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ISIS in Syria and Iraq

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The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is shocking; it seems impossible to be true. ISIS is a Sunni jihadist group with violent ideology that calls itself a caliphate and religious authority. Organized rebel militias were engaging in combat with government troops in cities around and near Syria and Iraq. ISIS is known for public executions, crucifixions and other acts during this. But how did Isis get to this point? This paper will be analyzing the uprising of ISIS, the United States involvement, and Iraqis guards’ involvement in the growing of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Before discussing ISIS and the current events going on it's important to examine how and why the group of ISIS evolved and what the group is about. ISIS wasn't around always according to (Vox, YouTube, 0:22-0:26). In the video it states in 1979 the Soviet Union ended up invading Afghanistan to defend a dictator from the rebels. Among the rebels is a man that was well known, young, and well educated-his name is Osama Bin Laden. The Soviet didn't really succeed, according to ‘Soviet Invasion in Afghanistan’, it says that “In 1988 the Soviet Union signed an accord with the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and agreed to withdraw its troops” (Michael Ray, paragraph 6). While all this was occurring with the Soviet invading Afghanistan, there were 2 men- Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. These two men would gather people, growing 2 well-known terrorist groups-al Qaeda and ISIS-these leader and founder had their groups headed back to Afghanistan around 1996. What happens after these changes everything and creates mass violence and war for decades.

Breathing in smoke, saying your final goodbyes, tears, and screaming filled the streets on September 11th, 2001. The unimaginable happened that morning of September 11th at 8:45 am- 19 members of the terrorist group al-Qaeda attacks America. The men hijacked 4 planes early that morning and “Flew 2 into the twin towers, 1 into the pentagon, and the other crashed into a field in Pittsburg”, as said in the article (by editors, paragraph 1). With these killing thousands and thousands of people the United States of America invades Afghanistan in hopes to find and the man that planned this monstrosity. Back in Afghanistan the founder of ISIS- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi heard what was happening and how the U.S invaded Afghanistan and fled to Iraq. The one behind the attack was the leader of the al-Qaeda group-Osama Bin Laden. As the United States invaded Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden fled to Pakistan. As mentioned in the article by BBC news, “When they reached an outcrop and saw a large group of up to about 900 al-Qaeda figures, the battle for Tora Bora began” the US Special Forces try to capture Bin Laden and end up failing to do so (BBC news, paragraph 8). Osama Bin Laden ended up fleeing to Pakistan and from that point forward Osama Bin Laden was in hiding for almost 10 years after that point. 2 years later the United States does something that sets the stage for ISIS: The United States of America invades Iraq on March 30, 2003 to May 1st, 2003.

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Saddam Hussein was the 5th president of Iraq and was the president from 1979 to the year 2003. After explosions in the capital of Baghdad, Iraq, the president of the United States George W. Bush announces: “At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger” (, editors, paragraph 1). The United States believed that the Iraqis president Saddam Hussein, was in the process of getting weapons for a mass destruction or already had in his possession, so the United States made this the evidence and invaded Iraq and Iraqis government.

With all of that being said Saddam Hussein was afraid when the United States invaded Iraq, even though he told his people of Iraq “It is without doubt that the faithful will be victorious against aggression” ( editors, paragraph 3). Saddam Hussein went into hiding after the United States invasion and would only talk to his people through audio message, so the United States couldn't find his hideout through video. The United States found him in a hole underground in Tikrit. When the United States invaded, the Iraqi army was so overwhelmed by the United States, Britain and other forces the Iraqi army crumbled leaving many men of all ages angry and without a job according to CFR (paragraph 2). With this happening to the Iraqis army the thousands of unemployed people went and joined the insurgency while the Iraqi army was disbanded in 2003 when the invasion occurred. The founder of ISIS-Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was among the many jihadists people/groups that flooded in with different groups to fight Afghanistan again but this time his team was more dominant and ruthless than ever before. Zarqawi's group weakens shortly after, so tries to revamp the image and becomes allies with al-Qaeda and is known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). “Two years later the United States strikes and ends up killing Zarqawi”. In the snippet from Vox YouTube channel (Vox YouTube, 2:32-2:39). Fast forward to 2011 the United States thought Iraq looked good and stable so withdrew and the United States army left.

Back in Iraq the group al-Zarqawi formed and became allies with is still remaining, but barely people are involved and is now called ‘ISI Islamic State of Iraq’. The leader's name of the group ISI is Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Baghdadi wanted to expand his group and expand his territory into Syria to fight alongside the rebels in the Syrian civil war, so he sent a man that goes by the name of Jabhat al-Nusra to do such. Baghdadi helped people escape, attacking prisons to gain more support and people to join his terrorist group. A year or so later Baghdadi announced he was going to take control of all al-Qaeda groups and branches in Syria and Iraq, let's just say al-Nursa was not happy at all. That's where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria came from or some may know it as ISIS. By June 2014, ISIS had built an army in Syria, and it launched a military-style invasion-because al-Nusra would not give up leadership in Syria. The Iraqi army, weakened by corruption, folds with little fight and Baghdadi got and welcome or at least tolerate ISIS's arrival within days, “ISIS controls a third of Iraq and a big part of Syria” (Vox, 4:33-4:40). Soon after that dies down and becomes less and less powerful over the years.

Organized rebel militias were regularly engaging in combat, ISIS is known for carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts during this. We analyzed the uprising and downfall of ISIS. The United States involvement was a huge factor on why ISIS and al-Qaeda was growing rapidly. In that case, it could be around for years. ISIS is simply too weak and surrounded by enemies, ISIS will respond by decreasing into an insurgency; a terrorist group still capable of horrifying violence nothing more.

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ISIS in Syria and Iraq. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
“ISIS in Syria and Iraq.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
ISIS in Syria and Iraq. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Dec. 2023].
ISIS in Syria and Iraq [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2023 Dec 8]. Available from:
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