Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) currently controls vast territories in Iraq and Syria with estimated population up to 5 million people. In June 2014, ISIS made a move to conquer Sunni areas of Iraq in provinces like Ninawa, Salah ad-Din, and al-Anbar. Until May 2015, there had been no significant military success combating ISIS. This paper argues that renewed Sunni insurgency in Iraq was indeed brewing for several years. ISIS campaign is described within the framework of the concept of insurgency. The text provides a comprehensive narrative of ISIS’ and its organizational predecessors’ insurgency in Iraq and Syria in the period of 2003-2015. As a conceptual background it utilizes a lifespan of insurgencies that argues that each insurgency must pass from proto-insurgency to large scale insurgency phase, and finally to a “conventional stage” when insurgency is strong enough to meet counterinsurgent in open battlefield. A lifespan of ISIS insurgency indeed reached tipping point and entered “conventional stage” in June 2014 when it assumed control over key Sunni areas of Iraq.
Abu Bakr al-Bahdadi, Abu Mus’ab az-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda in Iraq, AQI, insurgency, Islamic State, IS, ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham