The ISIS Apocalypse

Author: William McCants
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781466892705
Release Date: 2015-09-22
Genre: Political Science

The Islamic State is one of the most lethal and successful jihadist groups in modern history, surpassing even al-Qaeda. Thousands of its followers have marched across Syria and Iraq, subjugating millions, enslaving women, beheading captives, and daring anyone to stop them. Thousands more have spread terror beyond the Middle East under the Islamic State's black flag. How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam-the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world-into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. They have defied conventional thinking about how to wage wars and win recruits. Even if the Islamic State is defeated, jihadist terrorism will never be the same. Based almost entirely on primary sources in Arabic-including ancient religious texts and secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters that few have seen - William McCants' The ISIS Apocalypse explores how religious fervor, strategic calculation, and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State's past and foreshadow its dark future.

The ISIS Apocalypse

Author: William McCants
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781250080905
Release Date: 2015-09-22
Genre: History

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.

The ISIS Apocalypse

Author: William McCants
Publisher: Picador
ISBN: 1250112648
Release Date: 2016-08-09
Genre: Political Science

The Islamic State is one of the most lethal and successful jihadist groups in modern history, surpassing even al-Qaeda. Thousands of its followers have marched across Syria and Iraq, subjugating millions, enslaving women, beheading captives, and daring anyone to stop them. Thousands more have spread terror beyond the Middle East under the Islamic State's black flag. How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam-the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world-into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. They have defied conventional thinking about how to wage wars and win recruits. Even if the Islamic State is defeated, jihadist terrorism will never be the same. Based almost entirely on primary sources in Arabic-including ancient religious texts and secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters that few have seen - William McCants' The ISIS Apocalypse explores how religious fervor, strategic calculation, and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State's past and foreshadow its dark future.

Islamic State

Author: Abdel Bari Atwan
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520289284
Release Date: 2015-09-08
Genre: History

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.

ISIS

Author: Fawaz A. Gerges
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400885596
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.

The Syrian Jihad

Author: Charles R. Lister
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190462475
Release Date: 2016
Genre: History

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 Master Plan

Author: Brian H. Fishman
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300224535
Release Date: 2016-11-22
Genre: History

An incisive narrative history of the Islamic State, from the 2005 master plan to reestablish the Caliphate to its quest for Final Victory in 2020 Given how quickly its operations have achieved global impact, it may seem that the Islamic State materialized suddenly. In fact, al-Qaeda’s operations chief, Sayf al-Adl, devised a seven-stage plan for jihadis to conquer the world by 2020 that included reestablishing the Caliphate in Syria between 2013 and 2016. Despite a massive schism between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, al-Adl’s plan has proved remarkably prescient. In summer 2014, ISIS declared itself the Caliphate after capturing Mosul, Iraq—part of stage five in al-Adl’s plan. Drawing on large troves of recently declassified documents captured from the Islamic State and its predecessors, counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman tells the story of this organization’s complex and largely hidden past—and what the master plan suggests about its future. Only by understanding the Islamic State’s full history—and the strategy that drove it—can we understand the contradictions that may ultimately tear it apart.

The Terror Years

Author: Lawrence Wright
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780804170031
Release Date: 2017-07
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

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"--

The Way of the Strangers

Author: Graeme Wood
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780812988758
Release Date: 2017
Genre: History

"The Way of the Strangers is an intimate journey into the minds of the Islamic State's true believers. From the streets of Cairo to the mosques of London, Wood interviews supporters, recruiters, and sympathizers of the group...Wood speaks with non-Islamic State Muslim scholars and jihadists, and explores the group's idiosyncratic, coherent approach to Islam...Through character study and analysis, Wood provides a clear-eyed look at a movement that has inspired so many people to abandon or uproot their families.

The Rise of Islamic State

Author: Patrick Cockburn
Publisher: Verso Books
ISBN: 9781784780494
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.

ISIS

Author: Michael Weiss
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781941393710
Release Date: 2015-01-29
Genre: Political Science

A revelatory look inside the world's most dangerous terrorist group. Initially dismissed by US President Barack Obama, along with other fledgling terrorist groups, as a “jayvee squad” compared to al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shocked the world by conquering 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 Iraqi insurgent group into a jihadi army of international volunteers who behead Western hostages in slickly produced videos and have conquered territory equal to the size of Great Britain. Beginning with the early days of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of ISIS’s first incarnation as “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” 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, Iraq, Iran, 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 2011 in Iraq. Past is prologue and America’s legacy in the Middle East is sowing a new generation of terror.

