[Ebook] ISIS Inside the Army of Terror By Michael Weiss – serv3.3pub.co.uk

[Ebook] ISIS Inside the Army of Terror By Michael Weiss – serv3.3pub.co.uk [Reading] ➶ ISIS Inside the Army of Terror Author Michael Weiss – Serv3.3pub.co.uk A revelatory look inside the world's most dangerous terrorist groupInitially dismissed by US President Barack Obama along with other fledgling terrorist groups as a “jayvee suad” compared to al ae A revelatory look the Army PDF/EPUB ¶ inside the world's most dangerous terrorist groupInitially dismissed by US President Barack Obama along with other fledgling terrorist groups as a “jayvee suad” compared to al aeda the Islamic State of Ira and Syria ISIS has shocked the world by conuering massive territories in both countries and promising to create a vast new Muslim caliphate that observes the strict dictates of Sharia law In ISIS Inside the Army of Terror American journalist Michael Weiss and Syrian analyst Hassan Hassan explain how these violent extremists evolved from a nearly defeated Irai insurgent group into a ISIS Inside PDF or jihadi army of international volunteers who behead Western hostages in slickly produced videos and have conuered territory eual to the size of Great Britain Beginning with the early days of Abu Musab al Zarawi the founder of ISIS’s first incarnation as “al aeda in Ira” Weiss and Hassan explain who the key players are—from their elusive leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi to the former Saddam Baathists in their ranks—where they come from how the movement has attracted both local and global support and where their financing comes from Political and military maneuvering by the United States Ira Iran Inside the Army eBook ´ and Syria have all fueled ISIS’s astonishing and explosive expansion Drawing on original interviews with former US military officials and current ISIS fighters the authors also reveal the internecine struggles within the movement itself as well as ISIS’s bloody hatred of Shiite Muslims which is generating another sectarian war in the region Just like the one the US thought it had stopped in in Ira Past is prologue and America’s legacy in the Middle East is sowing a new generation of terror.


