Understanding ISIL, ISIS, IS

 

Transcript of a video publication of LeMonde.fr in french (published on 2014-06-27) and english translation

 

Concept, research and text : Fransesca Fattori, Flavie Holzinger, Christophe Ayad

Narration and creation/production : Donald Walther

Catography : Jules Grandin

 

(Original transcript in french follows the english translation)

 

Introduction : A jihadist sunni mouvement founded in Irak

 

Al-Qaida in Mesopotamia (2004-2007)

In 2004, the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi founded "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" to fight against the U.S. occupation in Iraq. 

The ancestor of the Islamic State in Iraq was born.

Being very violent and sectarian, Zarqawi was gradually rejected by Sunni populations and even by the parent al-Qaeda organization. 

He was finally killed in a US bombing in 2006.

 

Islamic State in Iraq (2007-2013)

From 2007 the movement resurfaced under the name of "Islamic State in Iraq." But under pressure from U.S. forces, the Iraqi army, and Sunnis, the Jihadists were pushed in the western desert-like Iraqi provinces, Anbar and Nineveh.

 

Marginalized in his homeland, the Islamic State in Iraq decides to take advantage of this holdback to mobilise itself in Syria.

 

The country is shaken since 2011 by the civil war between the Alawite power of the Assad family and rebel groups from the Sunni majority.

 

Foreign Jihadists, therefore Iraqis, (for instance from Egypt, Jordan, Saoudi Arabia and Europe), take advantage of the porosity of the Syrian border to join the rebels.

 

 

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (2013-June 2014)

After having initially supported a Syrian jihadist group called Jabhat al-Nosra, the Islamic State in Iraq continues to send men in northern Syria in a new way: that of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).The movement imposes itself as the most violent jihadist group. Rejected by the rebels of the Free Syrian Army who accuse them of stealing their revolution, and opposed to by other jihadist groups, ISIL fighters manage however to set themselves in many Syrian cities and in particular in Rakka.

 

Meanwhile, at the other side of the border, the Iraqi Shiite government of Nouri al-Maliki continues the marginalization of Sunni populations. Then, in 2013, these revolt. This is the perfect opportunity for ISIL to regain power in Iraq. Attacks including prison attacks are increasing, especially tagetted at the Abu Ghraib prisons.

In January 2014, ISIL takes partial control of Ramadi and Fallujah situated sixty kilometers of Baghdad. Then, in June 2014, it is around Mosul and large areas in the North and West.

 

The risk of implosion of Syria and Iraq on community foundations is growing. In both countries, ISIL builds on the resentment of Sunni populations towards Shite powers or those assimilated to that community. Iraq especially now shifts to a new sectarian conflict. 

The Sunni tribes support ISIL, while the Shiite majority assigns people for countering the advance of Jihadists.

 

 

Islamic State (June 2014)

 

green: Sunnite majority | purple: Shiite majority

At the end of June 2014, the movement renamed itself the "Islamic State" and proclaimed the establishment of a caliphate on the territory it controls: from Aleppo in Syria to Diyala in Iraq. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is to be the only imam and caliph of all Muslims around the world, a title that disappeared since the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, and which designates the successor of the Prophet Muhammad.

In this chaos, there are the Kurds who make up between 15 and 20% of the Iraqi population. They already have an autonomous territory, the Iraqi Kurdistan, and the weakening of the central government could discourage them. Also, in Syria, the Kurdish minority which is hostile toward the Assad regime as much as towards the jihadists could be tempted to take off.

 

This last parameter would definitely blow the old colonial borders established more than 100 years ago. A legacy of the Sykes-Picot agreementssigned after the First World War (1916).

 

(published on 2014-06-27) 

Concept, research and french text : Fransesca Fattori, Flavie Holzinger, Christophe Ayad

Narration and creation/production : Donald Walther

Catography : Jules Grandin

 

 

(00:35) Introduction: Un mouvement djihadiste sunnite fondé en Irak

 

Al-Qaida en Mesopotamie (2004-2007)

En 2004, le jordanien Abu Musab al-Zarqawi fonde « Al-Qaida en Mesopotamie » pour lutter contre l'occupation américaine en Irak. L'ancêtre de l'Etat Islamique en Irak est né.

Très violent et sectaire, Zarqawi est progressivement rejeté par les populations sunnites et même par la maison mère d'Al-Qaida. Il est finalement tué dans un bombardement américain en 2006.

