Middle East Desk
for the last couple of weeks there has been the thought of ISIS may establish a caliphate…..and of course everyone has an opinion….ut not one of them has any idea what is meant by the ‘caliphate’……and now there has been an announcement and I am sure it will be the talk of the day…….
First, just hat is the ‘caliphate’?
Caliphate, the political-religious state comprising the Muslim community and the lands and peoples under its dominion in the centuries following the death (632 ce) of the Prophet Muhammad. Ruled by a caliph, who held temporal and sometimes a degree of spiritual authority, the empire of the Caliphate grew rapidly through conquest during its first two centuries to include most of Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Spain. Dynastic struggles later brought about the Caliphate’s decline, and it ceased to exist with the Mongol destruction of Baghdad in 1258.
Now that you have a rudimentary grasp on the concept…….
Reflecting its virtually uncontested control over a broad swath of land in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has announced the formation of a new nation, dubbed simply The Islamic State (TIS).
According to the announcement, TIS has been determined by Shura councils to be the “restoration of the Caliphate,” and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been declared the Caliph.
While TIS has been a de facto state for quite some time, albeit one with ill-defined borders engaged in multiple wars, the declaration of themselves as the new Caliphate is likely to fuel controversy around the world, and a direct challenge to Islamist factions.
That’s because a Caliphate claims to be the direct successor of the Prophet Muhammad, and its Caliph would at least claim to be the consensus final religious authority for all of Sunni Islam.
Caliphates have a long history across the Middle East, with dominant Caliphates ruling significant territory and wielding broad influence through much of history. For centuries, Ottoman sultans also held the position of Caliph. In 1924, Turkey dissolved the institution of Caliphate, and there has been no consensus Caliph since. In recent decades several Islamist factions have called for the restoration of the Caliphate, though naturally each has envisioned itself at the head, and none has gained anywhere near this much traction.
With the declaration, ISIS is making an enormous power play, aiming to put itself formally in command of all “faithful” Sunnis on a religious level. While that’s unlikely to matter across the broader Sunni world, except as a slap in the face, among Salafist factions like al-Qaeda this is a direct challenge, and a call for al-Qaeda and other such factions to submit to a position under Baghdadi’s rule.
Now that the ‘worst’ fears have been realized…..what will it mean to the rest of the world? Well, not much I gonna change in the world…for now…I am sure that the doomsayers will be all over this as a harbinger of doom….the first thing to remember is that AQ is NOT a friend of ISIS……….that should lead to a bunch of in-fighting. Next, see just which country or group gives their support to this Baghdadi dude……he got the big head and claimed he was the leader of ALL Muslims……..not gonna sit well in most cirlces….
For now all it will be is a pundit talking point……I would not go out and buy a slightly used bomb shelter…….