03 September 2014
The meteoric rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its declaration of an Islamic State straddling the two Arab countries raises the spectre of a militant Islamist state in the heart of the Middle East close to the borders of US allies like Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. If the threat to Israel and Jordan is primarily security, to Saudi Arabia it is also ideological, with IS tracing its roots to the philosophy of the 18th century warrior-jurist Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab and other Islamic sources on which the kingdom was built, and constituting a reference point that Salafists cannot ignore.
With its military advances in large swathes of Syria and Iraq, IS has achieved extremist control of the largest chunk of territory in recent times. It is the first jihadist group to seize control of resources like oil fields and refineries. They add to significant revenues earned from extortion and kidnapping as well as a revived flow of funding from individuals and charities in the Gulf. The group has currently seized seven oil fields and two smaller refineries in northern Iraq in addition to its Syrian assets.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 04/09/2014