 

Etat Islamique en Irak (2007-2013)

A partir de 2007 le mouvement resurgit sous l’appellation d' « Etat Islamique en Irak ». Mais sous la pression des forces américaines, de l'armée irakienne, et des sunnites, les djihadistes sont repoussés dans les provinces irakiennes désertiques d'Ouest, celles d'Anbar et de Ninive.

 

Marginalisé sur sa terre natale, L'Etat Islamique en Irak profite de ce repli pour se recycler en Syrie.

Le pays est secoué depuis 2011 par la guerre civile entre le pouvoir alaouite de la famille Assad et des groupes rebelles issus de la majorité sunnite.

 

Des djihadistes étrangers, donc des irakiens, (par exemple d' Égypte, Jordanie, Arabie Saoudite, Europe) profitent alors de la porosité des frontières de Syrie pour rejoindre les rebelles.

 

Etat Islamique en Irak et au Levant (2013-juin 2014)

Après avoir d'abord soutenu un groupe djihadiste syrien nommé Jabhat al-Nosra, l'Etat Islamique en Irak continue d'envoyer des hommes dans le nord de la Syrie sous une nouvelle manière : celle de l'Etat Islamique en Irak et au Levant (L'EIIL).

 

Le mouvement s'impose comme le groupe djihadiste le plus violent. Rejeté par les rebelles de l'armée de Syrie libre qui les accusent d'avoir volé leur révolution, et opposé aux autres groupes djihadistes, les combattants de l'EIIL arrivent tout de même à s'implanter à des nombreuses villes syriennes et notamment à Rakka. 

 

Entre temps, de l'autre côté de la frontière, le gouvernement chiite irakien de Nouri Al-Maliki poursuit la marginalisation des populations sunittes. Puis, en 2013, ces derniers se soulèvent. C'est l'occasion idéal pour l'EIIL de revenir en force en Irak. Attentats et attaques de prisons se multiplient notamment contre celle d'Abou Ghraib.

En janvier 2014 l'EIIL prend le contrôle partiel de Ramadi et la totalité de Fallouja à soixante kilomètres de Bagdad. Puis en juin 2014 c'est autour de Mossoul et des vastes zones dans le Nord et l' Ouest.

 

Le risque d'implosion de la Syrie et de l'Irak sur des bases communautaires se renforce. Dans les deux pays, l'EIIL s'appuie sur le ressentiment des populations sunnites face à des pouvoirs chiites ou assimilés à cette communauté. L'Irak en particulier glisse aujourd'hui vers un nouveau conflit confessionnel. Alors que les tribus sunnites soutiennent l'EIIL, la majorité chiite met en place des gens chargés de contrer l'avancé des djihadistes.

 

Etat Islamique (juin 2014)

A la fin de juin 2014, le mouvement s'est rebaptisé « Etat Islamique en Irak » et a proclamé l'instauration d'un califat sur le territoire qu'il contrôle: D'Alep en Syrie à Diyala en Irak. Son chef, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi devient le seul imam et le calif de tous les musulmans partout dans le monde, un titre disparu depuis la fin de l'Empire Ottoman en 1923 et qui désigne le successeur du prophète Mahomet. 

 

Dans ce chaos, il y a les Kurdes qui composent entre 15 et 20% de la population irakienne pourraient. Ils disposent déjà d' un territoire autonome, le Kurdistan irakien, et l’affaiblissement du pouvoir central pourrait les inciter à accélérer leur cessation. En Syrie aussi la minorité kurde hostile au régime Assad autant qu'aux djihadistes est tenté de prendre le large.

 

Ce dernier paramètre ferait définitivement exploser des frontières coloniales vieilles depuis plus de 100 ans. Un héritage des accords Sykes-Picot signés au lendemain de la première guerre mondiale (1916).

 

(publié en 2014-06-27) 

(Concept, recherche et texte : Fransesca Fattori, Flavie Holzinger, Christophe Ayad

Narration et réalisation : Donald Walther

Catographie : Jules Grandin)

 

 

 

Understanding the Syrian crisis

 

A video publication of LeMonde.fr  (published on 2014-04-30)

Syria: Understanding the Syrian crisis in five minutes

(intense images until 00:21 - start of the analysis)

 

English version

French version

 

Text: Benjamin Barthe

Research and design: Flavie Holzinger, Francesca Fattori

Cartography: Véronique Malécot

Voice and Creation/Production: Donald Walther

 

Understanding the Syrian crisis

 

The Syrian crisis consists of three levels:

1. Civil war

2. Cold war

3. Holy war

 

"First, the Syrian conflict is a civil war. On the one hand, the Rebels, mostly Sunnis, the biggest community in Syria. 

