News Flash: What you need to know—Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

Who is ISIS and where are they?

ISIS is an Islamic extremist group. With brutality as their policy, they have rallied up to 31,000 fighters, some from al-Qaeda and some new. They are currently led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; however, the founder of ISIS was Abu Ayyub al-Masri. ISIS is stationed in Syria and Iraq. They have taken control of many Syrian and Iraqi areas including, but not limited to: Mosul, Tikrit, Kirkuk and Paqqa.

What does ISIS want?

ISIS wants to restore the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq. A “caliphate” is an area whose government rules by a strict or extreme interpretation of the Islamic religious law (also known as an Islamic State). ISIS takes a “deviant and pathological” route of interpreting the meaning of a caliphate and the Islamic religion, according to M. Alex Johnson of NBC News. An ISIS spokesperson said this regarding their violent tactics:

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – espe- cially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever…including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way.” 

Why does this concern the United States?

ISIS was officially formed in 2003 by Abu Ayyub al-Masri. America’s attention turned to ISIS when they recently de- capitated two American journalists: James Foley on Aug. 19 and Steven Sotloff on Sept. 2. ISIS has sent multiple threats to the U.S., including a CNN report where an ISIS spokes- person stated that, “It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price.”

Intervention raises traditional questions regarding U.S. involvement in Syria and Iraq.

– By Riley Wolfgang