10 thoughts on “ISIS Inside the Army of Terror

  1. Maru Kun Maru Kun says:

    My grandmother hated the Germans until the day she died Nothing I could say about the greatness of Bach or German regret over the war would make any difference I could sympathize with her view though given she had lived through the Blitz in East Ham and been bombed by the Germans on a daily basis for weeks on endSo maybe it was my Grandmother who made me think that the plans of US neo conservatives to bomb the Irais into a state of western democracy would never work Surely such bombing would do no than create a new generation of terrorists just like my grandmother would have been if Germany had won the war? She was a very strong minded woman Except that this next generation of terrorists would uite understandably be even radical and hate filled than the lastBut was I really clever enough to work all this out on my own? Or is my subconscious just tricking me into believing a certain expertise in international relations? Most of the western media supported Gulf War II but might there have been dissenting voices that I now remember as my own? Let’s take a lookBernie Sanders seems to have got it about right in this speech made the day after bombing commenced in Gulf War I “Despite the fact that we are now aligned with such Middle Eastern dictatorships such as Syria a terrorist dictatorship Saudi Arabia and Kuwait feudalistic dictatorships and Egypt a one party state that receives seven billion dollars in debt forgiveness to wage this war with us I believe that in the long run the action unleashed last night will go strongly against our interests in the Middle East Clearly the United States and allies will win this war but the death and destruction caused will in my opinion not be forgotten by the poor people of the Third World and the people of the Middle East in particular I fear that one day we will regret that decision and that we are in fact laying the ground work for and wars for years to come” Bernie goes to prove what we all knew already that he is the only US presidential candidate with any foresight or independent powers of analysis But can we find a accurate prediction of the outcome of Gulf War II?We can The best analysis comes from the widely read and well respected US Journal “The Onion” Here is what they had to say about Gulf War II a few days after military hostilities commenced “This war will not put an end to anti Americanism; it will fan the flames of hatred even higher And it will not lay the groundwork for the flourishing of democracy throughout the Mideast; it will harden the resolve of Arab states to drive out all Western ie US influenceIf you thought Osama bin Laden was bad just wait until the countless children who become orphaned by US bombs in the coming weeks are all grown up Do you think they will forget what country dropped the bombs that killed their parents? In 10 or 15 years we will look back fondly on the days when there were only a few thousand Middle Easterners dedicated to destroying the US and willing to die for the fundamentalist cause From this war a million bin Ladens will bloomAnd what exactly is our endgame here? Do we really believe that we can install Gen Tommy Franks as the ruler of Ira? Is our arrogance and hubris so great that we actually believe that a US provisional military regime will be welcomed with open arms by the Irai people? Democracy cannot possibly thrive under coercion To take over a country and impose one's own system of government without regard for the people of that country is the very antithesis of democracy And it is doomed to failA war against Ira is not only morally wrong it will be an unmitigated disaster” For the sake of balance The Onion included an opposing viewpoint in their article which was also the view promulgated by most of the mainstream media at the time namely “You're getting worked up over nothing Everything is going to be fine So just relax okay? You're really overreacting” Seriously though it’s a sad day for US journalism when an article in The Onion is a reliable source of analysis than the editorial columns of The New York TimesThe Onion was spot on and as an occasional reader I may have subconsciously adopted their view However it is still worth looking at the details of how the current disaster in the Syria and Ira developed to help assess how things may go in the future This work is an excellent starting point to understanding how events moved on from the days of Bush’s pathetic “Mission Accomplished” to the fulfillment of The Onion’s well thought out and tragically correct predictionDespite the somewhat lurid title “ISIS Inside the Army of Terror” is not sensationalist but rather a serious journalist work with a great deal of information about the early history of ISIS and its precursor groups in Syria and Ira The main actors in this story are the governments of Syria Ira and Iran Al aeda Sunni and Shi’ite communities across those countries and the various individuals opposing or acting in their nameThe main thesis of the book is illustrated by this diagram which recently appeared in The New York Times It is a diagram showing the distribution of Sunni Shi’ite and mixed areas of Baghdad in 2005 and 2007You will notice that in 2007 there are far fewer mixed areas and far areas that are purely Sunni or Shi’ite This diagram is evidence of the increasing sectarian split between Sunni and Shi’ite that was first broken open by the coalition invasion and US attempts at regime change This split which is fundamentally a political rather than a religious divide; religion plays a very secondary role here was fed by the favoritism and patronage of al Maliki the first post invasion Prime Minister of Ira and by the meddling of other Shi’ite sponsors Assad in Syria and Iran all made possible by the invasion Based on this book I would tag al Maliki as a rarely recognised villain in this story for his Shi’ite partisanship and for his betrayal of the Sunni moslems who did try and stand up to extremismThe Sunni Shi’ite sectarian split started to show signs of widening to a dangerous level with the first round of democratic elections in Ira which were boycotted by most of the Sunni population amid concerns that the majority Shi’ite government once elected would be biased against the Sunni This concern seem to have