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Post  Admin on Fri 15 May 2015, 11:30 am

The journey of what is now the Islamic State from its humble beginnings to the largest and most ferocious terrorist group in the world  BY ELLIOT FRIEDLAND Thu, May 14, 2015

After the death of its ultraviolent leader Abu Musab al- Zarqawi in 2006, Al Qaeda in Iraq was led by Abu Ayyub Al-Masri and then by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
Th group changed its name to the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), and began to focus on conquering Iraqi territory as a means of creating a sharia-based state there. 
The group concentrated its efforts on gaining territory in the desert region of Anbar province, where discontent with among the Sunni population was rife.

However, their brutal attempts to enforce sharia law turned the local population against them.
Supported by American forces, tribal militias called Sahwat al-Anbar (Anbar Awakening), or alternatively Abna al-Iraq (Sons of Iraq), pushed ISI out of Fallujah and the rest of Anbar in bloody fighting.

Founded in 2005, the Sons of Iraq supported the American troop surge of 2007 and were able to all but defeat ISI. But following victory, they were not integrated into the Iraqi military by the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, instead being targeted as a potential threat to Shiite majority rule.
As a result they became alienated and many of them have now joined the Islamic State.
The two leaders were killed by a tank shell in 2010 and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took over ISI.
He rebuilt some of the popular support that had been lost under the groups two earlier leaders, but also began to develop the organization's strength.
He staged the group’s major comeback by expanding into the Syrian Civil War in 2013.
That’s when he renamed the organization the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (or the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant – ISIL). But Baghdadi's decision to move into Syria provoked friction with Al-Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al Nusra. Baghdadi attempted to take over Jabhat al-Nusra, prompting rebuke from Nusra's leader and Al-Qaeda central command.
After multiple failed attempts at mediation by various leading sheikhs in the global jihadist community, the two groups split permanently when the Aymenn al-Zawahiri, leader of Al-Qaeda central angrily expelled ISIS.
Throughout late 2013 and early 2014, ISIS built its power base in Syria. It established a stronghold in Raqqa, ousting all other rebel groups and turning it into a de-facto capital.
Despite a counterattack by other factions sparked by its brutal tactics, ISIS was able to hold its positions and consolidate its power base.
Policies of divide and rule in fractious tribal areas helped them to sustain their hold on territory.
But ISIS never forgot about Iraq.
In January 2014, they took parts of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar province, declaring an Islamic State, to little media attention.
In early June, ISIS shocked the world, storming across northern Iraq and capturing Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, with the help of an uneasy alliance of ex-Baathists, tribesmen and other Sunni rebel forces.
On June 29, 2014, the first day of Ramadan, ISIS declared itself a caliphate and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as Caliph Ibrahim, and demanded the immediate loyalty of all Muslims throughout the world.

For more information about the Islamic State and its brutal attempt to takeover the world see Clarion Project's Special Report: The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL)

Meet the man whose ultraviolent philosophy came to define the Islamic State - the group's founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Last summer the Islamic State shocked the world with its lighting conquests of swathes of Iraq and Syria.
But the group is much older than that. It has its roots in Al-Qaeda and the global jihadist movement that developed from the 1980s onwards.

What is now the Islamic State began as a group called Jamaat al-Tahwid wa-i-Jihad (JTWJ), founded in 1999 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who first became a jihadi in Afghanistan.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

He met Osama Bin Laden in 1999 and the two always had a fractious relationship, which sowed the seeds for the later dispute between Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
Zarqawi was brash, abrasive and from a poor background. Bin Laden on the other hand was rich and did not feel the need to fight on the front lines.
Initially, JTWJ focused on trying to overthrow the monarchy in Jordan, but after the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States, Zarqawi joined the insurgency in Iraq against American forces.
photo An American M1 Abrams tank in Tal Afar, Iraq, 2005. (Source: Wikicommons)
He became famous for his ferocity and personal brutality as well as for his battlefield successes. Zarqawi’s personal hatred for Shiites remains an integral part of Islamic State ideology. He called them "a sect of treachery and betrayal ... the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion"
Zarqawi led his jihadis in many high profile terrorist attacks. Some of the most brutal were an August 2003 attack on the UN compound in Baghdad that killed 22, including UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, then considered the most likely successor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Relief workers search through the rubble for survivors in the aftermath of the 2003 attack on the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordinator Building in Baghdad, Iraq

In February 2004 the group killed 150 people in simultaneous attacks in Baghdad and the Shiite holy city of Karbala during the holiest day of the Shiite year: the Ashura festival. Zarqawi was also known for his ferocity, in a particular his preference for carrying out beheadings personally.
In September he decapitated hostages Eugene Armstrong (American), Jack Hensley (American) and Kenneth Bigley (British) and broadcast the footage to the world.
In 2004 JTWJ formally became an Al-Qaeda affiliate when Zarqawi swore allegiance to Bin Laden. 
The group then changed its official name to Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers (the Tigris and the Euphrates). Most people called it Al-Qaeda in Iraq, or AQI.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq built up its own network of supporters and fighters during the Iraq insurgency. Although it was technically subordinate to Al-Qaeda central, in practice it did what it wanted.
It was in these early years in Iraq that Zaraqawi developed his ultraviolent brand of jihad that defines the Islamic State.
The founder of the group that became the Islamic State, Zarqawi’s example is followed by the Islamic State today. He is quoted on the first page of every issue of the Islamic State propaganda magazine Dabiq and honored by them with the title Sheikh.
“The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify – by Allah’s permission – until it burns the crusader armies in Dābiq”
 Zarqawi was killed by a United States airstrike in 2006.

For more information see Clarion Project's Special Report: The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL)

Al Qaeda at MIT
VIDEO 12.39 min

A number of prominent Muslims at MIT were fundraisers for Al Qaeda, including MIT’s Muslim chaplain Suheil Laher and Aafia Siddiqui, who the US listed as one of the seven "most wanted" Al-Qaeda fugitives until her capture in 2008 in Afghanistan.

Published on 10 May 2015
Video shows that MIT’s Muslim chaplain Suheil Laher was also an Al Qaeda fundraiser.

MIT Muslim chaplain Suheil Laher used his leadership of the MIT Muslim Students Association as a vehicle for raising money for Al Qaeda causes around the world. 
The video especially focuses on the Al Qaeda affiliate in Chechnya, which Laher and his associates lionized, even as MIT trusted him to be its Muslim students’ spiritual guide.
At the end of April, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled a permanent memorial to MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. Officer Collier was gunned down by the Boston Marathon bombers, Chechen refugees Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, three days after they blew up the Marathon.
It is painful to learn that in the late 1990s, there were students at MIT who helped recruit for the Chechen jihad and raised funds for Al Qaeda-affiliated groups operating in the Tsarnaevs’ homeland. It is even more painful that the man who led this fundraising effort was still on MIT’s staff when Officer Collier was gunned down.
We hope that you watch the video, forward across your social networks, and respectfully voice your concerns to MIT President Rafael Reif, who can be reached at rreif@mit.edu or 617.253.0148.

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