The Islamic State (IS) mainly relies on the sectarian conflict to create a favorable ground for its so-called caliphate. Unlike its al-Qaeda counterpart, IS has adopted a sectarian agenda as a permanent and fundamental strategy. The instigation of a Sunni-Shiite conflict has been the group’s ongoing key tool and policy since its inception under Abu Musab Zarqawi’s era.
This has been one of the main differences between the two groups, since the beginning of their operations in Iraq after the US invasion in 2003. Zarqawi addressed the Sunni-Shiite conflict in his message to Osama bin Laden in 2004. The former considered fighting Shiites an undeniable priority of jihad, in such a way that fighting the Americans should not hinder or stop the fighting of Shiites.