This article is the second of a two-part series. Part one can be found here.
To date Islamic State has captured a stretch of territory the size of Jordan and subsequently declared it an Islamic caliphate. Virtually overnight, it has gone from a terrorist or guerrilla group to an army. It is aggressive, expansionist, and poses a real danger to the long-term stability of the Middle East.
But what are the group’s actual goals?
Islamic State follows al-Qaeda’s hard-core ideology and adheres to global jihadist principles. Like al-Qaeda, the group emerged from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which dates back to the 1920s in Egypt. Islamic State aims to establish a Salafist Islamist state in Iraq, Syria, and other parts of the Levant. The group’s goal is to eliminate all modern borders between all Islamic Middle Eastern nation-states. This why the group now refers to its self as the Islamic State, as they believe that they have removed the border between Iraq and Syria, thus marking the first step in their state-building project. To date, the group’s logistical capabilities are far greater than those of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and their expansionist vision must be reined in if the Middle East is to ever see any sort of stability.