How the Islamic State grew more powerful

Professor Anna Dimitrova

Ms Dimitrova has a Post-Doctoral research in Political Studies at the CNRS (Paris), Holder of the AUF (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie) and the FMSH (Foundation House of Human Sciences) Post-doctoral Grant. She is specialist on US foreign policy and doctrines, transatlantic relations, conflict and political risk assessment, and globalization debates.

I was lucky to be student in her class during my first year at ESCE. She is a hardworking professor, aware of political events and global conflicts. For Mrs Dimitrova, “being a teacher is both a vocation and a passion”. She love this job because it allows her to “convey and share with [her] students the concepts and knowledge on topics of international news to help them better understand the world around us. ”

In her class we studied conflicts in the Middle East and that is why I was able to interview on the news in the Middle East and specifically the Islamic State and Al Qaeda although “it is not [her] specialty. ”

Capture d’écran 2015-06-26 à 19.22.53

Members of Islamic State in Syria

Pauline Hofmann – AFP

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is the child of the terrible Iraq war. Founded in 2004 during the US occupation, the movement has become so radicalized that even Al-Qaeda is far away. Today, its fighters are threatening to burst the boundaries of the region by proclaiming an “Islamic caliphate” in June 2014 in Iraq and Syria.

According to Anna Dimitrova, we must remember three key dates in the formation and evolution of the Islamic State: October 15, 2006, date of the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq. Then, in April 2013, the extension of the EII in Syria becomes the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Finally, June 29, 2014 where the movement takes the name of Islamic State (IS) when he announces the restoration of the caliphate.

The jihadists “want no longer Western presence in Muslim lands and Sunnis who implement a policy of “confessional cleansing” which aims to exclude Christians of the East, but also Kurds and Shia Muslims of the territories they control. ”

For a long time the Islamic State was equated with al Qaeda. The two organizations have the same objectives but differ on how to achieve it. Islamic State was born from the split with the old organization of Osama bin Laden. On 9 April 2013, was born the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, better known by its Arabic acronym “Isis” in English. On 29 June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself caliph, the successor of the prophet and took the name of Ibrahim. In fact, linked to al-Qaeda, the real creation Daech was in 2006 when the organization with other groups formed the Islamic State of Iraq.

Although they have common ideologies but for Mrs. Dimitrova Islamic State and al-Qaeda have two differences: “generational and political.” First, the reference experiment al-Qaeda remains that of the Afghan jihad against the Russians in the 1980’s and the fight against the West. For supporters of IE, the reference more recent is that of the jihad in Iraq against the US invasion in 2003. So there is a “generational difference between Islamic State and al-Qaeda”. Second, there are political differences. Supporters of Islamic State prefer directly establish a caliphate on the conquered territory and the establishment of Sharia. Al-Qaeda’s main target the West.

The strategy to counter the Islamic State

US President Barack Obama have minimised the defeat of Ramadi, calling it “tactical setback” but for Anna Dimitrova, “the strategy of bombing the jihadists positions on the pitch, but without ground intervention does not seem very efficient”. However, the sending of ground forces is not possible. But some US officials want a deployment of advisors within the battalions to direct air strikes or Special Forces for targeted actions. The solution to be then “rely more on militias in Iraq and Syria.” However, the Shiite fighters are often hostile to the coalition and some are accused of killing the Sunni population in the liberated areas.

The heads of coalition member states will meet in Paris on Tuesday. The countries of the international coalition led by the United States need to discuss their goals and means against the jihadist group. With over 4,000 air raids in ten months, “the States will have to review their strategy to counter the advance of the Islamic State.”

Interview by Nicolas Crocy


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