been borne out in practiceIn this early post invasion period the main activity of the founders of ISIS was shit stirring Al aeda in Ira at that time behaved like the younger kids in a playground looking for attention while the bigger boys are having a fight Tragically their shit stirring was very successful promoting the sectarian split through the bombing of important Shi’ite shrines and Irai government targets and helping raise their profile as a possible Sunni opposition The heroic but ultimately tragic people who emerged in this period were the Sunni individuals who responded to reuests from the US occupiers to oppose the al aeda style terrorist groups and help enforce law and order in the Sunni areas mainly in the provinces to the west of Baghdad extending to the Syrian and Jordanian borders Governments of countries that participated in Gulf War II have betrayed these people and for that we should truly feel shame and regretBy this time much of the Sunni population in Ira was sick and tired of al aeda and other assorted jihadis who were often foreign running around setting bombs or dictating to them in their homes The Sunni groups that stood up to the extremists were the main reason for the success of the US “surge”; extra US troops had far less to do with it However these people were let down by al Maliki’s government as soon as the US forces departed They received no support so were exposed to revenge from the terrorist groups; their wages were unpaid; they were abandoned In due course they would be victims of ISIS or if they were lucky end up joining themIran played and must continue to play a key role in the crisis mainly through supporting Shi’ite groups including the Irai government under al Maliki and the Shi’ite Syrian state under Assad This support comes from mainly from Iran sponsored proxy groups such as Hizbollah or HamasMy reading of Assad from the book is that he is one part ruthless dictator to nine parts fool His main error in relation to ISIS was encouraging them in the earlier years of their development in order pretty much to make his regime look good in comparison After all how can he show his importance in the world fight against terrorism if there aren’t any terrorists around to fight? Assad assisted ISIS by letting its members train in Syria travel freely through the SyriaIra border and sometimes by coordinating military attacks with ISIS while their movement was still growingAssad adopted his policy towards ISIS despite his being a Shi’ite and hence their natural enemy given ISIS’s belief that Shi’ites are heretics whose killing can be justified on religious grounds In doing so as the books says Assad may now be suffering from the worst case of “blowback” ever seen The book puts forward a good case that ISIS is in many senses a replay of Saddam Hussein with extra religious baggage to help distinguish themselves from his secular Baathist regime Most of the senior leadership of ISIS is comprised of ex Baathists which is one reason they are so successful raising money and organising among the Sunni tribes The Baathists who now head up ISIS were responsible for oil smuggling routes and similar covert action when the worked for Hussein Also like Hussein ISIS powerbase is in the Sunni tribes; like Hussein ISIS are uncompromising totalitarians What sensationalist reporting ignores but the book makes clear is that along with the insane aspects of their rule ISIS had at least to begin with brought some order to the region by establishing a modicum of civil infrastructure relief from fighting and sharia courts and similar Almost a return to the good old pre invasion days of HusseinWhat are we to make of the neo conservatives who orchestrated this mess?I am still left speechless at the utter stupidity of the idiots who believed that as a result of bombing invading and occupying Ira US troops would somehow be welcomed as friends What were they thinking? Had they never read a book? Could they not have ordered any history of the Middle East from and spent a few evenings reading it so inevitably coming to the conclusion that their ideas were utterly insane? I am always prepared to credit a lot of what goes on to the raw power of human stupidity rather than malice greed or other evil intentions But could the neo conservatives really be this stupid? It’s difficult to tellSo where are we now? Fighting on the Shi’ite side Assad Russia Iran Irai government or less various rebel groups fighting Assad Fighting on the Sunni side ISIS Turkey Saudi Arabia; various rebel groups fighting Assad Fighting but not sure whose side they are on US UK France Fighting for their lives the Kurds; the populations of Ira and Syria who want to be left to carry on their lives in peaceAnd what of the future? We now have a small region of the earth’s surface filled with bombs being dropped guns being shot and and missiles being launched by a whole range of trigger happy gun slingers including than one Hitler admirer who bear a whole imosity of grudges against each other The targets these bombs bullets or missiles are going to hit are increasingly a matter of random chance as Turkey and Russia have already demonstrated This situation does not bode well for the future even before we think of the utter devastation of the homes and lives of the people trying to live under all thisMy guess would be that the ISIS controlled areas will remain a battleground for years to come The ISIS genie is out of the bottle and will be very difficult to bomb back in especially given there is little appetite to put neutral troops on the ground who might be able to at least slow down the madness Look at Afghanistan and ask yourself why should it be any different?To my mind the real risk is that the dispute expands into a larger Sunni Shi’ite conflict destabilizing the rest of the Middle East My biggest worry here would be Saudi Arabia descending into chaos as a result of escalating social and economic problems and increasing belligerence in the rest of the Middle East That would also not end wellThere is little doubt about it In decades to come historians will look on Gulf War II as the biggest error in the history of US foreign policy by a large margin And let’s not forget the culpability of fools like Blair who in his case apparently on advice from God were stupid enough to go along with it


