MESOP UP TO DAY : The Islamic State Announces Caliphate / ANALYSIS

 By Charlie Caris – Institute for the study of war (ISW)

1-7-2014 – The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) declared the establishment of what it termed the “Islamic Caliphate” on Sunday, June 29, 2014, the first day of Ramadan. As part of this announcement, the group stated that it was dropping the “Iraq and al-Sham” modifiers from its name, becoming simply the “Islamic State” (IS).

In this announcement of an Islamic Caliphate, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, has made a power grab for leadership of the global jihadist movement. He has not only mandated that every Muslim pledge bayah [allegiance] to him as the new Caliph; he has also nullified the legitimacy of any other Muslim group or association, including that of al-Qaeda affiliated groups loyal to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the successor to Osama bin Laden. Al-Baghdadi believes, as former al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi believed, that success on the battlefield is the highest form of legitimacy. Thus it is fitting that al-Baghdadi has chosen to declare the Caliphate as ISIS increases its territorial control.

The Islamic State’s boundaries already extend from “Aleppo to Diyala,” as the statement notes, but the declaration of the Caliphate is meant to spark a global phenomenon. In an audio statement disseminated by al-Hayat Media Center and al-Furqan Foundation in five languages, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani outlined the shape of the new Caliphate.

*   The Caliphate statement is directed at Muslims around the world. The statement calls on all Muslims to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State. Adnani is expressing confidence that he has enough international support from the Muslim community to sustain and grow the movement.

*    Adnani also goes to great lengths to account for those who may have doubts about the legitimacy of the new Caliphate, asking Muslims to ignore those who “attempt to raise misconceptions.” Say to the skeptics, continues Adnani, that “We had the ability to establish the khilafah … so it became an obligation for us to do so.” This highlights that the Caliphate did not come into existence gradually through the consensus of the Muslim community, but was established by fiat. Emphasizing this point further, Adnani says “We spilled rivers of our blood to water the seeds of the khilafah, laid its foundation with our skulls, and built its tower over our corpse.” The Islamic State derives its core legitimacy through decisive battlefield victory, rather than consensus. Read all: