"When he succeeded his father in 1999, King Abdullah of Jordan released a batch of political prisoners in the hopes of smoothing his transition to power. Little did he know that among those released was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a man who would go on to become a terrorist mastermind too dangerous even for al-Qaeda and give rise to an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. Zarqawi began by directing hotel bombings and assassinations in Jordan from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion of that country in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, the CIA inadvertently created a monster. Like-minded radicals saw him as a hero resisting the infidel occupiers and rallied to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings continued for years until Jordanian intelligence provided the Americans with the crucial intelligence needed to eliminate Zarqawi in a 2006 airstrike. But his movement endured, first called al-Qaeda in Iraq, then renamed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seeking refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. And as the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi's dream of a sweeping, ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate. Drawing on unique access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Joby Warrick weaves together heart-pounding, moment-by-moment operational details with overarching historical perspectives to reveal the long trajectory of today's most dangerous Islamic extremist threat"--
WINNER OF THE 2016 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION “A Best Book of 2015”—The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and Kirkus Reviews In a thrilling dramatic narrative, awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents. When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq. Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, U.S. officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi’s hideout in 2006. His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the U.S. largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate. Drawing on unique high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat. From the Hardcover edition.
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick reveals how the strain of militant Islam now raising its banner across Iraq and Syria spread from a remote Jordanian prison with the unwitting aid of American military intervention. When he succeeded his father in 1999, King Abdullah of Jordan released a batch of political prisoners in the hopes of smoothing his transition to power. Little did he know that among those released was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a man who would go on to become a terrorist mastermind too dangerous even for al-Qaeda and give rise to an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. Zarqawi began by directing hotel bombings and assassinations in Jordan from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion of that country in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, the CIA inadvertently created a monster. Like-minded radicals saw him as a hero resisting the infidel occupiers and rallied to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings continued for years until Jordanian intelligence provided the Americans with the crucial intelligence needed to eliminate Zarqawi in a 2006 airstrike. But his movement endured, first called al-Qaeda in Iraq, then renamed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seeking refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. And as the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi's dream of a sweeping, ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate. Drawing on unique access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Joby Warrick weaves together heart-pounding, moment-by-moment operational details with overarching historical perspectives to reveal the long trajectory of today's most dangerous Islamic extremist threat.
Author: Worth Books
Publisher: Open Road Media
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Genre: Political Science
So much to read, so little time? This brief overview of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS tells you what you need to know—before or after you read Joby Warrick’s book. Crafted and edited with care, Worth Books set the standard for quality and give you the tools you need to be a well-informed reader. This short summary and analysis of Black Flags includes: Historical context Chapter-by-chapter overviews Profiles of the main characters Detailed timeline of key events Important quotes Fascinating trivia Glossary of terms Supporting material to enhance your understanding of the original work About Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick: Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Joby Warrick has written an authoritative account of the origins and rapid ascent of the largest global terrorist organization today: the Islamic State. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with US and Middle Eastern intelligence officials, as well as two decades of experience covering global terrorism, Warrick presents portraits of the group’s leadership, including the “godfather” of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and of its current leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Warrick explains the historical context and the sectarian struggles behind the rise of the Islamic State, the missteps by US intelligence that aided it, and the heroic work by intelligence and military officials that have fought against it. His work explains the appeal of ISIS and the threat it poses to the Middle East and global peace. The summary and analysis in this ebook are intended to complement your reading experience and bring you closer to a great work of nonfiction.
Author: Fawaz A. Gerges
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Genre: Political Science
The Islamic State has stunned the world with its savagery, destructiveness, and military and recruiting successes. What explains the rise of ISIS and what does it portend for the future of the Middle East? In this book, one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam and jihadism sheds new light on these questions as he provides a unique history of the rise and growth of ISIS. Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling account of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS. The book describes how ISIS emerged in the chaos of Iraq following the 2003 U.S. invasion, how the group was strengthened by the suppression of the Arab Spring and by the war in Syria, and how ISIS seized leadership of the jihadist movement from Al Qaeda. Part of a militant Sunni revival, ISIS claims its goals are to resurrect a caliphate and rid "Islamic lands" of all Shia and other minorities. In contrast to Al Qaeda, ISIS initially focused on the "near enemy"—Shia, the Iraqi and Syrian regimes, and secular, pro-Western states in the Middle East. But in a tactical shift ISIS has now taken responsibility for spectacular attacks in Europe and other places beyond the Middle East, making it clear that the group is increasingly interested in targeting the "far enemy" as well. Ultimately, the book shows how decades of dictatorship, poverty, and rising sectarianism in the Middle East, exacerbated by foreign intervention, led to the rise of ISIS—and why addressing those problems is the only way to ensure its end. An authoritative introduction to arguably the most important conflict in the world today, this is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the social turmoil and political violence ravaging the Arab-Islamic world.
