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**Posted by Phineas
Bringing the medieval into the modern world, the psychotic jihadis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have declared their leader “Caliph,” the ruler of all Muslims:
An offshoot of Al-Qaida which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic “Caliphate” and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on jihadist websites said on Sunday.
The move is an expansion of the group’s ambitions to wage a holy war and posed a direct challenge to the central leadership of Al-Qaida, which has already disowned it.
The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also known as ISIS, has renamed itself “Islamic State” and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi as “Caliph” – the head of the state, the statement said.
“He is the imam and khalifah (Caliph) for the Muslims everywhere,” the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in the statement, which was translated into several languages and an Arabic audio speech.
The move is significant, since many Islamists believe the Muslim world has lost its way since the end of the Caliphate in 1924. And the new pretender’s name has meaning, too: Abu Bakr was the first Caliph, ruling the Muslims after Muhammad’s death. Thus, taking his name is both an announcement of Islamic renewal and a harkening back to a supposed time of purity, which is a goal of Salafis.
The birth of the new Islamic State and the proclamation of a new Caliphate is an existential challenge to the states and their boundaries established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, rooted in the Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France. Bear in mind that, under Islamic law, only the Caliph can declare on offensive jihad (1). If IS takes Baghdad, then Saudi Arabia and Jordan should watch out.
Will the new caliphate be a direct threat to us? Almost certainly, if it lasts long enough to stabilize and hold territory. Al Qaeda used Sudan and Afghanistan to launch its attacks against the West. These clowns will almost certainly see jihad against us as a religious duty — once they’ve taken care of the “hypocrites” in their area.
But, it’s a legitimate question as to whether this is a genuine restoration, or if it’s another pipe dream. Analyst Tom Rogan thinks ISIS/IS is too dysfunctional to survive.
PS: Oh, and the reference to H. Beam Piper? He’s one of my favorite science fiction authors, writing in the 50s and early 60s. His future history postulates an atomic war that devastates much of the northern hemisphere in the late 20th century. That war begins when the caliphate is restored and then the Caliph assassinated… in Iraq. Hmmm…
(1) In case you’re wondering just what the heck has been waged against us in recent years, al Qaeda and other jihadist groups consider that “defensive jihad.” See Raymond Ibrahim’s “Al Qaeda Reader” for an explanation.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)