The Caliphate

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The Caliphate
الخلافة
Flag
Motto: باقية وتتمدد
(Remaining and Expanding)
Anthem: أمتي قد لاح فجر
(My Nation, Dawn Has Appeared)
Status Unrecognized state
Capital
and largest city
Qufeira (claimed)
Luqya (de-facto)
Official languages Arabic
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Unrecognized self-proclaimed Caliphate
 -  Caliph Ebrahim Ridha Ahmad
 -  Commander of the Faithful Zakaria Jafar Nagi
 -  Emir of Irvadistan Faiz I'timad Ahmad
 -  Emir of Kraq Usman Shad Darzi
 -  Emir of Nautarya Abu Suleiman al-Athar al-Nautarya
Legislature Council of Elders
Establishment
 -  Declaration of Jihad 15 March 2011 
 -  Declaration of the formation of the Islamic Emirate 29 June 2012 
 -  Declaration of the Union of Islamic Courts 27 August 2014 
 -  Merger of the Islamic Courts and Emirate and Declaration of "Caliphate" 18 January 2015 
Population
 -  estimate Civil war and frequent territorial changes makes estimates unreliable
Currency Irvadi Pound and Kraqi Pound (de-facto)
Holy Riyal (official)

The Caliphate (Arabic: الخلافة) is an unrecognized self-proclaimed Caliphate in Esquarium controlling territory in East Nautarya, Irvadistan, Kraq, and West Nautarya.

The Caliphate originated as Front for Liberation and Jihad in 2006, an obscure organisation fighting the Shi'te lead Irvadi government. The group participated in the Irvadi insurgency, launching hit and run attacks against Irvadi People's Defence Force and Shia civilians. In March 2011, the group stepped up attacks against government forces, triggering the Irvadi government to initiate a violent crackdown against anyone suspected of involvement with the terrorist bombings. The crackdown ignited the long-existing tensions between the Sunni majority and the Shi'ite dominated government, and a nationwide uprising occurred in Sunni-majority population centres. Islamic extremist organisations briskly exploited the situation to hijack the uprising. The uprising in Irvadistan prompted protests and later destabilised its sectarian neighbours in Kraq and subsequently Parsi‎.

By 29 June 2012, Front for Liberation and Jihad joined other Sunni insurgent groups to form the Unified Revolutionary Command, which proclaimed the formation of the Islamic Emirate of Irvadistan (IEI). During which time, jihadi groups in Kraq affiliated with the Islamic Emirate, experienced rapid growth and expansion - establishing a large presence in southern and western Kraq. In 2013, Islamists in Kraq and Irvadistan made huge gains against the Hussein and Kamel regimes. In Kraq, jihadists affiliated with the Islamic Emirate fell out with the main opposition group; Free Kraqi Army, after a bitter power struggle between the various groups in mid-2014.

On 18 January 2015, the Islamic Courts and Emirate declared the areas they occupied in Kraq and Irvadistan as a new unified Islamic state, renaming itself simply the Caliphate. This came after the Islamic Courts had suffered heavy defeats in the wake of foreign intervention in the conflict in Kraq. The Caliphate has gained prominence for successfully capturing and defending territory despite the intervention of a number of countries, many of whom boast modern militaries.

The Caliphate has become notorious for human rights abuses, use of chemical weapons, mass executions posted in internet videos, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing on the largest scale since the Second Great War. The group has been designated as a terrorist organisation by most of Esquarium.

History

Irvadistan

Front for Liberation and Jihad (2006-2012)

Emirate (2012-2015)

Kraq

Defenders of Islam (1992-2011)

Organization of Jihad's Base in Kraq (2011-2014)

Union of Islamic Courts (2014-2015)

Calipahte (2015-present)

Defeat at Sadus City

Caliphate Summer offensive in Irvadistan (July 2015)

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The military situation in Irvadistan following the offensive

On the 5th of July 2015, forces of The Caliphate began a major offensive in central Irvadistan against forces loyal to the Irvadi Government. The offensive came one month after The Caliphate's defeat in Sadus City.

Caliphate forces attacked and captured several cities and towns in addition to their surrounding settlements, beginning with an attack on El Qata on the 5 July, followed by an encirclement of the city of Huwayyan, the provincial capital. While Huwayyan was encircled by 13 July, Government forces and affiliated militia continued to control the city until 20 July, and sporadic fighting continues despite the city being under Caliphate occupation. Government forces attempted a counter attack on 21 July, but the operation was declared a failure four days later due to heavy losses.

