a global scale. Individuals fall under the prejudice that all people of Islamic faith are attached to the Islamic State or general extremism, driving them to stereotype and disfavor any Muslim they may meet. For instance, a survey taken in 2017 by Pew Research Center found that Americans gave the Muslim community a “feeling thermometer” rating of only 48 degrees, which translates to them associating Muslims with colder, more negative emotions (“Muslims and Islam: Key Findings in the U.S. and Around the World”). Alongside this statement, it was also found that United States’ Republicans were “very concerned about extremism in the name of Islam, both around the world (67%…) and in the U.S. (64%…)” (“Muslims and Islam: Key Findings in the U.S. and Around the World”). Moving onto a global scale, it was found that countries including Italy, Greece, Poland, and Hungary view Muslims unfavourably, and 50% of people surveyed in the United States, Russia, and four Western European countries claimed to associate Muslims with violence (“Muslims and Islam: Key Findings in the U.S. and Around the World”). The global stereotypes impressed upon the Muslim community do nothing except for spread unnecessary fear and hatred, but hope for a more unified future is prevalent.
Finally, in relation to economic influences, the Islamic State had heavily impacted oil management and control within Iraq. According to The Economist, Iraq’s oil exports in 2011 had soared because of investment from international oil companies. The output of oil from Iraq again increased in 2013 to approximately 3 million barrels sold per day. Daesh then began to expand its control in 2014 into Southern Iraq, due to the fact that that is where most of the country’s oil infrastructure was located (“Iraq and global oil markets: The ISIS Effect”). Before this, they captured the city of Baiji, which contained Iraq’s largest oil refinery, in order to gain power over most oil exports in the country and earn revenue from the oil made (“Iraq and global oil markets: The ISIS Effect”). However, by 2016, the oil production in Iraq had “declined by as much as 320,000 barrels per day in February…as the country [struggled] to fight off attacks from ISIS” (Egan). This asserts that the Islamic State’s plan became self-destructive and their impression did them more harm than good regarding profits.
Correspondingly, the Islamic State also caused notable global monetary losses throughout their attempts at total sovereignty over multiple years. Each year, worldwide terrorist attacks lead to billions of dollars in economic losses, which was shown from the unstable incline of economic losses following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The deficits reached a pinnacle in 2007, “mainly due to the deteriorating security situation in Iraq” (McCarthy), which was referencing the rise of both al-Qaeda and the early Islamic State. With the formal rise of the Islamic State in 2013, losses nearly tripled what they had been in 2007, continuing to increase in ’14, and remain at record highs in ‘15 and ’16 (McCarthy). This spike in monetary losses followed the rise of Daesh, which is the assumed major contributor to such heavy damages on a global scale. Despite that, as the Islamic State continues to lose power, any global economic losses should reflect that by also lowering from what they had been at the peak of Daesh’s influence (“ISIS – Facts & Summary”).
In summation, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria affected the world in many ways, including through their social, cultural, and economic impacts. Granted, the fight against the Islamic State is still not over, but their lost battles amplify their weaknesses. As can be seen, Daesh remains a weighty topic of conversation in any news room or political event across the globe, but faith that their influence will eventually fade gives hope for a better future to all that were affected by them. Over the expanse of many years, the Islamic State rose, flourished, destroyed, and has now grown weak. Due to this, in all ways except literally, the Islamic State is dead.