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Terrorism: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Essay


The media has been diligently feeding the world on knowledge about the ISIL terrorism group, among other terrorist groups, over the years. Several media outlets have provided relevant background information on the group and terrorism in general. In addition, various media outlets have ensured that stories about regions that have been attacked or affected in any way by the terrorist groups have been brought to the light. It is also important to mention that many media houses have engaged in critical debates and discussions on the way forward with regard to terrorism.


ISIL is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It has recently changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (Lyons and Mona 11). ISIL has been described by both the United Nations and the media as a terrorist and an extremist group. Several countries have gone ahead and joined forces and declared war against ISIL. Turkey has considered taking military action against ISIL (“Turkey Considers Military” 1).

The “Turkey Considers Military” article in the San Francisco Chronicles explains further that the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared that his country will expand and add into the Western and Arabic operations that are currently taking place in the Islamic group in order to minimize the impact of ISIL.

This is also supported by the reports by The Los Angeles Times, which state that Britain, Belgium, and Denmark have also joined other countries in the fight against ISIL (Werth and Cloud 1). The article claims that the British parliament unanimously voted to launch air strikes in Iraq in an attempt to paralyze some of the work of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq.

The article also adds that many of the countries that are fighting the ISIL group desire to keep it off Syria. Similarly, the article states that Denmark and Belgium also offered warplanes to the United States of America government. The warplanes are to be used to make air strikes in Iraq against ISIL.

The US has been in Iraq for close to a decade now. The war in the two countries is influenced by US activity and policy for the region. It is, therefore, meaningful that the US controls the attack against all ISIL’s action in Iraq. The American troops have already been in Iraq, thus they know the place better than any other troops. The US and its Arab allies are working towards the degradation and destruction of ISIL in a war that has witnessed hundreds of airstrikes.

Their key motivation is that allowing an Islamic state to exist will provide a conduit for terrorists to operate on the shores of the Mediterranean. Doing so threatens NATO member countries’ safety by first compromising the stability of Turkey (Werth and Cloud 1). The Los Angeles Times (1) also explains the magnitude of support that the decision to go to war against ISIL has attained. It states that five hundred and twenty-four decision makers voted for the idea to go to war against the ISIL, while 43 voted against the idea.

Those who agreed to go to war claimed that the move was important in securing the safety of the Britons. Those who voted against the notion explained that the move was not in the best interest of Britain. Other countries have also joined forces and shown alliance to the US in the war against ISIL.

There are several facts that are mentioned in the articles chosen. For instance, The PBS gives a background briefing on what ISIL is all about. This is a very interesting read as it takes the reader from the formation of ISIL to its current standing (Council of Foreign Affairs 1). In addition, the article has been written by a member of the Foreign Affairs office. This gives it credibility. The article also appears to be updated on a regular basis. The updates ensure that only current and confirmed facts are placed in the article.

ISIL is not the first terrorist group to gain coverage from the media. The history of terrorism is as long as time itself. However, significant cases can be mentioned through history to show how terrorism has developed over the years. The very first time the word terrorism was used was during the French Revolution. The term was used to refer to the terror that was experienced when the rulers of the revolutionary state used violence to encourage obedience.

The Islamic State group began in Iraq, as part of Al Qaeda and broke off later. It gained prominence when the Syrian war broke out in 2011 (Abi-Habib 6). It quickly attracted followers and fighters from Iraq, who were sympathetic to its vision of a caliphate to be established in Syria and Iraq. The group has a record of being extremely brutal. It is known for beheading its victims. It has been accused of conducting sectarian massacres. Most notably, the group has condoned the practice of cutting off body parts as punishment in areas where it has controls, with most victims losing their hands for trivial offences (Khan 1).

It is interesting to note that some of the key words that have been used when describing ISIL include “terrorist group”, “extremist group”, “Sunni Islamic extremists”, and “extremist Islamic group”. What is interesting about this characterization is that it is the only group that has been characterized by the type of Islam it practices. Normally, the media and world governments just use the name of the group or refer to it as an extremist group. However, as mentioned, this is the only group that has been referred to by the type of Islamic beliefs they hold “the Sunni Islamic extremists”.

ISIL is one of the current terrorist groups. Other terrorist groups at work include Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Al Shabaab, and the Boko Haram, among many others. These recent terrorism groups have started using different and extreme methods in demanding obedience. For example, in 2001, the Afghanistan related Al Qaeda bombed two towers in the USA. This was not the only attack that they had planned. They also attacked US embassies in various other countries. This led to the invasion of Iraq by the US (Khan 1).

The war against terrorism has been on for years. The world has noticed that fighting off the terrorists is the only way to survive more attacks. Governments are creating alliances, sending troops and warplanes to destroy some of the camps of the terrorist and extremist groups (Manji 205). In addition, governments are also placing sanctions to control other governments from supporting terrorist actions. This has proven useful in many instances, especially if it is the superpower that is giving out the sanctions.

The war against ISIL began over two years ago. However, it is only recently that stern action has been taken against the extremist group. This was after Iraq security forces raided a camp in Al Hawijah (Khan 1). The raid provoked the Sunni militia, and soon after suicidal bombers attacked various regions. This was in April 2013. This battle killed approximately 7,000 people and left approximately 16,500 people injured. It is recorded by the United Nations as one of the worst terrorist attacks. As the year drew to a close, many security teams ganged up to clear a protest camp that was situated in Ramadi. This made matters worse as it angered the public, who were protesting. The security forces had to move out of Ramadi and the gap they left behind was filled by ISIL (Khan 1).

