Armed and Hell-bent on ethnic and religious cleansing, the Sunni group, ISIL, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria has announced the establishment of a caliphate ("an Islamic form of government representing the political unity") straddling the two countries, urging other groups to pledge allegiance. Changing their name to simply Islamic State, they say that their empire extends from Diyala in Iraq to Syria's Aleppo, and it's growing.
In an audio recording released on Sunday, the group declared its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, "the caliph" and "leader for Muslims everywhere".
"Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day,'' said group's spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani.
"The words 'Iraq' and 'the Levant' have been removed from...official papers and documents." We know for sure because a translation was released in English and several other languages.
It describes their chief, Baghdadi, in glowing, archaic rhetoric as
the sheikh, the fighter, the scholar who practices what he preaches, the worshipper, the leader, the warrior, the reviver, and as the “descendant from the family of the Prophet, the slave of God."
Are you sold yet? Then, "gather around your caliph, so that you may return as you once were for ages, kings of the earth and knights of war."
A return to the age of kings? Really? And although talk about knights and chivalry is cool, "knights of war?" God help us!
The group's announcement came as Iraq's army pushed into the northern city of Tikrit. The assult began on that city on Saturday, while tanks and helicopters were sent to areas around Tikrit university on Sunday, security sources said.