Why Obama And Other Politicians Refer To ISIS As Daesh

Reuters/Yuri Gripas

You may have heard the terrorist group widely referred to as ISIS called many other names, but why does Barack Obama and Francois Hollande keep using the term ‘Daesh’?

Well the answer is that like a bunch of schoolboys in their first rock band, the terrorist cell experimented with several names at first, and Daesh is one they have moved away from and now take offense to.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and ISIL is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. These acronyms are far simpler than Daesh in their translation, and their meaning is not as open to debate.

When the group originally accepted the term it was because it is an acronym of the militant’s proper Arabic name, al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham.

But as pointed out by the Boston Globe the term can also be interpreted as “a bigot who imposes his view on others.” They don’t very much like that tagline being associated with their cause, going so far as to threaten to cut out the tongue of anyone who uses it.

But there is another reason why Daesh is more appropriate. In using the word ‘State’ the group is attempting to legitimise its view that they are in fact a nation to be recognised, as opposed to a militant group.

So that is why in the aftermath of the attacks Hollande said: “It is an act of war that was waged by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, by Daesh, against France”. France will not legitimise the terrorist group.

The same was true of Obama at the G20 summit in Turkey.


It may seem like a an ineffective tool in the battle against terrorism, but nonetheless, it is a tool that is available to everyone.