"The Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS, or the Arabic acronym Da'esh) is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, has adherents in several other countries, and disrupts regional and international security with violence and terrorism. A series of terrorist attacks attributed to the group outside of Iraq and Syria has demonstrated IS supporters' ability to threaten societies in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the United States, including in countries with sophisticated and capable intelligence and security forces. The U.S.-led campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State organization in Iraq and Syria (IS, aka ISIL/ISIS or the Arabic acronym Da'esh) appears to be entering a new phase in early 2016, as Administration officials implement planned changes in military strategy and tactics, pursue new diplomatic and coalition building initiatives, and consider alternative proposals. The conflicts in Iraq and Syria remain focal points in this regard, but a series of terrorist attacks inspired or directed by the Islamic State have claimed hundreds of lives on four continents since November 2015, creating a more global sense of urgency about combatting the group and reversing its spread. […] This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discussing its goals, operations, and affiliates, as well as analyzing related U.S. legislative and policy debates."
CRS Report for Congress, R43612
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html