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ISIS in the News: Extensive Media Roundup (August-September 2014)

[Editorial Note: This is not a "Best of," only a roundup of significant pieces. The Introduction is written by Bassam Haddad and the Roundup's main editor is Basileus Zeno]

Everyone has something to say about the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). But only now. When ISIS or its predecessor was taking over towns in Syria last year, and when it grew out of Iraq’s chaos and calamity after the US invasion of 2003, it was just another news item, if that. But when more and more interests were threatened, when the identity of the victims began to change, and when ISIS rolled into cities in Iraq, it became a problem. Followers of the news in/from Syria and Iraq were not entirely shocked at the speed with which ISIS ravaged through towns and cities with its ferocious ways. Everyone else was. And some among this latter group started writing about the problem of ISIS.

The challenge of writing about ISIS is multi-faceted, but rests mainly in the fact that we simply do not have enough corroborated information/knowledge about all aspects of the phenomenon, including how they link up together and to other countries—even if we can cite the names of Arab Gulf countries, or other sources, that helped finance their entry into Syria. This state of knowledge on ISIS makes virtually any piece of writing sound somewhat interesting and credible. Clearly, however, some accounts are too fantastic or reductionist. The outcome, in terms of writings on ISIS, where plausibility becomes synonymous with knowledge production, is important to observe and decipher.

But the basics about ISIS are not all elusive. The US invasion of Iraq, and the consequent destruction and dismantling of the state there (not just the regime), is a good starting point. Beyond that, the various conflicts and struggles in the region propelled its growth, starting with policy-driven growth in sectarian tension there, and ending with the quagmire of the Syrian scene in the context of a legitimate uprising that quickly became externally backed and internally suppressed brutally. The Syria connection, far more than that of Iraq, meant that the ISIS phenomenon gobbled up the local, regional, and international complexities of the Syrian uprising. This latter dynamic revealed, among other matters, the short-sighted policies of neighboring and international countries vis-à-vis some aspects of the militant Syrian opposition out of which ISIS and its ilk grew.

Thus, ISIS the phenomenon is far more than ISIS the movement/fighters/ideology. Herein lies the challenge of writing about ISIS, especially for the masses of people who were just awakened by it, thanks to the patented barbarism of it actions—not that killing human beings via a twelve-million-dollar fighter jet, or even barrel bombs, are not. A careful study is certainly in order. And it is always good to debunk the doom and gloom scenarios about ISIS taking over the region (it is not) or the stark opposite, that it’s a fleeting phenomenon that is principally a function of repressive rule (it is much more than that).

Finally, it is also important not to allow ISIS news—especially the “outside-in” variety that is more concerned with its “regional/global security threat” than its impact on all human beings (not just particular ones)—hi-jack all our attention and divert it from the bigger Syrian tragedy where the regime’s culpability over the past few decades is primary, and where external intervention by Arab, Turkish, European, and US actors has been devastating to any genuine uprising and to Syrians themselves.

Here, for now, we decided to put together a selection of articles (in Arabic and English), videos, and events on ISIS. This collection is by no means a list where we necessarily endorse every piece. It reflects pieces that are useful for readers and researchers of all varieties. However, it also includes pieces that are important to note, even if not analytical stellar, by virtue of who wrote them and where: for some pieces are more consequential than others when it comes to policy implications and the reinforcement of dominant discourses in different settings, Arab, European, or American. We would like to present this collection as a beginning of an ongoing series of work on ISIS. All are welcome to send suggestions for good pieces that we should include in future installments (send items to Syria@jadaliyya.com).


 

English Articles       

A Friend Flees the Horror of ISIS (6 August 2014)
George Packer writes about the threats posed by ISIS against Yazidis stranded in the mountains of northwestern Iraq by reporting the story of Karim, a Yazidi man from Sinjar.

Why Are So Many Westerners Joining ISIS? (11 August 2014)
Jason M. Breslow writes about the motives and threats posed by the growing number of Western fighters who have joined ISIS, representing more than twelve thousand foreign fighters from at least eight-one countries in Syria alone. It is worth noting, however, that Breslow conflates ISIS with Jabhat al-Nusra. In fact, Jabhat al-Nusra was behind the recruitment of the first US-citizen suicide bomber: Moner Mohammad Abusalha.

Iraq: Understanding the ISIS Offensive Against the Kurds (11 August 2014)
Kenneth M. Pollack provides a comprehensive analysis of the Kurdish forces fighting ISIS. Accordingly,  ISIS’s successes " . . . do not necessarily suggest that the group will be able to overrun the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) or that the Peshmerga are a hollow force."

