In the last few years we’re witnessing a new phase in the phenomenon of Jihaidism, the shift from terrorist organizations to the embryos of new states. There was a precedent, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan held by the Taliban between 1996 and 2001. A number of small and not-so-small group tried to stage up coup d’etat in various countries in Africa and Asia. In my opinion, there is a red line that connect the various “islamic” states, nowadays under the resonant label “caliphate”.
There’s a difference between the words “emirate” and “caliphate”. It’s not a simple semiotic matter. When we talk about an emirate we’re referring to a state ruled by a central authority, named emir, and that implies a dynasty, a succession of power based on a bloodline. Think about Saudi Arabia, it’s a good example. On the other hand a caliphate implies a leadership that is both political and religious, the caliph claims a direct descendent from the prophet Muhammad, imposing the full weight of religion on its population.