On this day— October 13th
2006: The Islamic State of Iraq is declared.
The subject of “when” the Islamic State (ISIS) was founded has been a go-to method of scoring political points since the emergence of the group as a violent worldwide threat. President Trump and other Trump administration figures have recently said that Trump has done more against ISIS in eight months than President Obama did in eight years, a claim that was quickly seized upon by those who say the group only emerged in 2014, when it seized whole swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. And who could forget the peak of Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential run, when a young woman confronted him at a rally and accused his brother, George W. Bush, of creating ISIS.
The point is, it doesn’t really matter “when” ISIS was founded, because ISIS was always an amorphous organization strung together by linking radical groups during the U.S. occupation in Iraq. What started as Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, morphed into an umbrella organization known as the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in 2006. The MSC included a number of Sunni jihadist groups located in the Sunni areas of Iraq, and was led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. The group’s debut coincided with a grand announcement in Ramadi, where six militants dressed in white emerged in the streets to announce: