Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Vivian Ibrahim

Relational Format



On June 29, 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi officially declared the Islamic State in the Sham (ISIS) as an Islamic Caliphate, and consequently renamed his organization the Islamic State (IS). Over the course of 2014, the IS rose to garner significant international attention, which heightened following direct US military intervention in August 2014 in the form of airstrikes against the IS's targets located in Iraq. Determining if the IS qualifies as a state, from a US perspective, holds significant ramifications for future military and diplomatic interactions with this organization. This analysis brings to light the ongoing issues with appropriately and objectively defining statehood. Additionally, it demonstrates shortcomings in US military doctrine on fighting state and non-state actors on both strategic and tactical levels. Examining the IS's political, military and economic activities from October 2006 to August 2014 serves the dual purpose of evaluating how closely the IS resembles a state and, determining its potential for becoming a state in the future.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Included in

History Commons



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