Western politicians have been convinced that using the term Daesh is more offensive to ISIS for a couple of absurd reasons that will be discussed in this piece. However, it should be said right from the onset that the West has become shameless in the way it flaunts its ignorance – once a region of the Illuminati (Enlightenment), today a region of Obscurantism.
Daesh is an Arabic acronym for ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām, that is, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – or as the acronym ISIS states. The word al-Dawla means dynasty or state; and this is very important to bear in mind when we read a couple of arguments that pretend to explain why Daesh is “more offensive” than ISIS.
I have a lot of sympathy with that view. Of course, our interlocutors in the Gulf and our coalition allies refer to it as Daesh, and as the Prime Minister reported on Monday, we have now got the BBC to move away from calling it any kind of state - Michael Fallon, British Minister of Defence
I have referred to it in shorthand as Isil, and it may be too late to replace 'Isil' with 'Daesh', but the hon. Lady is right to say that we need to reflect on it and not to confer any further legitimacy on Isil. - idem
Daesh hates being referred to by this term and what they don't like has an instinctive appeal to me. - PM Tony Abbott
These statements are laughable. Of course, Arabic speaking people will call ISIS “Daesh” (an Arabic acronym); of course the BBC will call them IS (the Islamic State) because not only the network sympathises with all things Islamic but also cause that's what the D in Daesh means (al-Dawah = state). Of course, we mustn't grant them any legitimacy but replacing an English acronym with an Arabic one is not how the terrorist group will be delegitimised, and besides whomever made such a proposal should have her/his affairs looked into because there is an interesting twist to such a suggestion (one that will be discussed below). And no, Daesh doesn't hate being referred to by the this term, but the group may find it counter-productive when they know most westerners are ignorant when it comes to Middle East languages (and I mean all of them, including Hebrew), so terms like ISIS are easier for propaganda and recruitment purposes near those who do not speak Arabic just yet.
ISIS, ISIL or IS?
If the West is so worried about delegitimising the Terrorist Group it should perhaps decide once and for all what al-Sham really means to them: Syria or the Levant?
If they use the term ISIS then they circumscribe the group to Iraq and Syria (much to the dislike of the Sykes-Picot advocates, i.e. the defenders of the Status Quo). Limiting their control to these two places through the verb is a much stronger delegitimisation weapon than making insidious semantic swaps. Restricting their operations to Iraq and Syria, while uniting (if needed be with Russia) to effectively fight them could prove to be more productive.
If they use the term ISIL they are then empowering the group because not only are they acknowledging their might but they are also legitimising their expansionist goals of establishing a state in Iraq and in the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and the Gaza Strip [i.e. Palestinian Statelet]). So when the American President, and others, employ the term “ISIL” they give the impression they are experiencing a Lapsus Linguae, wishing (deep down) those terrorists would get to allies such as Israel and Jordan.
If they use the term IS they then broaden their legitimacy to the rest of the world. In simpler words, they legitimise global jihad (which wouldn't be so awkward since they have already legitimised one of its many nodes – the Palestinian Cause). So when the BBC is criticised by some for using the term IS, there's a point to it but then those critics ruin everything by replacing the term with an even more empowering acronym.
Using the term Daesh is like finally acknowledging, in Arabic, the power of the Terrorist Group in question. If folks thought that using English acronyms legitimised the organisation, using the Arabic acronym is like a submission to the enemy and his ways. Thus, the group is actually very happy that western politicians finally get it and help them in their free promo near young recruits to whom they say something like “Bismill'ah, the Kufar are being brought down to their knees and Alhamdulillah for the good work of our infiltrated brothers and sisters who managed to make them recognise Islam as being the supreme culture, Arabic as the supreme language, and Daesh as the Khilafa: Allah Hu Akbar!”
(Image: Palmyra, Syria - Google Images)
[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]