The Clairvoyant: A Simple Reason Why I Call It 'The Islamic State'

For other short posts I’ve done, see The Clairvoyant archive here.

There are a number of arguments that can be made for calling The Islamic State ‘The Islamic State’ instead of the outdated acronyms that many still use. Below are two reasons that make most sense to me.

  1. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham)/ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)/Da’ish (al-Dawlah al-Islamiyyah fi al-Iraq wa-l-Sham) are all analytically inaccurate. It does not call itself that. 

2. Individuals are making the same mistakes made when people still called its prior incarnation al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) up until 2014, even though it had changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2006. By calling it AQI instead of ISI, it not only concealed its interest in state building, but also that there were real issues with al-Qaeda’s senior leadership. By only calling it ISIS/ISIL/Da’ish, it would suggest the it is only interested in aims in Iraq and Syria, which is far from the truth. It’s an expansionist state that has aims to create provinces all over, which go way beyond Iraq and Syria. This is no conjecture, IS has had operations in multiple locations outside Iraq and Syria for 13 months overtly and likely longer covertly. Not saying IS just obscures reality.

4 Replies to “The Clairvoyant: A Simple Reason Why I Call It 'The Islamic State'”

  1. Aaron, as we call al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab by their Arabic names, and not ‘The Base’ or ‘The Youth’ (and use Wilayat not Province); should we not observe the same convention by using Dawlah al-Islamiyyah or at least DI or DAI (or even DaIs) if Da’ish/Da’esh is deemed outdated?
    For your consideration.

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