The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared their territory as the new Caliphate, dubbed “The Islamic State” (TIS), in a statement yesterday, and followed it up with a celebratory parade today in Raqqa, their de facto capital.
Celebrants waved the black flags of ISIS during the parade, as the group reiterated its intention to erase all boundaries from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf and unify it under their new TIS.
Rival rebel factions in Syria scorned the announcement, with the rival Islamists insisting the announcement was “null and void, legally and logically.” This included both the Islamic Front and al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra.
The rejection is virtually obligatory for such groups if they intend to remain rivals of ISIS, as they would be required to submit to the commands of an actual Caliph. And while Jabhat al-Nusra’s leadership remains opposed to the declaration, recently some of their fighters have joined ISIS, recognizing the larger group as the leadership of the Syrian rebellion.