By the 25th the Irvadi Government had lost almost all control over Central Irvadistan. The offensive brought Caliphate forces less than 20 miles from Qufeira, the capital of the Irvadi Government. This triggered a major security crisis for the regime as the capital, formerly safe from rebel forces, was now vulnerable. On 28 July, the Irvadi Government announced an evacuation plan of the capital for non-combatants, and recommended that foreign ambassadors be relocated.

Resurgent Caliphate Advances in Kraq

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Popular Mobilisation Defence Brigades fighters during operations in Al-Jergia.

On June 25, 2015, the Caliphate launched a major offensive to retake the city of Al-Jergia from government forces in Kraq. The offensive coincided with an similar offensive launched in Irvadistan.

Offensive began with a wave of mostly suicide attacks inside Al-Jergia targeting mostly Lutheran Catholics; which left scores dead. Between 28 June and 3 July, the Caliphate intensively shelled government positions outside Al-Jegria and launched a number of attacks from the surrounding villages. The attacks were repelled, with the Kraqi Ground Force reportedly destroying dozens armored vehicles and killing several dozen Islamist fighters. The following week, the Caliphate launched another wave of attacks on the government position, firing close to 600 shells and rockets, while a dozen suicide car bombers were detonated at government positions.

The bombardment was followed up by an immediate ground assault of government positions. By 6 July, Caliphate fighters broke through into Al-Jergia, establishing a land bridge with the Caliphate enclave inside the city. According to the KOHR, the fighting had led to the death of at least 45 rebels and 76 government fighters, as well as over 100 civilians. Between the 7th and 10th of July, the Protectors of Islam began to pour reinforcements into Al-Jergia, in preparation for a much larger offensive to seize the city.

On 11 July, the Caliphate launched an attack on the Al-Jergia-Rarat Takaran highway (the main government supply route between Al-Jergia and Rarat Takaran), after detonating six VBIED's, and captured several kilometres of the road. This was simultaneously followed up by a major assault on suburbs of Al-Jergia city. The jihadists quickly captured huge parts of the city from the government, who called in airstrikes by the Aininian and Koy Air Forces. The Republican Guard was immediately sent in save the city from the jihadi, resulting in clashes raging between the 11th and 23rd July 2015.

On 25 July, in the north and south of Al-Jergia, the Caliphate launched an offensive aimed at surrounding the city. Manned by poorly armed units of the Popular Mobilisation Defence Brigades, the Caliphate affiliated Mujahideen Brigades made swift territorial gains and by the end of July, had almost completely surrounded Al-Jergia. With government forces under pressure by rebel gains in Jalallahar, Major General Issam al Nahyan was ordered to pull his forcing from the city and on 2 August, a general retreat was initiated. By 8th August, all pro-government fighters and over 100,000 civilians had been evacuated from the city.

Ankoreni intervention and decline in Irvadistan

Ideology

The Caliphate ascribes to Salafism, a ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam. The group champions Salafi jihadism, a literalist, strict and puritanical approach to Islam, which espouses offensive jihad against those they deem to be enemies of Islam as the legitimate expression of "true" Islam. The organisation aims for the return to the early days of Islam. Members also seek to restore a caliphate governed by strict Salafist doctrine and follow a radical interpretation of Islam - promoting religious violence against those who don't agree with their interpretation; regarding them as infidels or apostates.

One major difference between the Caliphate and other Islamists movements in Esquarium, is its heavy emphasis placed upon eschatology and apocalypticism. Its members believe that they will defeat an army sent by the Lutheran Catholic Church to destroy Islam, which will be imminently followed by the arrival of the Mahdi.

Finances

An Irvadi Police officer picking up a bag of opium inside a house of a suspected Caliphate fighter.

The Caliphate utilities a large and varied selection of methods to secure funding to finance its operations. An OEN report published in January 2015 listed it's primary sources of income as

  • illicit proceeds from the occupation of territory (including control of banks, oil and gas reservoirs, taxation, extortion, and robbery of economic assets);
  • donations from overseas supporters, including through non-profit organisations;
  • material support brought from foreign fighters;
  • kidnappings for ransom;
  • fundraising through social media and other modern communications networks;
  • illegal drugs production and trafficking

Selling oil from oilfields captured by the Caliphate in Irvadistan and Kraq is believed to earned the group in tens of millions of USDs. One counter-terrorism expert estimates that the Caliphate earns between 1-3 million a day from the export of black market oil, with most of it being sold illegally in Samchania and West Nautarya. Another major source of revenue for the Caliphate is the sales of ancient artifacts; with a number of important cultural and religious sites are under the group's control. The CIA estimates that the group has generated hundreds of millions of USDs from the sale of artifacts such as tablets, manuscripts, and cuneiforms.