  2. Benoit Lelièvre Benoit Lelièvre says:

    This is a tale of two halves really It's a complicated book for starters I don't suggest jumping right into it without any pre existing knowledge on the uestion I suggest watching Frontline's documentary LOSING IRA first in order to help you gain an understanding on the key point of why ISIS came to exist The first half of ISIS INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR is a treasure of information on how the convergence of Salafism and Baathism and the opportunism of Abu Musab al Zarawi creates this well organized movement that spread like wildfire The problem about this book is centered around the insights surrounding the inner workings of ISISThere is only a couple pages about their inner economy and close to zilch about their advanced logistic which are some of the most fascinatingterrifying aspects of the group The insight about recruiting is also vague and anecdotal I mean we all know ISIS is using social media to reach out to people but what people want to know is how and what exactly their are saying to young people to convince them to embark on such a ghastly journey The historical perspective of ISIS INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR is captivating but it spends a lot of time discussing something nobody fully understands as of today


  3. Steven Z. Steven Z. says:

    Each evening the nightly news seems to zero in on another story that relates to the Islamic State in Ira and Syria ISIS We are bombarded with border crossings into Syria from Turkey the state of the effort by Irai forces to retake Tikrit fears concerning Iran’s role in Ira should ISIS finally be defeated the capture of a former American Air Force veteran seized at the Turkish border and extradited to the United States and yesterday’s brutal attack in Tunisia This nightly visual obsession has produced a number of new books on the rise of ISIS and suggestions on how we should deal with them One of the better or perhaps the best of this new genre explaining ISIS is Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan’s ISIS INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR The book is written in a very straight forward historical narrative that tries to explain how we have arrived where we are today in trying to understand current events and how they relate to the last decade of American foreign policy in the Middle EastThe narrative traces the evolution of al aeda in Ira AI into the Islamic State in Ira ISI under the leadership of Abu Musa al Zarawi until his death in 2006 by an American air strike It continues its discussion by zeroing in on the schism that develops between al aeda and the emergence of ISI over strategy in the sectarian civil war in Ira and integrates events in Syria that will culminate in the movement to overthrow Bashir al Assad What stands out in Weiss and Hassan’s effort is their analysis of how the current situations in Ira and Syria came to be and what role the United States and Iran played The rise of ISI is directly linked to the American invasion of Ira in 2003 and American support for the Shi’a politician Nouri al Maliki as Prime Minister The authors repeatedly point out that Irai Sunnis hoped to be treated fairly by the government in Baghdad After the United States invaded Ira American decision makers fired Sunni bureaucrats dismissed the Sunni dominated Ba’athist Party and disbanded the Irai military leaving Sunnis unemployed and when Shi’a politicians like Maliki did not deliver on their promises very bitter As Iran’s influence in Baghdad increased many Sunnis particularly former policeman and military officers under Saddam Hussein turned to ISI The authors provide details how Maliki became Prime Minister and his negative impact on creating a unified Ira The authors also delve into the rise of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as the supreme leader of ISIS and his split with al aeda a major schism for the jihadi universe The authors provide an depth analysis of the civil war that broke out in Syria in February 2011 Weiss and Hassan make a number of important points that allows the reader to understand the complex political situation that exists and how it came about Once the revolution gained a foothold it seems Assad’s strategy was to terrorize Syrian Sunnis so they would become radicalized and join the forces that sought to overthrow him He wanted to create a situation where Alawites Shi’a sect that Assad belongs to that made up 8 15% of the country’s population and Christians felt endangered By so doing he hoped to show the world that he was a victim of terrorists who wanted to overthrow his government The groups that opposed Assad believed that his blatant use of chemical weapons rape and bombing of civilians would be enough to gain substantial support from the west but this was not to be The result was that the only means of support came from Iran In fact the authors argue that “Syria is occupied by the Iranian regime” Assad doesn’t run the country assem Soleimani head of Iran’s uds force is in charge 140 It is Iran that is opposing ISIS ISI became the Islamic State of Ira and Syria in 2011 once the Syrian civil war began in Ira and Syria and policy makers in Washington must wonder what will happen once ISIS is defeated with the uds Force in Syria and Iranian Shi’a militias in Ira It seems that the Iran Ira of the 1980s is now being refoughtWhat separates Weiss and Hassan’s work from ISIS THE STATE OF TERROR by Jessica Stern and JM Berger another useful monograph that has also been recently published is that within its narrative it analyzes the role of the tribal networks in Ira and Syria They compare how Saddam and Assad dealt with Irai and Syrian tribal structure and organization and how ISIS manipulated tribal influence in order to gain support Stern and Berger take a different approach as they provide a narrative history of ISIS’ terrorist methods and the organization of civil society Further they devote a great deal of space to ISIS’ use of technology in order to gain support and attract foreign fighters but spend much less time on the rise of key personalities jihadi organizations and the interests of nation states Weiss and Hassan touch on the role of psychology and technology but not in as much detail as they concentrate on the political paradigm that has brought together the common interests of Iran and the United States in opposing ISIS and at the same time an alliance between Assad and Teheran also exists Weiss and Hassan offer useful explanations for how this obtuse situation was created One of which seems somewhat convoluted but accurate According to Weiss and Hassan the closer ISIS gets to conuer an area the less religion plays a part in gaining public confidence For most people joining ISIS is a political decision as Sunni Muslims feel they have nowhere else to turn They see the world as one between a Sunni and Iranian coalition They believe that extreme violence is needed to counter the coming Shi’a hegemony They feel under assault from Assad Khamenei Supreme leader of Iran and Maliki who was finally ousted six months ago and are left with few options other than supporting al Baghdadi’s new Caliphate In their epilogue Weiss and Hassan paint a sobering picture of what the future holds They examine the massive US bombing campaign that seems to have offered mixed results and Sunni anger over what appears to be an American administration that is indirectly supporting Assad’s reign of terror from Damascus They conclude that than eleven years after the United States invaded Ira a deadly insurgency adept at multiple forms of warfare has proved resilient adaptable and resolved to carry on fighting” 242 ISIS appears to have tremendous staying power and the sources of revenue to maintain their uest not a very optimistic pictureIf you enjoy well written narrative history based on numerous interviews including Irai Syrian American and Iranian politicians; as well as military observers foreign fighters and other jihadis then you cannot go wrong with Weiss and Hassan’s new book If you want less of a historical narrative and are interested in of a socio psychological study you might find Stern and Berger’s work be satisfying The bottom line is that you cannot go wrong with either work