Author: William McCants
Release Date: 2015-09-22
The so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, has inspired young men and women all over the world to commit horrible atrocities in its name. How has the Islamic State surpassed al-Qaeda to become the most popular jihadist group on the planet? Its goal is not only to revive the Islamic empire but also usher in the End of Times - a final battle that will restore the Muslim community to its medieval glory days. And they will not stop until they achieve their mission.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning intelligence reporter presents a narrative account of a mysterious Jordanian agent that describes how he infiltrated both al-Qaeda and the CIA before killing himself and seven CIA operatives in a suicide bombing, an event that revealed sobering agency weaknesses. Reprint.
Author: Abdel Bari Atwan
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2015-09-08
Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh) stunned the world when it overran an area the size of Great Britain on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border in a matter of weeks and proclaimed the birth of a new Caliphate. In this timely and important book, Abdel Bari Atwan draws on his unrivaled knowledge of the global jihadi movement and Middle Eastern geopolitics to reveal the origins and modus operandi of Islamic State. Based on extensive field research and exclusive interviews with IS insiders, Islamic State outlines the group's leadership structure, as well as its strategies, tactics, and diverse methods of recruitment. Atwan traces the Salafi-jihadi lineage of IS, its ideological differences with al Qaeda and the deadly rivalry that has emerged between their leaders. He also shows how the group's rapid growth has been facilitated by its masterful command of social media platforms, the "dark web," Hollywood blockbuster-style videos, and even jihadi computer games, producing a powerful paradox where the ambitions of the Middle Ages have reemerged in cyberspace. As Islamic State continues to dominate the world's media headlines with horrific acts of ruthless violence, Atwan considers the movement's chances of survival and expansion and offers indispensable insights on potential government responses to contain the IS threat.
Author: Patrick Cockburn
Publisher: Verso Books
Release Date: 2015-02-03
Genre: Political Science
The essential “on the ground” report on the fastest-growing new threat in the Middle East, from the winner of the 2014 Foreign Affairs Journalist of the Year Award Born of the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars, the Islamic State astonished the world in 2014 by creating a powerful new force in the Middle East. By combining religious fanaticism and military prowess, the new self-declared caliphate poses a threat to the political status quo of the whole region. In The Rise of Islamic State, Patrick Cockburn describes the conflicts behind a dramatic unraveling of US foreign policy. He shows how the West created the conditions for ISIS’s explosive success by stoking the war in Syria. The West—the US and NATO in particular—underestimated the militants’ potential until it was too late and failed to act against jihadi sponsors in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Several "pieces first published in The New Yorker recall the path terror in the Middle East has taken from the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1990s to the recent beheadings of reporters and aid workers by ISIS ... They include an ... impression of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom of silence under the control of the religious police; the Syrian film industry, then compliant at the edges but already exuding a feeling of the barely masked fury that erupted into civil war; [and] the 2006-11 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, a study in disparate values of human lives. Others continue to look into al-Qaeda as it forms a master plan for its future, experiences a rebellion from within the organization, and spins off a growing web of terror in the world"--
Author: Charles R. Lister
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016
The eruption of the anti-Assad revolution in Syria has had many unintended consequences, among which is the opportunity it offered Sunni jihadists to establish a foothold in the heart of the Middle East. That Syria's ongoing civil war is so brutal and protracted has only compounded the situation, as have developments in Iraq and Lebanon. Ranging across the battlefields and international borders have been dozens of jihadi Islamist fighting groups, of which some coalesced into significant factions such as Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State. This book assesses and explains the emergence since 2011 of Sunni jihadist organizations in Syria's fledgling insurgency, charts their evolution and situates them within the global Islamist project. Unprecedented numbers of foreign fighters have joined such groups, who will almost certainly continue to host them. Thus, external factors in their emergence are scrutinized, including the strategic and tactical lessons learned from other jihadist conflict zones and the complex interplay between Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State and how it has influenced the jihadist sphere in Syria. Tensions between and conflict within such groups also feature in this indispensable volume.