The Caliphate also generates revenue through taxation, extortion, bank robbing and looting. A lesser known source of income for the Caliphate is through production and trafficking of illegal drugs; often trafficking drugs - such as Irvadi heroin - through its territory. Often forcing established drug traders and smugglers to cooperate with the group.

Governance & Territorial claims

The Caliphate is a self-proclaimed Caliphate led and run by Caliph Ebrahim Ridha Ahmad - who is considered by the group's supporters, as the political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire Muslim community in Esquarium. There are three deputy leaders, Faiz I'timad Ahmad for Irvadistan, Usman Shad Darzi for Kraq, and 12 local governors in the three countries. The Council of Elders acts as the groups legislature and operates the group's social and public services such as repairing roads, building religious schools and maintaining the electricity supply.

Beneath the leaders are hundreds of Shura councils of finance, leadership, military matters, legal matters—including decisions on executions—foreign fighters' assistance, security, intelligence and media. In addition, a Shura council has the task of ensuring that all decisions made by the governors and councils comply with the group's interpretation of sharia law.

Irvadi Province

In Irvadistan, the Caliphate uses existing Governorate (provincial) boundaries to subdivide its conquered and claimed territory; generally calling these divisions as wilayah or provinces depending on which faction of the Caliphate is in charge. After conquering Irvadistan, the group is expected to divide the territory it controls to create new provinces.

Kraqi Province

Similar to Irvadistan, the Caliphate subdivided Kraq into the country's preexisting provincial boundaries. However in March 2015, the Caliphate announced that it had divided Kraq into the country's four historical tribal regions: Wilayat Umayyad, Wilayat Nedina, and Wilayat Eastern Orukia, and Wilayat Southern Orukia.

Nautaryan Province

In March 2015, Caliph Ahmad released an audio-recording declaring the expansion of the Caliphate into Nautarya, announcing the creation of wilayat Nautarya or Nautarya province, and demanding all local jihadist groups swear bay'at (allegiance) to the Caliphate or become nullified. According to sources close to the Council of Elders, the group will divide Nautarya into the provincial boundaries of pre-colonial Nautarya.

Human rights abuses

Christian refugees in eastern Irvadistan

The OEN describes the Caliphate has being the "worst violator of Human rights by a non-state actor in Esquarium, with mass atrocities, executions and war crimes being committed on a daily basis." According to the Director-General of the Esquarian Human Rights Monitor Caliphate affiliated groups have been responsible for the execution of at least 8,500 Irvadi and Kraqi soldiers in 2014 alone. Harold Brown, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Esquarian Nations, said that the group is performing "the largest and most widespread genocide of ethnic and religious minorities in Nautasian history".

The Caliphate has become infamous for its persecution of ethnic and religious minorities living in areas it controls - often forcing non-Muslims to convert to Islam using death threats, torture, and mutilation. The group directs its persecution against Shia and Alawite Muslims, Assyrians, Christians, Yazidis, and Druze. In Caliphate-controlled areas, the group actively perpetuates and institutionalises sexual violence, including forced marriages, sexual abuse, and enslavement of non-Muslims, targeting predominantly Christian and Yazidi women. The group justifies the sexual abuse and enslavement of non-Muslim women as a legitimate form of holy war. The plight of Christians in particular has compelled several Christian-major nations to intervene into the Caliphate Uprising.

In addition to its persecution of minorities, the Caliphate treats Sunnis civilians living in areas under its control brutally; enforcing a harsh interpretation of sharia law on towns and cities under its control. The Caliphate has been responsible for carrying thousands of executions of both men and women for various "crimes" including consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, homosexuality, adultery, and watching pornography to name a few. To enforce sharia law, the group has established a religious police in all major settlements under its domination.

Other Human rights abuses include the recruitment of child soldiers - voluntarily and forcibly - mass beheadings and executions of civilians and combatants, the use of chemical weapons, conscription of locals, and the cultural cleansing of Irvadistan and Kraq via the destruction cultural heritage sites in all three countries.

