The Islamic State, previously calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and also known by the Arabic acronym Daʿesh''', is an unrecognized state and a Sunni jihadist group active in Iraq and Syria in the Middle East. In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and aspires to bring most of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its political control beginning with territory in the Levant region which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and part of southern Turkey. The group has been described by the United Nations and Western and Middle Eastern media as a terrorist group and has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The United Nations and Amnesty International have accused the group of grave human rights abuses. The Islamic State, also widely known as ISIS, ISIL and Daʿesh, originated as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999. This group was the forerunner of Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn—commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq —a group formed by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi in 2004 which took part in the Iraqi insurgency against American-led forces and their Iraqi allies following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During the 2003–2011 Iraq War, it joined other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Mujahideen Shura Council, which consolidated further into the Islamic State of Iraq shortly afterwards. However, the violent attempts by the Islamic State of Iraq to govern its territory led to a backlash from Sunni Iraqis and other insurgent groups in around 2008 which helped to propel the Awakening movement and a temporary decline in the group. As ISIS, the group grew significantly under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, gaining support in Iraq as a result of alleged economic and political discrimination against Iraqi...
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