Understanding the rise of ISIL/Da'esh (the 'Islamic State')

17-03-2015

Already in control of a third of Syrian territory (most of it uninhabited), the jihadist terrorist group that has declared itself 'the Islamic State' (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Daesh' or 'Da'esh'), also seized large portions of Iraqi territory in a matter of days in summer 2014. Beyond the daily account of atrocities committed by ISIL/Da'esh, analysts have tried to fathom how this group, now boasting tens of thousands of fighters and several billion euros in resources, emerged on the international scene and made its claim to power with such sweeping assertiveness. Syria and Iraq's neighbours now find themselves on the frontlines of further expansion: a US-led international coalition, including countries in the region, is trying to halt the ISIL/Da'esh advance. The conflict has triggered considerable EU humanitarian effort, and a review of the EU's counter-terrorism strategy to better address the global dimension of the terrorist threat.

Already in control of a third of Syrian territory (most of it uninhabited), the jihadist terrorist group that has declared itself 'the Islamic State' (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Daesh' or 'Da'esh'), also seized large portions of Iraqi territory in a matter of days in summer 2014. Beyond the daily account of atrocities committed by ISIL/Da'esh, analysts have tried to fathom how this group, now boasting tens of thousands of fighters and several billion euros in resources, emerged on the international scene and made its claim to power with such sweeping assertiveness. Syria and Iraq's neighbours now find themselves on the frontlines of further expansion: a US-led international coalition, including countries in the region, is trying to halt the ISIL/Da'esh advance. The conflict has triggered considerable EU humanitarian effort, and a review of the EU's counter-terrorism strategy to better address the global dimension of the terrorist threat.