Armed Wing

A West Nautaryan Caliphate fighter in Kraq, March 2015.

The Caliphate is the largest and most powerful terrorist organisation in modern-day Esquarium, boosting a total troop strength of 1.1- 1.2 million fighters, supported by vast amounts of armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, main battle tanks, and military aircraft. Despite being portrayed in the media as an singular, centralised fighting force, the military forces of the Caliphate aren't a unified, but rather a collection of armed groups who have pledge allegiance to the Caliphate and are under the overall direction of the Unified Revolutionary Command.

The Caliphate utilises a number of different military strategies, at various times and in various places, to overcome enemy forces. The group is most notorious for its use of conventional warfare against the Irvadi and Kraqi government and rebel units. However, Caliphate commonly carries out unconventional attacks including car bombs, suicide attacks, targeting of checkpoints, assassination of political and military figures, targeting (destruction/killing) of pro-government media stations and personnel.

Propaganda and social media

The Caliphate operates dozens of media outlets, the biggest being Al Akhbar, which regularly releases propaganda videos showing the Caliphate operations, hostages, and statements from members in Arabic. Since the merger of the Islamic Courts and the Islamic Emirate in January 2015, the Caliphate has sought to expand its media presence. In February 2015, the group proclaimed the establishment the Al-Khilafa Media Centre which produces CDs, DVDs, posters, pamphlets, and web-related propaganda products and official statements. Since the group's expansion into the Nautaryans and Saha, the Al-Khilafa Media Centre has set up subsides media departments producing material in Cortoguayan, English, French, Luziycan, Michillian, Namorese, Pavon, and Vyvlander.

From April 2015, al-Khilafa began releasing a digital magazine called Luqya, in 25 different languages; its name is taken from the Luqya, Irvadistan's second largest city. According to the magazine, its name honours the Conquest of Luqya, in which after it's fall, the Emirate proclaimed itself to be an Islamic State and the sole legitimate government of Irvadistan. In the same month, the group announced the founding of Al-Manar, a radio network which airs bulletins in 20 different languages and provides coverage of the group's activities in Irvadistan, Kraq and Parsi.

Designation as a terrorist organisation

The Caliphate has been branded a terrorist organisation by the following governments and international organisations:

Nation Terrorist group? Details
 Arkiasis Yes
 Ceresnia Yes The Caliphate has been classed by Ceresnia as a terrorist organization since its formation, with President Pavel Perak stating in 2016 that 'he will not rest until every islamist in Nautisia and beyond dies'.
 Irvadistan Yes
 Katranjiev Yes
 Lanos Yes
 Luziyca Yes Luziyca designated The Caliphate and its affiliated organizations as terrorist groups since its formation.
 Koyro Yes The State of Koyro officially listed the Caliphate as a "hostile non-state organisation" after its formation in 2015. Prior to the formation of the Caliphate, Koyro recognised both the Islamic Emirate and Union of Islamic Courts as such organisations, as well as subordinate groups, such as the Front for Liberation and Jihad.
 Kraq Yes Kraq officially listed the Caliphate as a terrorist organisation shortly after its formation in 2015. Previously, Kraq listed both the Islamic Emirate and the Islamic Courts as terrorist organisations.
 Pavonistade Yes The Pavonistadian Government recognizes the Caliphate as a terrorist organization since its formation.
 Vjaarland Yes The Caliphate has been designated as a terrorist group on the Vjaarlandic government's Hostile Organizations List since its inception in 2015. Providing material aid to the organization is a criminal offense under Vjaarlandic law, and the group is subject to asset seizure by the Ministry of Finance. Vjaarland has committed military forces to both Kraq and Irvadistan to help combat the Caliphate.
 Vyvland Yes Vyvland classes the Caliphate as a terrorist organisation. President Pamela Oegelkeper said in 2015 that the Caliphate was 'extremely worrying'. Vyvland has pledged significant amounts of humanitarian support and may soon send military support to Irvadistan, its former colony.
 West Cedarbrook Yes Following Caliphate activity in Saha, the West Cedarbrook Senate declared The Caliphate a terrorist organization on April 9, 2015. There has been no Caliphate activity in West Cedarbrook. Following it's designation, border control and the DIO implemented unspecified security measures to prevent infiltration into the Kramden. Domestic adherents of the Calphate are subject to the death penalty under treason laws, foreigners are subject to extradition or other measures under espionage laws.