Theorizing the violence and rise and development of Islamic state

Full Name: 
Dr Quaraysha Bibi Ismail Sooliman

IS is a new phenomenon in the face of an on-going conflict in the Middle-East in what I refer to as the Shami theatre. It evolved from a fledgling affiliate of al Qaeda into a powerful and organised pseudo-state under the leadership of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi and operates largely in the Shami theatre. The Shami theatre with its core group of actors has been scripted into a region of conflict, through a toxic approach from 1916 till now (2017), a hundred years and counting.

According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), of the 203097 civilian deaths recorded from March 2011 until November 2016, IS has been responsible for 1.48% (2998) of the deaths. Considering this fact alone, it had to be asked, Why the obsession with IS? This project considered the rise and development of IS and its choice of violence in the context in which it exists.

All the templates examined ultimately led to the plausible conclusion that the violence of IS is motivated by revenge, the greed for power and control and in many ways manifests as the dark side of modernity. Religion is the currency invoked to draw supporters, sympathy and recognition, and to seek legitimacy. But religion, specifically Islam does not constitute the motivation for the violence.

This study concluded that IS and those powers unleashing violence on the largely Sunni Syrian and Iraqi populations have been targeting a very specific enemy, with the aim to completely destroy it, they are attacking Islam and the Islamicate. The narrative, the tactics, the behaviour, the propaganda, the ongoing epistemicide and the pacts between Assad, the changing Iraqi regimes, the US, and IS all point to this. And attacking Islam and the Islamicate includes attacking the inheritors of Islam. This is the consolidation of the theorising.