ISIS: the US saves Iraq, yet again? (11 August, 2014)
As'ad AbuKhalil criticizes the US foreign policy towards Iraq and Syria and the role of its allies, mainly, Saudi Arabia in the emergence of ISIS. “ISIS did not come out of thin air: it was raised, nurtured and cuddled through US policies in two adjacent countries, Syria and Iraq”

ISIS: A Short History (14 August 2014)
Bobby Ghosh tackles the story of how  “the Islamic State” has evolved and existed under “various names and in various shapes since the early 1990s"

Welcome to Extremistan: The threat and promise of the fracturing of the Middle East (20 August 2014)
David J. Rothkopf interviews Nasser Judeh the foreign minister of Jordan who provides his perspective on the current situation in the Middle East. According to Judeh, as the situation on the ground shows, both Syria and Iraq “have been divided up by circumstances and demographics in a similar way”.

ISIS militants threaten Mosul’s female doctors (19 August 2014)
While female doctors in Mosul, Iraq continue to provide triage due to the critical humanitarian situation, they have pleaded for International support from IS threats.

The Re-Baathification of Iraq: The Islamic State has conquered much of Iraq with the help of Saddam’s cronies. Now the men America once discarded could help win the country back (21 August 2014)
Shane Harris writes about the tenuous Islamist-Baathist alliance in northern Iraq. According to Harris, there is a great opportunity to be exploited by the US in order to blunt ISIS's advance in Iraq and Syria without relying solely on American airstrikes or ground troops after the growing divide between the top leadership of ISIS and JRTN (the Naqshbandi Army which is composed of former Baathist officials and retired military generals in addition to other groups).

How ISIS Came to Be (22 August 2014)
Ali Khedery dives into the history of ISIS/ISIL, how it was formed, how it exists now, and how it will survive unless it is stopped. 

Assad Policies Aided Rise of Islamic State Militant Group (22 August 2014)
Maria Abi-Habib writes about the political tactics of the Syrian regime that led to the emergence of ISIS. The article also reports on the role of some factions of the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), such as Ahrar al-Sham in this regard.

Islamic State inciting Arab-Kurdish divide in Iraq (22 August 2014)
Denise Natali writes about the last reports from Nineveh province in Iraq, where Arab fighter of the Islamic State contribute to anti-Arab sentiments among Iraqi Kurds.

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia (27 August 2014)
Alastair Crooke investigates the historical roots of ISIS ideology and plans in Wahhabism. He demonstrates divisions within Saudi Arabia's ruling elite, and the concomitant internal tensions over ISIS, which stem from the historical duality of Saudi policy and the influence of Wahhabism. The study also traces the tenets of Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine, and reveals the similarities and differences between Wahhabism and ISIS. 

Islamic State turns radical Islam on Syria Muslims (27 September 2014) 
“As Islamic State militants advanced in the Syrian province of Deir al-Zor last month, those who had held out against them faced a simple choice: beg for mercy or face certain death.”

The Challenges in Defeating ISIS (27 August 2014)
John L. Esposito writes about the required short- and long-term responses to ultimately defeat ISIS. He outlines the circumstances and conditions that radicalized the situation, enhanced the ability of foreign jihadists, and intensified sectarian divisions in Syria and Iraq. Esposito reveals primary factors for most types of extremist behavior and drivers of radicalization.

Found: The Islamic State's Terror Laptop of Doom (28 August 2014)
After the January 2014 attack against ISIS in Idlib, Syria, Abu Ali—a commander of a moderate Syrian rebel group in northern Syria—found a computer that belonged to a Tunisian Jihadist. This computer was in fact "a treasure trove of documents that provide ideological justifications for jihadi organizations -- and practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State's deadly campaigns." Moreover, the documents show that ISIS is trying to develop biological weapons. 

Prevent IS From Staying in Syria (28 August 2014)
Syria will not benefit from western intervention unless the opposition unites. “This cannot be done merely through press conferences demanding military intervention, but requires immediate and practical military and political steps.” 

ISIS and the Crisis of Meaning (28 August 2014)
Paul Brandeis Raushenbush highlights the role of a lack of a sense of meaning and purpose in life, and the experience of alienation within one's society, in driving young people to join ISIS. He also shows how ISIS is using the need of belonging and identity as a means to recruit those fighters. He ends with suggesting solutions to offer meaning to youth. 

Al Qaeda’s New Front: Jihadi Rap (31 Augustus 2014)
Amil Khan investigates the background of some Jihadists who joined ISIS. Khan claims to show similarities between Gangsta rap and Islamist extremism.

