BEIRUT – ISIS, the breakaway offshoot of Al Qaeda has declared an Islamic caliphate in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq. It is an effort to erase the borders between the two war ravaged nations. It could mean the first steps towards forming a caliphate which has fallen a century ago with the Ottoman Empire.
The caliphate formed by ISIS stretches from Aleppo in northern Syria to the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala. According to an audio recording which was said to be by the group’s spokesman and was posted on the websites and forums which have been linked to the extremist Sunni Islamists. ISIS has named its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as head of state.
The risk of civil war was always there from the days when America had withdrawn its troops from the nation. The worst fears of security experts became true last month when town after town fell before the advancing ISIS fighters and it is reported that they are within striking distance from the capital Baghdad. ISIS is also fighting the Syrian government lead by President Bashar al-Assad and other rebel groups seeking to end his rule.
The recording proclaiming the setting up of the Caliphate has also stated that it has appointed “emirs and courts” and imposed taxes in territories under its control. It also declared any other groups or government as illegal and asked all Muslims to pledge their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Iraq and Syria were carved out after the European powers redrew the borders in the Middle East after World War I.