• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Factfile Isis on the rise

THE Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has captured swathes of territory in northwest and central Iraq, including the second city of Mosul, seizing large amounts of US-supplied modern weaponry from the fleeing Iraqi army and looting banks.

In 2013 Isis leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, 43, declared a merger with the Nusra Front in Syria, then the main al Qaeda affiliate battling President Bashar al Assad.

He did so without consulting either its leader, Abu Mohammed al Golani, or global al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahri. He then turned his guns on Nusra, slaughtering Nusra prisoners and posting videos of the decapitations online as a deterrent and recruiting tool.

Isis now includes thousands of foreign fighters and has become the main recruiting magnet for jihadi volunteers from Europe and North Africa and is fast eclipsing al Qaeda as the bête noire of international politics.

Isis now has many attributes of a state. It has taken control of nearly a third of Iraq and much of Syria, has an estimated 10,000 fighters and has assets of about $2 billion (£1.2 billion).

Baghdadi — not his birth name — uses aliases and is said to wear a bandana around his face. To his followers he represents a new generation of fighters working to fulfil the next stage of bin Laden's dream, moving from al Qaeda - which can mean the base in Arabic - towards the fully fledged radical nation.

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

241967