The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has changed its name to Islamic State (IS) and declared itself a caliphate. IS has made gains in Iraq since they captured Mosul and has had jihadists from other groups swear allegiance to them. Al Qaeda never went as far as to asset a caliphate, and in their ambitions IS may have surpassed Al Qaeda and if the global community hasn’t already, it is time to sit up and pay attention.

For ideological jihadists, the caliphate is the ultimate aim, and IS has come closest to realising that vision. There exists a certain amount of nostalgia for the caliphate, and this publicity stunt will help IS recruit young radicals from all over the globe as well garner some conservative popular support from Muslim countries including Pakistan. Numbers of Muslim youth from the US, UK, the Sinai, Jordan, Gaza and Indonesia have been reported to have traveled to Iraq and Syria to take up the IS cause as well as fight against the Syrian government.

The Iraqi government’s pleas for international intervention may be helped by the declaration of a caliphate. What is the international community going to do? The US has been on the fence about what to do with Iraq; will they let the situation further escalate? Russia already has its plane in Iraq with Syrian support. The only counter to ISIS is regional. Turkey won’t support the IS ideology and just had its diplomats kidnapped in Mosul. Iran is already countering IS and is sick of radial Sunnism. Iran doesn’t want to lose an ally in Baghdad that is more important than even Assad in Syria. They are reportedly airlifting over a hundred tons of supplies to Baghdad daily, and forces have been deployed weeks ago. Yet, beyond the Middle East, in South Asia, in Africa and even East Asia, Muslims may actually agree with the Islamic State’s call to arms.

Things are different this time around. IS doesn’t want to destroy the US like Al Qaeda; it wants to carve out a state, and break territorial boundaries constructed by colonial rule. It wants to break the borders of Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon and free Palestine. And by state, it means Caliphate. The modern nation state and its trappings hold no importance for IS. IS has assets in the low billions and a very efficient bureaucratic governing structure. It would not have made such a statement, if it wasn’t ready for a backlash form opposing jihadist groups as well as international players.