The Trump administration has scuttled former President Barack Obama’s preferred acronym for the Islamic State terrorist group in favor of the name most people have been using.
Pentagon officials will now use ISIS instead of ISIL to refer to the terror army. For several years, Obama, then-Secretary of State John Kerry, and others in his administration were virtually the only people on earth who used the term ISIL.
“We have officially switched to ISIS,” said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. “They all mean the same thing.”
Via Fox News:
Davis said ISIS already had been used unofficially in the past inside the Pentagon because it was the “easiest to understand.”
While “ISIS” has been widely accepted for years as the common acronym for the Islamic State, then-Secretary of State John Kerry and others in the Obama administration insisted for years on using “ISIL” or “Daesh,” the acronym formed using Arabic letters to spell Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The Pentagon released a memorandum Friday afternoon dated Feb. 13 outlining the official change.
“We view ISIS, ISIL and Da’esh as interchangeable terms for the same thing. ISIS is the term most known and understood by the American public, and it is what our leadership uses. This memo simply aligns our terminology,” Davis said in a statement attached to the memo.
According to CNN, Obama stuck with ISIL, which stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” because the group has plans of conquest beyond Iraq and Syria and it was considered a more accurate translation of the group’s name.
The ‘L’ stands for Levant, which is a translation of “al-Sham” — the word the group uses to refer to itself, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen noted when speaking about the term during Obama’s tenure.“But the Levant is a relatively obscure word in English — in English, we refer to Syria. Of course, the Levant is larger than Syria,” Bergen said.Al-Sham is a reference to a region that stretches from Turkey through Syria to Egypt and includes the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Lebanon, according to multiple Syria experts.
CNN reported that there has been a concerted effort at the Pentagon since Trump’s election to use ISIS more in official statements and press releases. The Pentagon released a memorandum Friday afternoon outlining the official change.