  4. Markus Markus says:

    Good book if someone is looking for history of ISIS and how it runs it's caliphate project The first half contains a lot of good information on why USA failed in Ira and how ISIS used that for their gain There's a long one sided section on Syria and how it's Assad fault that ISIS reigns there I'm by no means an Assad fan but every suicide bomber against Assad is an Inside Job or that he secretly runs ISIS? The western part and by that i mean USA part in this whole mess gets very little page time Authors actually interviewed ISIS members but the results didn't add much to an insight why someone joins a group that cuts little girls heads or throws gays from high towers and so on And in the end i still wasn't sure about the goals and what's really driving ISIS A much better book on this subject The Jihadis Return ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising


  5. Murtaza Murtaza says:

    This book offers some useful insights into the operation of ISIS as well as its origins Particularly of interest were a few interviews the authors were able to conduct with current and former ISIS members or people who lived in ISIS territory Given the necessarily rushed nature of the book its not exactly a stunning literary achievement or particularly enjoyable to read but it serves a utilitarian purpose of describing the mechanics of the group in a way which is somewhat useful ISIS is opaue in a lot of ways so whatever pierces the veil a little bit is good One thing of note was the conspicuously benign way in which American influence in Ira is portrayed contrasted with the singularly malevolent role of Iran you almost get the sense the authors are saying all America's good intentions and actions were simply sullied by outside intervention which is an ironic characterization I recommend reading this book but doing so with a critical eye to sources and perspectives


  6. Cindy Leighton Cindy Leighton says:

    This very recent February 2015 book about the development and scope of ISIS really made me realize how little I actually know not only about what is going on now with ISIS but about the history of the US's involvement in the Middle East Very well researched and filled with detail the authors even interviewed current members of ISIS as well as people living in ISIS controlled areas I was left desperate for a map and a glossary to help me keep everything and everyone straightSome of the conclusions of the book were not surprising most of what the US has done has just strengthened ISIS resolve and helped recruit not only Sunni to the cause but an amazing number of people from around the world tactical victory for the US was rendered strategically negligible because of the enormous propaganda boon it delivered to the insurgency Also not surprising economic and political disenfranchisement makes people much susceptible to follow extremists unemployment in Mosul was 75% when ISIS invaded in June 2014 and uickly took controlSome things were surprising the extent to which US prisons were used as training grounds and recruitment centers for ISIS Makes me think about the extent to which prisons in the US function the same way for the mafia and gangs I was surprised by how organized and extensive ISIS is how effectively they train recruits how successful their propaganda isIn the end it is terrifying to realize ISIS has destroyed the boundaries of contemporary nation states and proclaimed itself the restorer of a lost Islamic state That they see an end of days battle between good and evil and an end of that nation state Certainly political systems have evolved throughout history and pre history it is not crazy to think the nation state will be replaced by other systems But scary to think of it happening in this manner A friend I am reading this with told me of an article in the Washington Post that intriguingly explored the idea of redrawing the boundaries along ethno religious lines instead of the post WW1 boundaries drawn by Western European colonial interests How much of the strife in the Middle East and in the continent of Africa might have been avoided or could be avoided without the crazy colonial land grabs and nation state building without regard to existing peoples and tribes This seems like a most reasonable suggestion and perhaps the only solution to what otherwise looks like an endless and devastating war


