The Levant, the inflamed kidney on the map above, calls to mind the novels of brilliant Eric Ambler, especially The Mask of Dimitrios, in which a Dutch writer becomes addicted to the myster of a Levantine arch-criminal who goes by the name of Dimitrios Makropolous whom the Turkish police has been killed when a body washes ashore on a beach in Istanbul -whacking good read that.
Earlier, GK Chesterton had made waves in his critique of British moral equivalency when the Crown went positively politically correct about post-TE Lawrence Arabia and British Petroleum's lust for the black stuff under the Saudi sands. Chesterton reminded post-Somme Brits that Islam was not a religion of peace and Arabs were not willing to devotees of playing up for the old school at all, a'tall. In fact from Hegira to this day, Muslim missionary work consists in beheading infidels of all races, creeds and colors; especially the 'stiif-necked' people who live in the Levant - Jews. Thus, “A good Moslem king was one who was strict in religion, valiant in battle, just in giving judgment among his people, but not one who had the slightest objection in international matters to removing his neighbour’s landmark.” and this, “…but out of the desert, from the dry places and the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone.” – The Romance of Orthodoxy,
The Levant is not again a Muslim Caliphate, yet. You see the Levant was largely known as Roman Syria for seven centuries. When the Prophet died, in 633, his father-in-law Abu Bakr continued the sword slashing missionary work and conquered the very week Byzantine Roman Syrian Christians and that was the Caliphate.
Assyrian Christians, Chaldean Catholics and Jews were put to sword.
As the world turned, Crusades dominated the Middle Ages and the Crescent Moon and the Cross exchanged victories and defeats. The Levant was a crossroad of cultures. Greek manuscripts were exchanged for Norman armor and Frankish knights started seeing Muslim doctors who cleaned wounds rather than chop off limbs.Norman, Frankish, Teutonic,, Neapolitan, Jewish, Greek and Arab folks exchanged goods and ideas, until the medium exchange rates called for the next jihad, or Crusade.
The mix of people out of proximity and natural gender differences of necessity mingled DNA. The Levant got more exotic - inclusive if you will - and always mysterious.
The Levant is the latest goal of ISISL, formerly known as ISIS. The acronym will lengthen in accordance to the goals begun by the Willie Loman of Mecca on 11 February 624.