They occupy the north, Damascus suburbs and countrysides in the center and the south of the country."

 

 

"On the other hand, the Loyalists, rely on the Alawite sect, a branch of Shia Islam, of which the Assad clan is part of. 

They control the big cities including the capital and the sea front mostly populated by Alawites."

 

"The US and EU countries back up the Syrian National Coalition, the main anti-Assad organisation. 

The Syrian National Coalition (SNC) is born in late 2012 and is admitted as the only representative of the Syrian people by 100 countries."

 

"On the other end there are the Assad supporters, China and Russia. 

They are both members of the UN security council and they both blocked three of its resolutions against the regime. 

Besides, Moscow constantly supplies the Syrian army. 

 

Russia has several interests in this crisis.

Economic interests: The Assad regime is an old client of its defence industry.

Strategic interests: The Tartous harbour is the last access to the Mediterranean sea.

 

Geopolitical interests: Back in 2011 the Kremlin did not appreciate the NATO's intervention in Libya which was supposed to only 

protect civilians, but finally ended with the fall of Qaddafi. 

Today Vladimir Putin does not want this to happen again especially in his sphere of influence which Syria is part of."

 

 

 

 

 

HOLY WAR

 

Third player in the Syrian Conflict: the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar). 

"Saudi Arabia for instance sees in the Syrian crisis a way to weaken its enemy, Iran. 

Iran, a Shia giant, is the first ally of the Assad regime in the Middle East. 

This is why Saudi Arabia and Qatar deliver weapons to rebel squad through Jordan and  Turkey.

 

Parallely several Salafi sheikhs settled in  Kuwait, set up donation systems. 

 

But overtime sponsors from the Gulf began to support increasingly radical rebel groups which are close to Al-Qaeda.

 

 

Up north, the Turkish government, very mush opposed to Damascus, also played with fire by letting militants of the Islamic state of Iraq 

and Levant (ISIL-ISIS) pass through its territory.

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

"To face the Sunni forces, Assad can rely on its Shia allies.

Iran, the fourth player of the conflict, brings to Damascus money, weapons and military advisors.

 

There is also the Hezbollah, a Shi'a Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon. In the beginning, their fighters were just 

patrolling along the Syrian border. But they ended up fighting directly along side the Syrian army.

 

It is the same for Iraqis Shia militants. At first they were only supposed to protect the Sayyidah Zaynab mausoleum. 

And now they are dispatched all over the country. Especially in Aleppo."

 

 

(Note: this video was published by LeMonde.fr on 2014-04-30)

 

 

"And this is how Syria became the court for new episodes in the old conflict between Shiites and Sunnis."

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Civil_War

The Syrian Civil War (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية السورية‎), also known as the Syrian Uprising, is an ongoing armed conflict taking place in Syria

The unrest began in the early spring of 2011 within the context of Arab Spring protests, with nationwide protests against President 

Bashar al-Assad's government, whose forces responded with violent crackdowns. 

The conflict gradually morphed from popular protests to an armed rebellion after months of military sieges.[57]

 

(slightly modified wikipedia info below)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunni_Islam

 

Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam; its adherents are referred to in Arabic as أهل السنة والجماعة‎), "people of the tradition of 

Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah". In English, its theological study or doctrine is called Sunnism, while adherents are known as 

Sunni Muslims, Sunnis, and Sunnites.  

Sunni Islam is the world's second largest religious body (after Christianity)[2] and the largest religious denomination for any religion in the world. 

Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as the orthodox version of the religion.[3][4] 

 

Sunnī also commonly referred to as Sunnīism is a broad term derived from sunnah meaning "habit", "usual practice",[6] "custom", "tradition". 

The Muslim usage of this term refers to the sayings and living habits of the prophet Muhammad.

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shia_Islam

The Shia, or the Shiites, (Arabic: شيعة‎ Shīʿah) represent the second largest denomination of Islam.