  7. Tony Tony says:

    One of the problems with writing about ISIS is how uickly things change This book certainly doesn't fall into the “hastily cobbled together to cash in” category but reading about the Charlie Hebdo killings in a book that was released only a few weeks afterwards is still rather odd And the ability to do so belies the main problem I had with the book — it's mostly just plain factual reporting I'm very far from expert in this area so there was a lot of new information to me but I was constantly struggling to piece it all together into anything coherent In that regard I found The Atlantic's What ISIS Really Wants feature much better I came away from that thinking I understood the issue better rather than simply having facts Yes it oversimplifies at times and gets a few things wrong Think Progress for example have an interesting response but I'd recommend reading that article first and then following it with a book like this only if you want a deeper factual background


  8. Mehmet Akif Koç Mehmet Akif Koç says:

    A well researched and timely book published in February 2015 about the so called Islamic State its history economics and expansion In particular the chapters abıut the Baathists of Ira inside the structure and its controversial relations with Bashar al Assad are significant However focuses on the history of Syria Ira in post Saddam period and reflects nearly nothing on historical religious and eoconomic root causes of the rise of Islamic radicalism in the region


  9. Marcus Marcus says:

    ISIS Inside the Army of Terror is a very well researched history combined with first hand accounts of the rise ISIS its relationships with other states and groups in the region and throughout the world along with insights into its motives actions and agendasIf you're like me and not already particularly knowledgeable of Middle Eastern news and geography of the past 10 years you'll probably have some of the same struggles I did to keep up with all the names and places If you can allow for some ambiguity though the second half and final third of the book in particular are very well worth it If you don't want the history get the book just for the epilogue The conclusions are harrowingWeiss concludes in part that despite losing ground in places like Ramadi ISIS is gaining ground elsewhere even if it is not completely controlling the cities in a traditional senseISIS continues to rule or less uncontested in al Bab Minbij Jarablous Raa southern Hasaka Tal Afar a’im and outside the city center of Ramadi ISIS has compensated for its 10 percent territorial losses in Ira by gaining 4 percent in Syria though you wouldn’t know it to listen to US officials“What’s amazing is how we keep making the same mistakes over and over again in Ira but also in the broader Middle East” Ali Khedery told us “I’ve seen senior American officials waste time tweeting about the number of air strikes Who cares about these tactical developments? Sunnis are being radicalized at record proportions A counterterrorism approach isn’t going to work with ISIS We saw that in Ira and we’ll see it in Syria”It's easy to think of ISIS as just a bunch of extreme Islamist fundamentalists because on the surface that's pretty accurate The nuanced view is that ISIS members arrive with diverse motives and backgrounds Some were displaced Ba'athist Irai's others prison converts brought in by fellow charismatic Syrian inmates and there are many who seem to have joined ISIS out of some type of expediency hopelessness or hopefulness The resulting diversity has strengthened ISIS by bringing expert statesmen of sorts computer and weapons experts PR and media manipulators and not a few people with proper military backgrounds Because of this diversity ISIS often acts as a state than a typical terrorist organizationDespite this facade of legitimacy ISIS is reprehensible in every way It's an organization led by heartless murderers torturers and rapists as they so brazenly exhibit in their own propaganda They are well organized manipulators and terrorists in every sense of the word They should be stopped How to do this is unclear but pacifism isn't an option Understanding ISIS is not pleasant or rewarding but it is necessary especially for those with political or military influence This book should not be missed


