Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
Ninety-six (96) local, regional, and international organizations and entities (prime actors) were identified by their peers as influential in the life of Syria. In the chart below, the left column ranks the prime actors from most influential in shaping the life in Syria (Russia) to the least influential (Relief International).
The chart also shows the classification of prime actors into five stances indicating the actor's support and contribution to inclusive nationalism for Syria, starting from the most committed (Core) to the least committed (Saboteur).
Amount of influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the life of Syria, and its commitment to inclusive nationalism for Syria.
25 prime actors participated in the following:
- Determining the rank of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant according to the amount of its influence on life in Syria. As shown in the chart below, ISIL ranked 4th most influential prime actor.
- Assessing and classifying Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant according to its commitment to inclusive nationalism for Syria (also indicated in the same row by the colored rectangle). Of the 25 prime actors who participated in the assessments, more agreed that ISIL falls under the category of 'Saboteur'. A prime actor assessed as Saboteur is seen as working against a sovereign, stable, inclusive, and developing Syria.
In response to the question, “How would you weaken ISIL, a prime actor seen as a Saboteur?”
Round 3 participants suggested:
"Take territory back. Allow Sunni governance in some areas. Use a no-fly zone to keep Assad from taking back territory without US permission. Maybe arm the Kurds, but that would disrupt a lot of other things: It would force Turkey to act and bring Iran to the table. Eliminating IS would change the picture." (239312)
"A military campaign only feeds their propaganda. To counter them you have to build real ties to the Muslim world. If people feel connected to the community and valued, ISIL's pitch will be harder to sell. It will show their arguments have no basis. Religious rhetoric to counter ISIL needs to come from within the Muslim community. Everyone else [including the international community] should not feed the us-them [ISIL vs the world] dichotomy." (233121)
"As the core is strengthened, ISIL will weaken. Minimize ISIL's access to the internet and money." (230784)
In response to the question, “How is ISIL important in the life of Syria?”
Round 3 participants stated (Nov. 2016 - Jul. 2017):
"ISIL controls large amounts of territory and has the capacity to strike outside the area by inspiring people and by training. They are the largest terrorist group documented. They refuse to negotiate. ISIL attracts the attention of the world to Syria.” (239312)
"They traumatize the world. They are very dangerous for Syria, the region, and the world. They are a nightmare for Syrians.” (236592)
"ISIL controls large parts of the country. It is powerful in the country. It influences actions by the United States. The United States cooperates with others they may not otherwise to defeat ISIL. Russia is the same.” (231642)
"They have a lot of territory. They are very good at terrifying people. They like negative media coverage because it plays into their "Us vs. Them" strategy.” (233121)
"They have been encircled in Raqqa and Derazor within Syria. They still control a large chunk of Syrian territory. They are the most violent group in Syria.” (233911)
"They have the same role as the Iraqi Militias. They are the same whether they are Sunni or Shia. They must be destroyed to the roots. When Sunnis and Shia come to an agreement IS will have no [reason to exist].” (233881)
"They were made jointly by Syria and Israel to support Assad in case of a revolution. Baghdadi is Jewish, not Muslim.” (231211)
"They have a lot of territory, weapons, and external support.” (238631)
"They are terrorists. If the conflict continues, even if ISIL is destroyed, another will rise. That's why we need to resolve the conflict, not just fight terror.” (234281)
Round 2 participants stated (Aug. 2016 - Oct. 2017):
“They force their beliefs on people, terrorizing them, hiding behind Sharia and Islamic laws, abusing religion to the maximum for their own benefit. They don't believe in government.” (221641)
“Its role has shrunk. They have an agenda with the Syrian and Iranian people. They support both. They always wanted to fight the revolution, not the regime. They support the regime-besieged areas with aid, supplying the regime. They don't understand the religion, but kill in the name of it. They killed far more in Sunni regions. Within a few months they will be kicked out of Syria. In ten years they will be barbecue in heaven.” (220291)
“They control lots of territory, money, weapons. They are the enemy of the world, which makes them attractive to some. Expanding to Aleppo, Homs, Palmyra, Damascus-South. The Syrian government negotiates with them, but no other armed groups.” (221951)
"They have a huge number of fighters, huge resources including oil, and an unprecedented ability to attract fighters. (223911)