Religion and Politics

Which Is It: ISIS, ISIL, or IS?

Maybe you’ve noticed that President Obama prefers to call the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) by the alternate name of ISIL (which means the Islamic State in the Levant). So, what’s the difference?

Actually, there’s a big difference. ISIS is a much more accurate description of the present status of the terrorist army because they currently control only a section of territory which overlaps the borders of Iraq and Syria. Surprisingly, this comprises a significant portion of the ancient land of Assyria, including its ancient capital city which continues to go by the name of Nineveh. Interestingly, one of the terrorists’ first acts after taking control of Nineveh was to destroy the memorial to the reluctant prophet Jonah who was sent by God to warn the ancient city of its impending destruction. Upon ancient Nineveh’s repentance, however, God relented in His judgment and let them continue a while longer. The destruction of Jonah’s memorial may have been intended to be a jab at Israel and Judaism, but it was actually a poke in God’s eye which He will most definitely avenge in His own good time.

The name of ISIL, on the other hand, reflects what ISIS hopes to control eventually. The Levant is a wide swath of territory which begins at the southeastern border of Turkey and arcs eastward, southward, westward and northward to envelope the Middle East along the Mediterranean coast, including the nation of Israel. It is noteworthy that this is territory which the ancient nation of Assyria controlled and which the ancient Ottoman Empire also controlled. A quick search of Google Images using the word Levant will reveal several pages of map images which reveal this fact. Following is one I’ve linked to from World Net Daily’s site which they evidently obtained from’s blog.

The Levant

So, why does President Obama and his cabinet and state department insist on calling it ISIL? That’s a good question. Are they attempting to flatter this terrorist group in order to try and curry favor with them or are they secretly in support of ISIS’ goal of controlling all of this territory? Neither of these possibilities is very comforting to supporters of Israel, since neither naïveté nor treachery in this case is a benefit to Israel. Frankly, I can’t be sure which one of these possibilities to suspect, since I can’t possibly know what’s in President Obama’s heart, but I find it exceptionally disturbing that he insists on using a name for a terrorist group which both caters to their aspirations and ignores Israel’s place in the region.

Moreover, he refuses to call it the Islamic State (or IS) either, which is what they prefer to call themselves lately, because he says it is neither Islamic nor a state. Just what does he think the IS in ISIL stands for then: International Station? I just have to shake my head in disbelief.

With my face toward Heaven I ask, “How long, O Lord, before You rapture Your Church and visit Your wrath on the wicked of this earth?” Right now would be a very good time to call us all home!

To expand your reading on this topic with another perspective, read World Net Daily’s article, “ISIS VS. ISIL: WHY OBAMA STANDS ALONE”. I found RoseAnn Salantiri’s quote in this article particularly intriguing, and I strongly recommend you read her entire article for the full details (you will need to search the page for “ISIS v. ISIL Does it matter?” to find the article). You might also consider reading “THE CODED MESSAGE OBAMA DELIVERS WHEN HE SAYS ISIL INSTEAD OF ISIS”. As always, I welcome your comments below.