  10. Noor Noor says:

    A common misconception amongst many who discuss ISIL be it the press politicians or otherwise is the idea that the organisation sprung out of no where; or at least that it is fairly nascent This is a direct result of the western media eschewing the conseuences of military intervention in the Ira war and the subseuent marginalisation of Irai Sunni MuslimsWe begin with events that even precede the second gulf war The first chapter introduces us to Abu Mus'ab al Zarawi the now deceased Jordanian al aida agent who was too extreme for even Bin Laden For the first 100 pages we are taken through the evolution of Al aida in Ira AI to the Islamic State of Ira ISI under the patronage of Zarawi We come to understand that the group flourished when the post Saddam Irai government sidelined the Sunni community and espoused sectarian tensions all with the knowledge of the USAWhat is interesting is that the elite of AI and indeed ISIL today comprise mainly of erstwhile secular Ba'athists who had benefited under the despotic Saddam regime More interestingly perhaps are the links between the Iranian government and Al aida who on the face of things are sworn enemies Nonetheless the book tells us that Iran owes a lot to Al aida and the former has been a place to where insurgents from A have fledThe rest of the book takes us further to the organisation's involvement in Syria whence it became known as the Islamic State of Ira and the Levant and eventually just 'The Islamic State' Its involvement in Syria is shown to be as a result of the group opportunistically filling in the vacuum left by the world's inaction in Syria coupled with the corruption of some of the rebel groupsThat ISIL has been met with little resistance in some areas of Ira is shown to be as a result of the former treatment of the Sunni tribes who carried out the Sahwaawakening When the tribes previously attacked AI the Irai government marginalised them refused to pay them and in some cases even arrested those who had fought the extremists ISIL and Assad have a symbiotic relationship with one another; neither are each other's primary targets with them both focusing their attentions on the rebels For example Abu aa an extremist and hateful preacher was given free reign to recruit in Aleppo Although not revealed in the book he was assassinated shortly after alluding in an interview with Al Arabiya that he worked for the Syrian intelligence services Even when the Assad government did eventually shell ISIL in Raah it focused its munitions on civilians and only shelled ISIL targets once the building had been evacuated This was done to create a ruse and convince the world that Assad was engaging in efforts against ISIL while the reality was to detract away from the regime's barrel bombing and other atrocities Even fighters loyal to Assad have despaired at the regime's lack of action towards ISOther opposition groups aside from Jabhet Al Nusra get little mention While the authors do not mention the success of some current liberated areas in Syria that are ruled over by rebel factions such as in Idleb they do point to the successful self governing of certain communities in Al Bab and Minbej prior to ISIL's occupation redolent of the days when FSA fighters would engage with their communities and help pick rubbish off the streetsThe book also exposes the guileful tactics of the Assad regime in helping to further their claims By avoiding ISIL targets they essentially helped to tar all insurgents as extremists Moreover intelligence has shown that there are foreign fighters assisting Assad than there are of other groups including reinforcements from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps IRGCuds force Hezbollah and Irai militias among others The manpower of the Solaimani's uds force in Syria alone is uoted as being as many as 100000 owing to the exhaustion of the Syrian Arab ArmyFurther not only do the upper ranks of ISIL consist of former Irai Ba'athists but also of the very same 'political prisoners' released under Assad's general amnesty in 2011 in order to radicalise the opposition Many of these were given cross border access during the Ira war with evidences listed indicting the Assad regime in destabilising the region next door and actually helping with trainingsupplying these very same terrorists with munitionsIf you approach this book with little background on the topic you might find yourself flabbergasted by the depth of the content Particularly during the earlier chapters on Ira I found myself constantly referring back to personsgroups previously mentioned Further to this the writers use an esoteric style of writing; there were uite a few references that I had to look up and although it did not disrupt the flow of information it did slow my reading Among the issues I had with the book include its portrayal of what does or does not constitute an extremist Muslim On than one occasion the writers allude to extremists by whether or not they pray or grow a beard and non extremists are described in terms of drinking alcohol and having girlfriends They also fail to recognise Syria's religious make up most of which is Sufi leaning and generally repudiates the creed espoused by ISIL in addition to the role local imams have had in refuting the legitimacy of the Islamic state Another issue I had was that the USA's role in Ira is glossed over; while the authors do acknowledge that they failed in the role of being a non partisan arbiter following Saddam's ousting they do not put the bulk of the culpability of Ira's destabilisation as being directly linked to their actions in the country and that they were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians They alienated Sunnis through supporting a replacement despotic regime and failing to supportengage with those who carried out the Sahwa Iran is rightfully exposed for its imperialistic ambitions in the region on a sectarian level but the USA is not afforded the same level of criticismWhile I have given this book only 3 stars I would still recommend it as a great reference source for the discourse on ISIL particularly as there is a massive void of credible information relating to the dubious origins of this hateful organisation


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