This was not the only event that provoked the world to fight against ISIL. As security forces were leaving Ramadi, a civil war was erupting in Syria (Khan 1). Other regions of interest to the ISIL supporters include, but are not limited to, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, and Jordan. As mentioned, Syria is one of the regions of interest to ISIL. The Sunni jihadists in Syria also started an uprising. They were rebelling against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

This civil war was based purely on matters of religion, especially the different types of Islamic religions that are present in the region. It is worth mentioning that ISIL is a purely Sunni Islamic group. It started out as a group that tried to throw out Saddam Hussein as the leader of Al Qaeda and take over that position. After the death of Hussein, there was no one to stop the group from growing and expanding its propaganda (Abi-Habib 6). The group has been calling for donations from sympathizers who want to join it without actually fighting. It relies mostly on social media networks to reach its audiences and attract new fighters (Abi-Habib 6).

It is worth mentioning that the newspaper articles use different arguments to state their points. However, one of the most discussed topics is the use of the name ISIL. To many, this might be irrelevant. For instance, the Washington Post highlights the fact that many scholars are debating on whether to call the terrorist group ISIS or ISIL (Wemple 1).

However, the matter is less significant when the inhumane actions of the extremist group are put into consideration. So far, most major publications have resorted to just refer to the group as the “Islamic State group” to refer to the key intention of its activities (Wemple 1). To top this, the same article tries to inform the reader of the extreme measures that ISIL/ISIS resorts to.

It is commendable that some of the articles have mentioned the countries that are willing to fight against ISIL (Lyons and El-Naggar 1). However, the articles do not mention any country that supports ISIL directly. The articles have all narrowly explained which countries have many ISIL sympathizers, but they have not exposed any governments that support the ISIL cause.

Information about the counter attack is also sketchy. For example, the “Turkey Considers Military” (1) article in the San Francisco Chronicle has discussed the actions that Turkey is about to take against ISIL. ISIL has been targeting Turkey for over three years now. A counter attack from Turkey is, therefore, expected. The article, thus, tells the reader something that the reader already expects, instead of something new.

After doing substantive research on terrorism, I think that the war against ISIL is justified. Drawing from previous wars against terrorists and extremist groups, only harsh treatment of those involved can solve the problem. However, countries should be very careful when dealing with extremist groups because they can trigger more extremism. In addition, countries should find ways of eradicating extremist notions in order to get rid of extremist groups once and for all.

I also commend the work that several governments have been doing in an attempt to fight terrorism. So far, much of the work has been attributed to the United States of America. However, there are many other countries that help in such wars. For example, Belgium has donated warplanes to the USA in the war against ISIL. These warplanes are not only expensive to come by, but they also give the US a much needed advantage over the terrorists. Such countries should be recognized more often by the media.

In conclusion, ISIL is currently one of the biggest and most dangerous terrorist groups in the world. It has a very large following, which has enabled it to wreak havoc in various regions. The media has done a good job in highlighting some of the activities that ISIL has been involved in. The media has also been useful in informing the public of some of the measures that are being taken by governments to reduce the impact of ISIL.

However, the media is sketchy on a lot of information. For example, they have not focused on the challenges that individual countries will face after declaring war against ISIL. On the same note, the media has also failed to appreciate other countries that are also involved in the war against ISIL. The only country that has been overly associated with the war against terrorism is the US. However, as mentioned, there are many other countries that have also helped make the world a safer place.

As its name suggests, the group’s key intention is to transform the entire area of present day Syria and Iraq into an exclusive Islamic state. However, the extent to which the group uses violence and other inhumane methods to achieve its goal is horrendous. Gun-trotting militants who speak with westernized accents have characterized the globalized nature of the group and its threat to global peace. This feature has attracted attention and even participation from major European nations. In addition, the US and Turkey are the countries that are most involved in the ISIL war in Syria and Iraq.

The present worry is that the citizens of other countries who are sympathetic to jihadist ideologies are moving to Syria and Iraq to join the group. The problem is made worse by the shared border between the two countries, which do very little to stop the spread of the group’s influence and destruction in both countries. As the latest actives have shown, the group is not ready to disown violence and abuse of human rights; instead, it uses the acts to cause fear and gain the loyalty of the populations it controls. The most notable atrocities have been beheadings and cutting the hands of people who make trivial offenses.

Works Cited

“Turkey Considers Military Role Against ISIL.” 2014. The San Francisco Chronicles. Print.

Abi-Habib, Maria. “World News: Jihadists Step Up Recruitment Drive — Insurgents Use Victories in Iraq, Syria as Calling Card on Social Media to Help Forge New Islamic State.” Wall Street Journal 2014: 6. Print.

Council of Foreign Affairs. “Background Briefing: What is ISIL.” 2014. PBS. Print.

Khan, Imran. “ISIL’s War Just Went Global.” 2014. Al-Jazeera. Web.

Lyons, Patrick J, and El-Naggar Mona. “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria? Or Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant?” 2014. The New York Times. Print.

Wemple, Erick. “AP Settles on ‘Islamic State Group’ to Describe ISIS/ISIL.” 2014. The Washington Post. Print.

Werth, Christopher and David S Cloud. “Britain, Belgium and Denmark Join Coalition Fighting Islamic State.” 2014. Los Angeles Times. Print.

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"Terrorism: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." IvyPanda, 27 Mar. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/terrorism-the-islamic-state-of-iraq-and-the-levant/.

1. IvyPanda. "Terrorism: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." March 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/terrorism-the-islamic-state-of-iraq-and-the-levant/.


IvyPanda. "Terrorism: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." March 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/terrorism-the-islamic-state-of-iraq-and-the-levant/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Terrorism: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." March 27, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/terrorism-the-islamic-state-of-iraq-and-the-levant/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Terrorism: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant'. 27 March.

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