What does ISIS want to achieve

The "Islamic State"

Who is behind the IS?

The "Islamic State" (IS) not only calls itself that - the organization actually sees itself as a state in its own right. Although the borders are not as clear as in other countries, IS now controls large regions in Iraq and Syria.

IS came into being in Iraq in 2003, founded primarily by resistance fighters against the US occupation. Most IS fighters are Sunnis who feel politically and religiously oppressed by the Shiites. Most of its leaders are ex-Iraqi army officers.

The first leaders came from the al-Qaida terror network - which is why ISIS was close to al-Qaeda at the beginning. In the meantime, however, the two groups have been considered to be enemies since ISIS has also spread strongly outside of Iraq against the will of al-Qaida.

The name of the terrorist group has changed again and again over the years. For a while it was called "al-Qaeda in Iraq" (AQI), "Islamic State in Iraq" (ISI) and "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

Since 2014 it has been called simply "Islamic State" (IS) after its main purpose. Because the goal of IS is to expand its territory to Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan and to proclaim a state of its own or an "Islamic Caliphate".

IS has developed a sophisticated social system for its supporters: many IS provinces have their own budget with which they pay health insurance and compensation premiums to the families of killed fighters. There are vacation days for the fighters and a separate information ministry which, for example, posts propaganda videos on the Internet.

What does jihadist and salafist mean?

The "Islamic State" is both Salafist and jihadist, making it one of the most violent and conservative currents in the world at the moment.

The idea of ​​jihadism is based on the Islamic commandment that every Muslim must defend his religion against people of other faith.

While many Muslims interpret this commandment only as an instruction for believing behavior, jihadists interpret it as a call to violent struggle (the so-called "jihad") against everything non-Islamic - or against other Muslims who, in their opinion, are not strict enough keep the religious rules. Jihadists are therefore violent, militant, extremist Muslims.

Salafism is based on an ultra-conservative interpretation of the Koran and Islam. His followers value old perspectives and traditions - "salaf" means "ancestor". Salafists rely on ancient interpretations of the Koran and reject everything modern.

There are two main currents: some of the Salafists are conservative, but not violent; on the other hand, the extremist Salafists use violence to spread their religion and regard the entire rest of the world as hostile. The Islamic terrorists of September 11th were also Salafists.

What do the IS fighters want to achieve?

The vast majority of IS supporters are Sunnis and thus belong to the largest religious group in Islam. Nevertheless, in many areas they feel oppressed by other religions or by the Shiites, who are also Muslim. Therefore it is their main goal to create their own political state by and for Sunnis.

The new "Islamic State" should also monitor compliance with religious laws. This "Sharia", the sum of all laws, regulates everyday life and is interpreted extremely strictly by IS: Alcohol, drugs and tobacco are prohibited, as are public gatherings. Women have to cover themselves up and are hardly allowed to leave the house.

Right from the start of the IS movement, the political leaders called for the expulsion of all non-believers or non-believers - in the meantime most of the "deviants" and "non-believers" are even killed if they are in the sphere of influence of IS.

The IS fighters particularly hate the Yazidis, who form a religious minority in Islam. IS is committed to the "cultural and religious erasure of the identity of the Yazidis" because it considers it to be a pagan religion from pre-Islamic times and thus heretics.

How is IS financed?

Terror is part of every war - but with IS it is not just a side effect, but a targeted means of warfare, says the Federal Intelligence Service.

Because the IS finances itself to a large extent from it: According to internal documents, there are several ways to raise large sums of money, and terror forms the basis for almost all of them.

On the one hand, wealthy business people, especially in the Baghdad region, are often required to pay "protection money". As with the Mafia, these are less voluntary donations than blackmail money.

The terrorists have apparently also made human trafficking a lucrative business. Thousands of women and young girls are said to have been abducted in the occupied territories. Many of them were given to the IS fighters as a reward or sold as slaves.

In addition, the IS also makes large sums of money by selling oil from captured oil fields on the black market. The Treasury Department estimates that terrorists stole about a million dollars a day from selling oil and several million a month from extortion and ransom payments.

And even if the revenues in the oil business fluctuate sharply according to estimates by experts: Overall, the IS is the "best financed terrorist organization we have ever dealt with," it said in the fall of 2014 in the US Treasury.

Author: Anette Kiefer