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INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AND THE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA

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INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AND THE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA
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    DAVID GODSPOWER WRITE ON A TERRORIST GROUP, RECRUITMENT PROCESS, FUNDINGS AND MODUS OPERANDI. CASE STUDY: ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND THE LEVANT ISIL). INTRODUCTION Terrorism has assumed a global dimension and is a threat to the corporate existence of any nation. Over the years, terrorist attacks have been recorded in many nations of the world, the most prominent was the September 11, 2001 attack of the World Trade Centre in the United States of which Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. Terrorism remains a criminal act and should be treated as such. It causes damage to public property, it endangers the lives of the civilian populace; causes death or bodily harm and is a serious offence which deals with arms, ammunitions and weapons of mass destruction. (WMD) (Abolurin, 2011). To counter terrorism, all hands must be on deck, it is not meant for only law enforcement agents but is a shared responsibility of all. This paper therefore attempts to analyze the activities of terrorists sects; mode of operations, source of funding, recruitment process using ISIL as a case study. DEFINITION OF TERRORISM    From the etymological point, the word terrorism comes from Latin and French words: terrere, and terrorism, meaning “to frighten” and “state rule by terror” respectively (Oche & Dokunbo, 2001). It should be noted that there is no unanimous accepted definition of who a terrorist is, as there is no generally accepted definition of terrorism among scholars and experts in this field. Terrorism is an elusive concept that has been argued to mean different things. However, the arguments of different scholars may help form a basis to describe the concept of terrorism. According to Cooper (2001:882), defining terrorism is not an exercise in futility although there may be differences in the definitions posited by scholars, these definitions provide good stands through which reasonable progress can be made to determine pre-emptively what looks like terrorism in times to come (as cited in Ibietan, Chidioze & Ujara, 2014). According to Shultz and Sloan (1980), they defined terrorism as the threat and / or use of extra normal form of political violence, in varying degrees, with the objective of achieving certain political goals or objectives. It is characterised by the desire to attain goals by frightening those it believes stands on its way (as cited in Duruji & Oviasogie, 2013). Al-Thagafi (2008:3) defines terrorism as the use of either organized or random violence against innocent people in order to intimidate them for political reasons. This definition can be said to be narrow as the definition does not explain the nature of the perpetrators of these violent acts regarded under the concept of terrorism. Shuhghart (2005:14), elaborates the concept of terrorism to include four distinctive characteristics namely: Terrorism is violence for political effect. It is a planned, calculated and systematic act    The terrorists are not bound by established rules of warfare or codes of conduct Terrorism is designed to have far-reaching psychological repercussions beyond the immediate victim or target. BACKGROUND OF THE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND THE LEVANT. (ISIL). Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) alternatively translated as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), is a Salafi jihadist militant group that follows an Islamic fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam (Tharoor, 2014). The group has referred to itself as the Islamic State, since it proclaimed a worldwide caliphate in June 2014 and named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph (Roggio, 2014). As a caliphate, it claims religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide. The group's adoption of the name "Islamic State" and idea of a caliphate have been widely criticized, by the United Nations, various governments, and mainstream Muslim groups rejecting its statehood or caliphhood. As of December 2015, the group has control over vast landlocked territory in Iraq and Syria, with a population estimate ranging between 2.8 million and 8 million people and where it enforces its interpretation of sharia law. ISIL affiliates control small areas of Libya, Nigeria and Afghanistan and operate in other parts of the world, including North Africa and South Asia (Zavadski, 2014). ORIGINS To understand the srcins of the Islamic State (IS), it is necessary to become familiar with the current state of al-Qaeda. Today, there no longer exists one centralized al- Qaeda group that the world once faced post-September 11th, 2001. Rather, al-Qaeda is a string of affiliated groups across the Middle East and Africa with varying degrees of capability and commitment to the al-Qaeda mission, weighing heavily on local agendas (Watts, 2014). IS srcinated from    al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) during the multilateral invasion of Iraq in 2003, where thousands of foreign fighters rushed to fight the American “crusaders”. As time went on, AQI adopted a new alias as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2006 to attract recruitment and to reflect one of the srcinal goals of al-Qaeda: to establish a transnational Islamic caliphate ruled by sharia law (Laub & Jonathan, 2014). With the recent 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, many ISI fighters saw an auspicious opportunity in Syria to carve out its long desired Islamic state. The current leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the organi zation’s expansion into Syria on April 9th, 2013 when he announced the merging of Jabhat al-Nursa and ISI to form the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/the Levant (ISIS) (Shadid, 2010). GOALS The Islamic State wishes to restore the “Khilafa” (Caliphate), a  transnational Islamic state that would prevail over the European carved borders established within the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement of World War I. The Caliphate would be governed by sharia law and ruled by a caliph; someone considered to be a successor to Muhammad’s political authority. On June 29th, 2014 the announcement restoring of the Caliphate was made. Baghdadi  —   who the world knows very little about  —    revealed his ‘real’ name and became self  -proclaimed Caliph Ibrahim II, ostensibly showing his lineage to Caliph Ibrahim I who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1640-1648 (Dawson, 2014). On a more pressing narrative, Heritage Foundation posits that the Islamic State wishes to kill Americans and Israelis. Let’s not forget that the Islamic State derived from a l-Qaeda in Iraq  —   those of which hunted Americans during the 2003 Iraq liberation. Osama Bin Laden, the    inspirational founding father of al- Qaeda, called for active opposition in his two “fatwas” in 1996 and 1998, where he expressed disgust with the American presence in Saudi Arabia and the spilling of Muslim blood in Israel and Iraq (as cited in Colin, 2014). RECRUITMENT PROCESS Social Media Presence: I.S. has a robust social media campaign that acts a propaganda front for recruitment and donations. According to J.M. Berger, an analyst that studies extremism and frequently contributes to Foreign Policy, IS has created a Twitter app: those with the app receive tweets posted to their Twitter accounts with links, hashtags, and images (Lerman, 2014). This is evident in the inorganic, often consistent spikes of traffic following certain IS-related events. IS has also exploited the #WorldCup hashtag by posting beheadings and other images to further disseminate its propaganda. Finally, IS publicly releases periodic reports and audio messages on its progress in multiple languages, including Arabic, English, German, French and Russian. SOURCES OF FINANCES IS has relied on funding from donors in countries like Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, but more recently on incoming recruits. According to the provincial governor of Nineveh, Atheel al-  Nujaifi, IS had looted over $425 million in Iraqi dinars and gold bullion from Mosul’s banks  —    Iraq’s second largest city (McCoy, 2014). This would make IS one of the richest ter  rorist 30 organizations in the world, ever. Yet even before Mosul’s capture, reports claimed that IS had netted $8 million monthly through the extortion of businesses, large and small, in Mosul alone (Laub & Jonathan, 2014). According to a 2015 study by the Financial Action Task Force, ISIL's five primary sources of revenue are as followed; Proceeds from the occupation of territory (including control of banks, oil and gas reservoirs, taxation, extortion, and robbery of economic assets), kidnapping for
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