On June 12, the state of Florida experienced something it hadn’t since the Civil War: an attack on its soil by a person fighting for a foreign country.
Although most people consider ISIS to be a terrorist organization (which, in my humble opinion may affect how people view the War on Terror and cause them to not take it seriously as they don’t believe we are fighting another country), the level of organization and consolidation of its rule in the territory it occupies indicates that it is in fact much more than that.
First off, let’s take a look at one of the definitions of a state (the only reason I’m using the word “country” is to make this article easier to read for Americans who are so used to calling nation-states “countries” and American provinces “states”), as provided by Merriam-Webster:
“5 a : a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially : one that is sovereign
b : the political organization of such a body of people
c : a government or politically organized society having a particular character <a policestate> <the welfare state>”
Now, let’s see how ISIS meets the qualifications of the definition set out in Merriam-Webster.
Is ISIS a politically organized body?
At the top of its leadership is the caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Just below him is the Shura Council, the Sharia Council, and independent religious scholars who determine how to govern occupied territory and lay out military strategy.
In addition, there exist councils on finance, media, military affairs, provincial affairs, religious affairs, and security and intelligence.
Does ISIS occupy a definite territory?
For the most part, yes.
The fact that it occupies territory is a no-brainer, but if you google maps of ISIS at various points in time, you can see that its borders have been very fluid.
Nonetheless, it has managed to hold onto significant swaths of territory for years, long enough to be able to organize that territory into regional provinces that are ruled by governors and are locations to which ISIS military commanders are assigned.
So, there you go. ISIS is de facto a country.
It may not be de jure a country, as it is not recognized as such by any country or international institution, but that shouldn’t stop the United States from weighing what is in front of the faces of its policy makers and accept reality.
Whether you like it or not, ISIS is a country, and it is capable of taking actions that are done by countries, such as govern a territory, wage war, and mint a currency.
It is time to start treating ISIS as what it is, for the sake of ensuring that a war that has come to Florida’s (and of course, America’s) soil is waged correctly and efficiently, for the sake of saving lives of Americans and many others around the globe.
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Cover Photo Credit: Vice News/ Youtube (Screenshot)