The spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, announced the decision in an audio statement posted online on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. A caliphate ruled the Middle East and large portions of North Africa in various forms for a large portion of Islam’s roughly 1,400 year history.
“Swear your loyalty”
In the statement, Al-Adnani named ISIL‘s chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new caliph while calling on jihadi groups and Muslims worldwide to swear their loyalty to the him.
‘‘The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas,’’ al-Adnani said. ‘‘Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day.’’
Additionally, he announced that the group was shortening its name by dropping the mention of Iraq and the Levant and simply now going by the name, the Islamic State.
‘‘Now the insurgents in Iraq have no excuse for working with ISIS if they were hoping to share power with ISIS,’’ said Aymenn al-Tamimi, an analyst who specializes in Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, using one of several acronyms for the Islamic State. ‘‘The prospect of infighting in Iraq is increased for sure.’’