A spokesperson for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, announced on Sunday that the organisation has established a Caliphate State and inaugurated the organisation’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Khalifa, to become “Caliph Ibrahim”.
In a statement released on the group’s website and Twitter accounts, Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani said the organisation had shortened its name to the Islamic State. The statement was translated into several languages and recorded in Arabic, according to the Irish Independent daily newspaper.
In the recording, Al-Adnani points out that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s real name is Ibrahim bin Awad bin Ibrahim bin Mohamed bin Ali Al-Husseini Al-Qurashi Al-Hashimi Al-Badri, before announcing him as “Caliph of Islam everywhere.”
The newspaper also quotes Al-Adnani as saying: “It is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to (him) and support him…The legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organisations, becomes null by the expansion of the khalifah’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas.” Analysts are describing this as a direct challenge to Al-Qaeda.
Since the beginning of the year, the Iraqi army has been engaged in fierce battles against ISIS fighters in the mostly Sunni dominated Anbar province, especially in the cities of Fallujah and Karmah, as well as some areas near Ramadi city.
During the past two weeks, Sunni groups led by ISIS militants also took control of several areas in northern and western Iraq. The organisation said that the areas that have fallen under ISIS control now comprise an “Islamic emirate”.
While Iraq’s beleaguered Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki describes the fighters as terrorists, many Sunnis say that what is happening in Iraq is a “Sunni revolt against Al-Maliki’s unjust and sectarian Shia government”. Sectarian acts of violence have resulted on all sides.