In what connotes the increasing menace of the insurgency in Iraq, the al Qaeda breakaway faction – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – have announced the establishment of an ‘Islamic State’ in the territories that they have captured across Iraq and Syria.
In a major announcement, the ISIS fighters have renamed their group as the Islamic State and declared their chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the Caliph or the head of the state.
The militants have said their Caliphate would extend from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq, the BBC reported.
The group has also called for all the Muslims of the world to shun democracy and other western ‘rubbish’ and to “pledge allegiance” to the new Caliph, al-Baghdadi.
The announcement by the extremists was made in the form f an online recording and came on the first day of Muslim Holy month of Ramadan.
In the recording, the group’s spokesperson Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said that they had “all the requirements of the Islamic state like fundraising, almsgiving, penalties, and prayers”, the Wall Street Journal quoted him.
“The legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas,” the spokesperson added.
Establishment of an Islamic State has been a dream long coveted by the insurgents, who captured wide swathes of Iraq in what is called as “lightning offensive”.
The announcement comes at a time when the Iraqi Army is engaged in a fierce battle with the militants to retake the hometwon of Saddam Hussein, Tikrit.
Iraqi forces had earlier claimed to have retaken the strategic town of Tikrit from the ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) rebels, however they had to retreat to a nearby city of Dijla as the ISIS militants fought back, resulting in fierce clashes.
So far, Iraq forces have shown feeble resistance to the militants’ surging attack but after the arrival of US military advisers and Russian Sukhoi warplanes, the soldiers might be able to present a more robust offensive against the ISIS.
The dramatic and menacing rise of the ISIS also means that al Qaeda, which was the prime militant outfit earlier, has been subdued.
However, the world would have to wait for any reaction by Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri to know if they too, will vow allegiance to the new don of the extremist world – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.