It’s Daesh. You read right. Oklahoma City’s KOCO explains that the new name is an acronym for “al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham.”
Army Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force, said during a press briefing:
It’s a term that our partners in the Gulf use and in fact it speaks to a name that’s very close to ISIL in Arabic and it also speaks to another name that means ‘to crush underneath your foot.’
Sounds about right. He added:
Our partners — at least the ones that I work with — ask us to use that because they feel that if you use ‘ISIL’ you will legitimize a self-declared caliphate, and it actually — they feel pretty strongly that we should not be doing that.
The article notes that Terry is not the first high-ranking official to use the term, adding that Vietnam War hero and current Secretary of State John Kerry used it while testifying at a hearing on Capitol Hill last week. Still there are holdouts. Among them is Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who continues to use “ISIL” to refer to the group.
Back in August, the question was raised in this space of why the Obama administration prefers “ISIL” to the more commonly used “ISIS.” As my partner in crime, J.E. Dyer, pointed in the comments section:
What the Obama administration is doing by saying “Levant” is papering over the “al-Sham” part of ISIS. The “al-Sham” reference is Islamic and historical, and it clearly indicates an intention on ISIS’s part to resurrect a political condition from 1100 years ago: the existence of a caliphate in “al-Sham,” the land of the left hand from the perspective of someone in Mecca, facing East.
Based on this, it seems as though Daesh, the last two letters of which are shorthand for “al-Sham,” as noted earlier, is a step in the wrong direction — which fits in perfectly with this administration’s foreign policy.