Shia Muslims constitute 25-30% of the world's Muslim population and 40% of the Middle East's entire population.[2]

 

 

The word Shia (Arabic: شيعة‎ shīʻah /ˈʃiːʕa/) means follower [10] and is the short form of the historic phrase shīʻatu ʻAlī (شيعة علي /ˈʃiːʕatu ˈʕaliː/), meaning 

"followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali"[11], Muhammad's son-in-law and cousin Ali, whom the Shia believe to be Muhammad's successor in the

 Caliphate. (Sovereign State)

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW OF CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR WITH DIDIER FRANÇOIS

 

Christiane Amanpour @camanpour  ·  2015-02-04

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/03/intl_world/amanpour-didier-francois/index.html

Didier François: "The Iraqi and the Syrian people who join ISIS are much more traditional conservative kind of guys (than those) from the tribes."

 

"And sometimes it's not easy for them to fit with the jihadis coming from other countries, because they don't share the same ideas, they don't share the same behaviors, they don't have the same codes. And sometimes it's really tense between them."

 

"Unlike al Qaeda, from which ISIS was cleft, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (ISIS leader) 'is always trying to root his organization in the local conflict'.  "

 

"He always tries to push the Sunni tribes, the Bedouins, to fight against the Shiite, or the Yazidi, or the Christians. And they are trying to play communities one against the others. That's how he survives. That's how he recruits."

 

 

"He is using, of course, those young guys coming from Europe or coming from all over the place. But it's only one part of his organization. The strongest parts of his organization are the tribes, the local Sunni tribes."

 

 

 

Comment: There are those who join ISIS to fight the Syrian regime; those that go to Syria without knowing what the situation is like and that get caught in tragic misunderstandings. There are also those that when they find out what is really going on, want to leave, but get trapped and cannot go back to their countries.

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT ON ISIS

 

Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

 

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/IICISyria/Pages/IndependentInternationalCommission.aspx

 

DOCUMENTATION/ Rule of Terror: Living under ISIS in Syria  14 November 2014

 

 

ISIS TARGETING MINORITIES

Texts from the report follow.

 

24. Where ISIS has occupied areas with diverse ethnic and religious communities, minorities have been forced either to assimilate or flee.

 

28. ISIS began to forcibly displace Kurdish civilians from towns in Ar-Raqqah governorate in July 2013. After demanding that all Kurds leave Tel Abyad on or else be killed, thousands of civilians, including Turkmen and Arab families fled on 21 July. Its fighters systematically looted and destroyed the property of Kurds, and in some cases, resettled displaced Arab Sunni families from the Qalamoun area (Rif Damascus), Dayr Az-Zawr and Ar-Raqqah in abandoned Kurdish homes. A similar pattern was documented in Tel Arab and Tal Hassel in July 2013. As ISIS consolidated its authority in Ar-Raqqah, Kurdish civilians were forcibly displaced from Tel Akhader and Ayn-Al Arab (Kobane) (Aleppo) in March and September 2014, respectively.

 

37. ISIS regards Yazidi Kurdish community as infidels and their religious practices,‘deviant’. On 29 May 2014, ISIS attacked Al-Taliliyah (Al-Hasakah), which used to contain a Yazidi Kurdish community. The village had been taken over by internally displaced persons, most of whom were women and children, from Al-Safira (Aleppo). ISIS fighters – mainly foreign fighters who did not speak Arabic and so could not understand the protestations of those they were killing – believed their victims to be Yazidi Kurds. The executions halted only when an Iraqi fighter arrived and translated to the other ISIS fighters that the civilians were Sunni Arabs.

 

 

53. During its early August 2014 attack on Sinjar in northern Iraq, ISIS abducted hundreds of Yazidi women and girls. Some abductees have been taken into Syria and sold as ‘war booty’ in markets in locations across Ar-Raqqah. Regarded as chattels, these women and girls are imprisoned in houses and are being held in sexual slavery.

 

 

55. In sexually enslaving Yazidi women and girls and forcing them to bear the children of ISIS fighters, the armed group views the offspring as belonging to the father, superior to the mother, and prevents another generation of Yazidis from being born.

 
 

 

.@UNESCO deplores ‘cultural cleansing’ of #Iraq as armed extremists ransack Mosul libraries bit.ly/1F38IRt pic.twitter.com/24J5IpPGEe