Al Qaeda the Islamic State and the Global Jihadist Movement

Author: Daniel Byman
Publisher: What Everyone Needs to Know
ISBN: 9780190217266
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Political Science

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the entire world was introduced to Al Qaeda and its enigmatic leader, Osama bin Laden. But the organization that changed the face of terrorism forever and unleashed a whirlwind of counterterrorism activity and two major wars had been on the scene long before that eventful morning. In Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know, Daniel L. Byman, an eminent scholar of Middle East terrorism and international security who served on the 9/11 Commission, provides a sharp and concise overview of Al Qaeda, from its humble origins in the mountains of Afghanistan to the present, explaining its perseverance and adaptation since 9/11 and the limits of U.S. and allied counterterrorism efforts. The organization that would come to be known as Al Qaeda traces its roots to the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Founded as the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, Al Qaeda achieved a degree of international notoriety with a series of spectacular attacks in the 1990s; however, it was the dramatic assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 that truly launched Al Qaeda onto the global stage. The attacks endowed the organization with world-historical importance and provoked an overwhelming counterattack by the United States and other western countries. Within a year of 9/11, the core of Al Qaeda had been chased out of Afghanistan and into a variety of refuges across the Muslim world. Splinter groups and franchised offshoots were active in the 2000s in countries like Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen, but by early 2011, after more than a decade of relentless counterterrorism efforts by the United States and other Western military and intelligence services, most felt that Al Qaeda's moment had passed. With the death of Osama bin Laden in May of that year, many predicted that Al Qaeda was in its death throes. Shockingly, Al Qaeda has staged a remarkable comeback in the last few years. In almost every conflict in the Muslim world, from portions of the Xanjing region in northwest China to the African subcontinent, Al Qaeda franchises or like-minded groups have played a role. Al Qaeda's extreme Salafist ideology continues to appeal to radicalized Sunni Muslims throughout the world, and it has successfully altered its organizational structure so that it can both weather America's enduring full-spectrum assault and tailor its message to specific audiences. Authoritative and highly readable, Byman's account offers readers insightful and penetrating answers to the fundamental questions about Al Qaeda: who they are, where they came from, where they're going-and, perhaps most critically-what we can do about it.

Empire of Fear

Author: Andrew Hosken
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 9781780749334
Release Date: 2015-12-03
Genre: Religion

Tourists killed in Tunisia; Jihadi John targeted by drone strikes; carnage in Paris; and hundreds of thousands of Syrians risking everything to reach Europe in an attempt to escape the violence. Islamic State’s reign of terror continues. Back in June 2014 Islamic State had launched an astonishing blitzkrieg which saw them seize control of an area in the Middle East the size of Britain. The news was soon filled with their relentless acts of savagery, yet nobody seemed to know who they were or where they’d come from. In this updated edition of his acclaimed book, BBC reporter Andrew Hosken delivers the inside story on Islamic State from their origins to the present day. Through extensive first-hand reporting, Hosken builds a comprehensive picture of IS, their brutal ideology and exterminationist methods. The result is equally compelling and horrifying.

Founding Gods Inventing Nations

Author: William F. McCants
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691151489
Release Date: 2012
Genre: History

From the dawn of writing in Sumer to the sunset of the Islamic empire, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations traces four thousand years of speculation on the origins of civilization. Investigating a vast range of primary sources, some of which are translated here for the first time, and focusing on the dynamic influence of the Greek, Roman, and Arab conquests of the Near East, William McCants looks at the ways the conquerors and those they conquered reshaped their myths of civilization's origins in response to the social and political consequences of empire. The Greek and Roman conquests brought with them a learned culture that competed with that of native elites. The conquering Arabs, in contrast, had no learned culture, which led to three hundred years of Muslim competition over the cultural orientation of Islam, a contest reflected in the culture myths of that time. What we know today as Islamic culture is the product of this contest, whose protagonists drew heavily on the lore of non-Arab and pagan antiquity. McCants argues that authors in all three periods did not write about civilization's origins solely out of pure antiquarian interest--they also sought to address the social and political tensions of the day. The strategies they employed and the postcolonial dilemmas they confronted provide invaluable context for understanding how authors today use myth and history to locate themselves in the confusing aftermath of empire.

Life and Death in ISIS

Author: Zeina Karam
Publisher: Mango Media Inc.
ISBN: 9781633533127
Release Date: 2015-11-17
Genre: History

Who is ISIS? The terrifying violence the group has inflicted in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere has shocked the world. With many calling for the U.S. to intervene, it’s necessary to know the nature of this threat to Middle East stability. Learn how ISIS uses social media to lure new members―even large numbers of foreigners―and how it spreads propaganda. Many foreign men who join the group frequently have a change of heart and return home. Women who join never return. Life and Death in ISIS is full of surprising stories about life in Islamic State – from stories of couples to whom ISIS gives elaborate honeymoons in Raqqa, Syria to how the group recruits teenagers from Europe and elsewhere.