The debate over what to call the terror group trying to set up a state in Iraq and Syria just got more complicated.
Army Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of the newly-created task force to defeat the terror group, repeatedly used the Arabic acronym “DAESH” at a Pentagon news briefing Thursday.
“DAESH” stands for al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or “the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham,” with “Sham’ being an Arabic term for Syria.
“DAESH” is also similar to the verb “Das,” meaning to crush underfoot or to tread upon, Terry said. Arab opponents of the Islamic State have been using the derogatory term “Daeshi” to refer to the terrorists, meaning the bigots who try to impose their will on others. The terror group has threatened to cut out the tongues of those who call them “Daeshi,” according to the BBC.
At his news briefing, Terry said that Arab state partners in the coalition against the terrorists dislike the use by the U.S. of the acronym “ISIL,” for Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant. The Arab partners feel that by using the term ISIL, “you legitimize them,” Terry said.
“They feel strongly we should not be doing that.”
The White House, the State Department and the Pentagon have been using the term ISIL, and Pentagon officials said there were no plans to change, although Secretary of State John Kerry recently gave “DAESH” a test run, using the term more than 15 times in a news briefing.
The group began as al Qaeda in Iraq, then became known as ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and ISIL, and then declared themselves the “Islamic State (IS).” Some news organizations have been using the acronym “IS,” while others, including Military.com, have used “ISIS.”
Terry commands a force that has itself acquired a new acronym – Combined Joint Task Force—Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).