The “Caliphate” in the Digital Age: The Islamic State’s Challenge to the Global Liberal Order

By Anthony Celso.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 29, 2015 $US5.00

The Islamic State’s world view of the liberal international state system is examined along four dimensions: the system’s purported degenerative effect on the ummah or the Islamic community; the West’s perpetuation of a Arab and Muslim state client system tied to a larger Zionist-Crusader network; the global order’s utilization of Shi’ite and Alawi client states to defile and destroy the Sunni Muslim world; and ISIS’ prophetic beliefs that its caliphate is part of end time eschatology of global Islamic conquest resulting in the destruction of the Western world order. The Islamic State's world view is an amalgamation of the thought of medieval cleric Ibn Taymmiyah and contemporary jihadist ideologues Sayyid Qutb, Abu Musab al-Suri, and Abu Bakr Naji. Its sectarian world view is examined by analyzing the legacy of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi whose cult status for the IS is venerated in its e-magazine Dabiq. The Islamic States global media campaign especially its front line publications, videos, documentaries, and twitter activity will be prominently featured in the analysis. Despite its reliance on Al Qaeda’s (AQ) ideological predispositions, IS’s distinctiveness from the AQ network from which it sprang will be emphasized. IS’ takfiri and sectarian orientation has been a repeated source of tension between the two organizations and IS’ insistence in centralizing the jihadist struggle under a self-declared caliphate eventually resulted in its expulsion from AQ’s network. IS continues to reject all calls for reconciliation insisting on complete obedience to its authority. The analysis concludes by examining the threats presented to Mideast and global security. Among these security problems are IS’ vast network of foreign fighters and training camps that can serve as part of its external operation against Western countries and its extensive social media campaign that has and could be the basis for homegrown terrorism. With its considerable manpower and financial resources IS capability greatly exceeds AQ both in its present condition and historically. Finally, it looks at the prospects of an expanding arc of regional insecurity that could spread beyond Syria and Iraq and engulf neighboring states and the paper assesses the viability of IS’ caliphate in the face of external and internal resistance.

Keywords: Islamic State Jihad, Globalization

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 29, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 520.946KB)).

Dr. Anthony Celso

Associate Professor, Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice, Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas, USA