History is witnessing a 90-year-old setback. In 1924, the Islamic caliphate was abolished by virtue of a decision issued by late Turkish President Kemal Ataturk. Two days ago, June 28, and on the first day of the month of Ramadan 2014, the Shura Council of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) decided to bring back the caliphate, declared its rule once again, and proclaimed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the first “caliph of Islam” in this new era.
The planned caliphate knows no limits to its expansion and spread, since the Shura Council decided to replace the denomination of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham with the name Islamic State, in a clear indication that this organization was no longer confined to one or two countries.
As-Safir had exclusively published in an article issued on June 3, 2014, the date planned for the announcement of the Islamic caliphate, when sources close to ISIS were quoted as saying that the “proclamation of the caliphate is being seriously discussed in the corridors of the organization, awaiting for the appropriate conditions, especially the developments in the field.” The sources confirmed that “there is no caliphate in Syria alone or in Iraq alone, but the land of the new caliphate must extend from Anbar in Iraq through Deir ez-Zor in Syria all the way to Raqqa.” The sources added that if ISIS successfully controlled Deir ez-Zor and ousted the Sahwat, it would be able to proclaim the caliphate “in the month of Ramadan.” Indeed, the Islamic caliphate was only announced after ISIS managed to join together its territories in Syria and Iraq, thus opening the road from Raqqa to Mosul.
ISIS’s invasion of Mosul and its recent progress on the ground enabled it to unite the areas under its control in Syria and Iraq, especially after it gained control over the city of Abu Kamal in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, which is adjacent to the city of al-Qaim at the Iraqi periphery, and given that it approached the borders of several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey. ISIS seemed to be prematurely harvesting the outcomes of this aforementioned progress when a spokesman for the organization, Abu Mohammed Adnani, made an audio recording titled, "This is the promise of God.” The latter said that the Islamic State possessed all the elements of the caliphate and that by not declaring it, Muslims would be committing a sin. He added that there was no obstacle or legitimate excuse that might acquit the state if it showed delay or failure in declaring the caliphate. Adnani explained, “Therefore the Islamic State, represented by its authorities vested with powers, including dignitaries, leaders, princes and the Shura Council, decided to proclaim the Islamic caliphate, appoint a caliph to the Muslims and pledge allegiance to Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Ibrahim bin Awad al-Badri al-Qurashi al-Hashemi al-Hassani.”
Adnani said, “Baghdadi accepted the pledge of allegiance, thus becoming the caliph of Muslims everywhere. The expression ‘in Iraq and al-Sham’ was removed and is no longer used in the denomination of the [Islamic] state, which became limited to ‘Islamic State’ as of the issuance of this statement.” According to Adnani’s statement, “The proclamation of the caliphate comes after the Islamic State imposed all Sharia duties, such as the establishment of Islamic courts, the execution of prescribed penalties and the imposition of Jizya tax, etc., in such a way that the only remaining duty that every Muslim mujahed longs for is the proclamation of the caliphate, the duty of the lost era.”
“The proclamation of the caliphate means that every Muslim has the duty to pledge allegiance to the new caliph of Muslims or otherwise die the death of the time of Jahiliyya. The proclamation of the caliphate invalidates the legitimacy of all other Islamic emirates.”
Although Adnani did not specifically mention which emirates were invalidated, it was clear that this statement of invalidity included the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan led by Mullah Omar and to which al-Qaeda pledged allegiance. This would put the Salafist jihadist movements and their organizations and factions throughout the world in front of an inevitable fait accompli, either accept the invalidity or fight it using methods and means more brutal than those some of them have been using in the war against ISIS throughout the past seven months.
Adnani has sensed this possibility when he sent a letter to “all factions and groups on the face of the earth,” calling on them to support the establishment of the caliphate and not to stand against it, since the proclamation of the caliphate would invalidate the legitimacy of all other factions and organizations.
This was confirmed by Adnani warning the soldiers of the Islamic State that their opponents were embarking on horrible journeys, and various kinds of sedition, tribulations and catastrophes and the only survivors would be those spared by God’s mercy. Adnani urged them to remain united, stressing that “whoever dares to create division among the ranks shall be shot in the head.”