Nathaly Meza
Geo 350 Key Issue Paper
Professor Ritz

Urban social movements can be seen in many different perspectives it is only a matter of
what side of the issues you are on. The urban social movement I have researched is a very
famous and controversial group who are now known worldwide. This specific urban social
movement has evolved from a series of other social movements. This group is best recognized
under the name of “ISIS” or in Arabic “ISIL”. The locations of where this group is found are in
many locations, not just one specific place; it is known to be ranging from Northern Syria to
Central Iraq. According to The Modern World System these countries are considered countries of
the Periphery. To authorities and many people today this specific urban social movement is being
recognized as Terrorism and not a movement.
Throughout history there have been thousands of people who have been left with no other
alternative but to rebel against their central government. A term that may best describe what is
happening in these Middle Eastern countries is resistance to “Globalization” this refers to the


increasing political, economic and cultural interconnectedness of different places around the
world. Evidence of this occurring in these countries are the constant political conflicts going on.
In countries like Iraq and Syria were local people are forced to flee because of the invasion of
foreign countries. That is an example of a push factor that is causing massive migrations from
this countries that can have a very negative impact in their economies. The Modern World
System describes Periphery countries as “countries who have been politically and economically
dominated by core countries these include overseas colonies that Europeans ruled over and from
which they extracted wealth, usually in the form of raw materials.” The countries in which this
Urban Social group emerged from are rich in Oil a raw material known to generate a lot of
wealth. There is no surprise that European and Western countries would try to intervene and gain
some sort of profit from these developing Periphery countries. But,, I progress never in the
history of time have we encountered a group who is hell bent on not only going against their
central government and a targeted population based on religion and allies but, other nation’s
governments as well. This movement was created due to the fact that their countries were being
invaded by Western countries. But, before we can come to understand this Middle Eastern urban
social movement we must first understand the religion they find themselves barricaded behind
of. The Islam religion surged in the Middle East this specific religion was broken down into two
sectors after a dispute about a religious figure “Prophet Muhammad” and who would lead the
Muslim community after his death. Although both branches share very similar religious beliefs
they are different in many ways. For example, according to an article BBC World News “ Sunni
Muslims regard themselves as the orthodox and traditionalist branch of Islam…The Shia were a
political faction literally “Shiat Ali” or the party of Ali” (BBC NEWS 2014). The following map














The members of ISIS are part of the Sunnies one of the branches of Islam. They consider
themselves to be traditionalist. According to CNN ISIS are considered, “a radical anti Militant
group devoted to establishing an independent Islamic state in the Region”( Thompson, 2014).
There goals are very much clear they seek to place government authorities of their choosing and
isolate any type of Western like governing system. They also seek to establish a government
controlled by religion. Most definitely not a Democracy like the United States insists on
implementing. This is one of the major reasons why resistances of Western societies are present
in these specific regions because they reject Democracy. According to an Online Magazine
covering the Middle East, Isreal, the Arab World, South West Asia and Islamic Maghreb, ISIS
was developed in four stages stage one dated from 2004-2006 this was in the time of the
establishment of Al-Qaeda. During this time their goal was to be against American forces and


against the Shi’ite population. Stage two began in 2006-2011 this was the official beginning of
the Islamic State in Iraq ISI, they were under the network of Jihadi organizations that were also a
guerilla group campaigning against the U.S. and Shi’ite population. During this time the United
States made many efforts to weaken these groups with military forces and were successful to a
certain extent. The U.S. established a wise foreign policy that supported Sunni population and
were successful in gaining many allies. This lead to stage three 2012-2014 when American
Troops withdrew from Iraq ISI became very strong they were able create a branch in Syria as
soon as the Syrian civil war began. This group was able to take advantage of the situation in
Syria and gained great amounts of followers and members. They renamed their group in Syria “
Al-Nusra Front” which translates to support front. They had now become ISIS the Islamic State
in Iraq and Greater Syria. We find this group currently in stage four as of 2014 to present day.
They have now been able to overtake Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq and have taken over
eastern parts of Syria where they are currently setting up a governmental center in Al-Raqqah.
(Crethiplethi, 2014). The following is a map of the progression in Iraq of ISIS members and

Because ISIS is branch that was very much influenced by Al-Qaeda and many other
organization they have many founding fathers whom are considered their leaders although some


of them have already died. This Urban Social Movement has turned into one of the most brutal
and violent groups in history. They carry out many different ways of gaining territory in quick










According to CNN, they report that the current leader of ISIS goes by the name of AbuBakr al-Bagdadi he is their Commander and Chief. They had reported that ISIS is not only
aiming for territory but they are also aiming for Oil. They have now power over more than half
of Syria’s oil assets and oil fields in Iraq as well. The organization has lost little to no time to


profit from selling oil in the black market which is making them about three million a day
(Thompson, 2014).
Furthermore, it is now being said that in most recent events around the world such as the
attacks in Paris, France on November 13, 2015 this said group was responsible for said actions.
This group has carried out a series of thousands of horrible events throughout Iraq, Syria,
Borders of Turkey and Lebanon and now France. There is really no telling on whether this group
will be successful with the current threats being announced via video messages but, many
countries including ours the United States are taking extreme processions. There is no excuse
about what this group is doing around the world but, it comes to no surprise that a resistance to
globalization well always occur as long as the hierarchical distribution of wealth and power
continues to be the way it is today.

This map is a demonstration of the distribution of Muslims and their two branches in the Middle


This map is a demonstration of the ISIS group’s growth in power in the Middle East.

This table shows the type of attack methods being carried out by the group ISIS.
Detailed map showing areas under control of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. (n.d.). Retrieved November
20, 2015, from
Sunnis and Shia:Islam’s ancient schism-BBC News. (2014,june 20). Retrievied November
20,2015, from
Syria to U.S.: Don’t repeat ‘fiasco in Iraq’ with attacks against ISIS. (2014, September 23).
Retrieved November 19, 2015, from http:/’trepeatfiasco-in-iraq-with-attacks-against-isis/
The Historical Roots and Stages in the Development of ISIS. (2014). Retrieved November 20,


This chart shows the terrifying increase in ISIS killings this year. (2014,August 20). Retrieved
November 20, 2015, from
Thompson, N., Allen, Greene, R., & Torre, I. (2014, September 25). ISIS: Everything you need
to know about the rise of the militant group. Retrieved November 19, 2015, from