Sample Essay Paper on The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

Radicalization is a process by which a group of people continuously adopts extremist ideology in social, economic as well as political realms (Ranstorp 31). It undermines the status quo in society. The ISIS is one group that thrives in radicalization of society. The group began as an affiliate of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization in Baghdad, Iraq. Today, the perpetual nature of the complex emergency has been a fundamental catalyst towards the spillover and growth of the group beyond Iraq. The ISIS continues to be a major threat not only to national security, but also to international security to the manner in which it conducts its activities. A discussion of the causes, effects, and the counter ISIS strategies in Iraq is the aim of this paper.

First, it is important to point out that the end objective of the ISIS is the creation of an Islamic state in the pre dominant Sunni areas of Iraq (Springer, James & David 120). The implication is that the group is the property of the Sunni extremists who apply the extreme understanding of Islam. The group also promotes the utility of religious violence and those who do not abide by its interpretations are described as infidels. In addition, the group also conducts its activities under the motivation of the motto, “Bāqiyah wa-Tatamaddad”, an Arabic slogan that stands for “Remaining and Expanding”. To reinforce this motto, the group eventually seeks to create and establish a Caliphate, which will be under the leadership of a caliph- a top religious leader.

Today, the ISIS controls a region that is rich in oil resources both in Syria and in Iraq. The approximate geographical size of the region under control is the size of Belgium. The group also seeks to expand to Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. The fundamental factor for the renaissance of the ISIS is the divide and rule strategy. The conflict and division between the Sunnis and the Shias in Iraq has been an instrument for recruitment of ISIS member. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni Muslim, and despite them being the minority, he made them believe that they were more powerful and relevant as compared to the Shias. Such divisions by leaders in global conflicts have proved to be effective. This division in 2006 became clear under the rule of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who ignited a sectarian division by treating the Shias as second class citizens. The consequence was retaliatory attacks and uniting the two conflicting groups may be protractible due to the religious value attachment to the conflict.

The ISIS also imposes Sharia laws in the areas it controls. For instance, the separation of boys from girls in learning institutions; it also prohibits women from wearing the hijab in public; prohibition of music and adherence to fasting during Ramadan. Sharia courts are conventionally notorious for administering cruel justice. The existence of these laws have created a combination of good organization as well as deep and integrated fanaticism that makes it a difficult task to counter its growth and activities.

The ISIS is notorious for violation of human rights. The group is linked to the execution of prisoners of war as well as deaths of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Syria. In addition, it also thrives in acts of impunity, such as the persecution of minority groups through direct violence, death penalty, mutilation and torture under the excuse of being infidels. ISIS is also notorious for mistreatment of civilians on the basis of their ethnicity, making it discriminatory in nature. Finally, a number of Iraqi children have been recruited by the ISIL as it seeks to fulfill its jingoistic ideology. The effects and threats posed by the ISIS to the national security Iraq have made the jihadist group a barrier to security.

A number of counter ISIS strategies may be adopted to fight the ISIS. These strategies should not be limited to domestic initiatives, but should extend to the international. For instance, a top down approach would be effective in curbing the growth of the ISIS. This means that the international community should be at the forefront of stabilizing Syria. Long-term political instability in Syria has impacted on regional security. This insecurity has served as an effective breeding ground for the ISIS. Concisely, addressing this structural cause of instability would prove effective. Secondly, both the local and international community should freeze the assets and bank accounts of the ISIS members (Fenwick 21). This would paralyze the activities of the activities of the ISIS. Lastly, an international response of coercive peace enforcement would be core in bringing to an end the ISIS.


Works Cited

Fenwick, Helen. Developments Counter-Terrorist Measures & Uses of Technology. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013. Internet resource. Retrieved from:

Ranstorp, Magnus. Understanding Violent Radicalisation: Terrorist and Jihadist Movements in Europe. London: Routledge, 2010. Internet resource. Retrieved from:

Springer, Devin R, James L. Regens, and David N. Edger. Islamic Radicalism and Global Jihad. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2009. Internet reso