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. Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling explanation of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS. This unique history shows how decades of dictatorship, poverty, and rising sectarianism in the Middle East, exacerbated by foreign intervention, led to the rise and growth 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.
Fawaz A. Gerges is professor of international relations and Emirates Professor in Contemporary Middle East Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His many books include The New Middle East, Obama and the Middle East, and The Far Enemy. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Foreign Affairs, and other publications.
Acknowledgments ix Introduction: Down the Rabbit Hole and into the History of ISIS 1 1 The World According to ISIS 23 2 Where ISIS Came From: Zarqawi to Baghdadi 50 3 How Broken Iraqi Politics Fueled the Revival of ISIS 98 4 Baghdadi's Evolution: From Invisible to Infamous 129 5 Baathists and ISIS Jihadists: Who Converted Whom? 144 6 How the Syrian War Empowered ISIS 170 7 Misappropriating the Arab Spring Uprisings 202 8 ISIS versus Al Qaeda: Redefi ning Jihad and the Transition from the Global to the Local 222 Conclusion: The Future of ISIS 260 Notes 295 Index 353