“The Structure of the Islamic State (ISIS),” by Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, September 8, 2014 (thanks to Victor):
Much has been written and said about the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (the Levant) — ISIS. Most of the commentators have looked at ISIS as another terrorist organization, an al-Qaeda off-shoot, waging a guerrilla war with cohorts of unorganized thugs. The Afghani-style gear, the pickup trucks, the all black or army fatigue uniforms which most ISIS fighters wear, the unshaven beards, the turbans, hoods and head “bandanas” with Arabic inscriptions have added to the confusion.
In fact, ISIS is much more than a terrorist organization; it is a terrorist state with almost all governing elements. Over the last three years, since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, the Islamic State developed from an extremist fringe and marginal faction participating in the civil war to become the strongest, most ferocious, best funded and best armed militia in the religious and ethnic war that is waged today in Syria and Iraq.
But first, what is the name of this entity and what are the borders of the Islamic State? From the first days of its appearance in Syria in 2011, the organization was known as ISIS. However, since the declaration in Summer 2014 of the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate headed by Ibrahim ‘Awad Ibrahim Al Badri al Samarra’i, alias Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — now the self-declared “Caliph Ibrahim” — ISIS has been transformed into the “Islamic State” (Al Dawla Al Islamiya ) in order to stress the fact that the Caliphate is not to be limited to Iraq, Syria, Israel (Palestine), Jordan and the Levant, but its ambitions lie well beyond those limited borders.
According to the maps published by the Islamic State, the Islamic State will include Andalus in the West (Spain) and stretch from North Africa — the Maghreb — (and the whole of West Africa including Nigeria) through Libya and Egypt (considered one geographical unit – Ard Al-Kinana), include what is called in Islamic state terminology, Ard el Habasha (from Cameroon in the west, Central Africa, the Victoria lake states, Ethiopia and Somalia), the Hijaz (Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States), Yemen until Khurasan in the east – defined as the Central Asian Muslim Republics beginning with Azerbaijan and including Pakistan and the South west part of China, land of the Muslims of Turkish origin, the Uyghurs. The Islamic State includes also Iran and Turkey (named Anadol) in their entirety and parts of Europe (mainly the Balkans, more or less conforming to the borders of the defunct Ottoman Empire with the Austro-Hungarian territories)….