The Islamic State, known as ISIS, exploded into the public eye in 2014 with startling speed and shocking brutality. It has captured the imagination of the global jihadist movement, attracting recruits in unprecedented numbers and wreaking bloody destruction with a sadistic glee that has alienated even the hardcore terrorists of its parent organization, al Qaeda. Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger, two of America’s leading experts on terrorism, dissect the new model for violent extremism that ISIS has leveraged into an empire of death in Iraq and Syria, and an international network that is rapidly expanding in the Middle East, North Africa and around the world. ISIS: The State of Terror traces the ideological innovations that the group deploys to recruit unprecedented numbers of Westerners, the composition of its infamous snuff videos, and the technological tools it exploits on social media to broadcast its atrocities, and its recruiting pitch to the world, including its success at attracting thousands of Western adherents. The authors examine ISIS’s predatory abuse of women and children and its use of horror to manipulate world leaders and its own adherents as it builds its twisted society. The authors offer a much-needed perspective on how world leaders should prioritize and respond to ISIS’s deliberate and insidious provocations.
Author: Thanassis Cambanis
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2015-01-20
Award-winning journalist Thanassis Cambanis tells the “wonderfully readable and insightful” (Booklist, starred review) inside story of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Cambanis brings to life the noble dreamers who brought Egypt to the brink of freedom, and the dark powerful forces that—for the time being—stopped them short. But he also tells a universal story of inspirational people willing to transform themselves in order to transform their society. He focuses on two pivotal leaders: One is Basem, an apolitical middle-class architect who puts his entire family in danger when he seizes the chance to improve his country. The other is Moaz, a contrarian Muslim Brother who defies his own organization to join the opposition. These revolutionaries had little more than their idealism with which to battle the secret police, the old oligarchs, and a power-hungry military determined to keep control. Basem wanted to change the system from within and became one of the only revolutionaries to win a seat in parliament. Moaz took a different course, convinced that only street pressure from youth movements could dismantle the old order. Their courageous and imperfect decisions produced an uprising with one enduring outcome: No Arab leader ever again can take the population’s consent for granted. Once Upon a Revolution is “a welcome addition to the literature on Egypt’s uprising” (Library Journal). Featuring exclusive and distinctive reporting, Thanassis Cambanis’s “fluent, intelligent, and highly informed book…convincingly explains what happened in Egypt over the last four years” (The New York Times Book Review).
Author: Souad Mekhennet
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: 2017-06-13
Genre: Political Science
“I was told to come alone. I was not to carry any identification, and would have to leave my cell phone, audio recorder, watch, and purse at my hotel. . . .” For her whole life, Souad Mekhennet, a reporter for The Washington Post who was born and educated in Germany, has had to balance the two sides of her upbringing – Muslim and Western. She has also sought to provide a mediating voice between these cultures, which too often misunderstand each other. In this compelling and evocative memoir, we accompany Mekhennet as she journeys behind the lines of jihad, starting in the German neighborhoods where the 9/11 plotters were radicalized and the Iraqi neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another, and culminating on the Turkish/Syrian border region where ISIS is a daily presence. In her travels across the Middle East and North Africa, she documents her chilling run-ins with various intelligence services and shows why the Arab Spring never lived up to its promise. She then returns to Europe, first in London, where she uncovers the identity of the notorious ISIS executioner “Jihadi John,” and then in France, Belgium, and her native Germany, where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization. Mekhennet’s background has given her unique access to some of the world’s most wanted men, who generally refuse to speak to Western journalists. She is not afraid to face personal danger to reach out to individuals in the inner circles of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, and their affiliates; when she is told to come alone to an interview, she never knows what awaits at her destination. Souad Mekhennet is an ideal guide to introduce us to the human beings behind the ominous headlines, as she shares her transformative journey with us. Hers is a story you will not soon forget.