One weapon against ISIS brutality emerges in Arab world: Satire (1 September 2014)
"Television networks across the Middle East have begun airing cartoons and comedy programs using satire to criticize the group and its claims of representing Islam"

Syria: Evidence of Islamic State Cluster Munition Use (1 September 2014)
“Credible evidence has emerged that Islamic State forces used ground-fired cluster munitions in at least one location in northern Syria in recent weeks.” The Arabic translation is available here.

Is ISIS Bankrolling Terrorist Activities with Stolen Antiquities? (2 September 2014)
Besides looting banks, military supplies, ransoms, oil fields, and refineries, some journalists are suggesting that ISIS is increasing its income from smuggling a large number of priceless antiquities pillaged from archaeological digs in the occupied territories

ISIS’ Antiquities Sideline (2 September 2014)
Amr al-Azm, Salam al-Kuntar, and Brian I. Daniels report back from southern Turkey, where they were training Syrian activists and museum staff preservationists to document and protect their country’s cultural heritage. The three experts write about ISIS involvement in the illicit antiquities trade according to those who are working and living in areas currently under ISIS control.

ISIS and al-Qaeda: Similarities and differences (2 September, 2014)
As'ad AbuKhalil outlines the Similarities and differences between the “phenomenon” of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda which stems from the fact that they both are “the product of the Wahhabi Saudi ideology”.

The rise of Isis: Terror group now controls an area the size of Britain, expert claims  (3 September 2014)
According to Ian Johnston, "one of the more surprising sources of revenue for Isis is the trading of antiquities, some up to 8,000 years old, from which they are thought to have made around $36 million (£21.8 million) from just one region of Syria."

ISIS Is a Disgrace to True Fundamentalism (3 September 2014)
Slavoj Zizek analyzes the emergence of ISIS as a case of “perverted modernization” and compares it with the West and other fundamentalists, calling ISIS “pseudo-fundamentalists” and a disgrace to true fundamentalism, because “by fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation.”

The Islamic State and the Cost of Governing (4 September 2014)
Mona Alami writes about the budgetary constraints that might hinder the group’s expansionist aims. For her, "the Islamic State cannot rule in the long run without governing, which requires building some semblance of infrastructure and ensuring a steady flow of services." The Arabic translation of this article can be found here.

Gruesome evidence of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq as Islamic State moves to wipe out minorities (2 September 2014)
Amnesty International claims that "fresh evidence uncovered by Amnesty International indicates that members of the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) have launched a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, carrying out war crimes, including mass summary killings and abductions, against ethnic and religious minorities." The Arabic translation of this report can be found here

ISIS too extreme for the extremists?  (5 September 2014)
“A European Jihadist tells Clarissa Ward why he left Syria.”  

Intelligence Gaps Crippled Mission in Syria to Rescue Hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff (5 September 2014)
Adam Entous, Julian E. Barnes and Siobhan Gorman write about the covert operation by Army Delta Force commandos in eastern Syria to neutralize the ISIS guards and rescue American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and other hostages. 

Deradicalization Programs Are the Wrong Response to the Islamic State (5 September 2014)
Natasha Lennard criticizes the “deradicalization strategy” to combat terrorism, because it puts ideology above practicality.

IS Back in Business
Peter Harling explains how aggressive ISIS/ISIL really is and how they have shocked the world with their ruthless ideology and become major players in the Middle Eastern region. 

Al-Qaeda's Zawahri eyes India but stays silent on Islamic State (5 September 2014)
Bruce Riedel writes about the last announced plans by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri to expand his organization into India. Riedel remarks how al-Zawahri refrained from criticizing the rival Islamic State's advances in Iraq and Syria. 

An American Citizen Might Be Helping the Islamic State With Social Media (5 September 2014)
Kayla Ruble writes about how "an American-Syrian dual citizen, who is on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list and has been on the lam since 2006, may in fact be one of the players behind the Islamic State's extremely savvy social media campaign."

Robert Fisk on Isis campaign: Bingo! Here’s another force of evil to be ‘vanquished’  (11 September 2014)
Robert Fisk argues that “Barack Obama did the lot. And now he’s taking America to war in Syria as well as Iraq. Oh yes, and he’s going to defeat Isis, its ‘barbarism’, ‘genocide’, its ‘warped ideology’ – until the bad guys are ‘vanquished from the earth.’ What happened to George W Bush?”

Five Hidden Risks of U.S. Action Against the Islamic State (11 September 2014)
Frederic Wehrey questions the American administration’s four-pronged strategy of air strikes to fight ISIS.

Obama’s Strategic Gambles in Syria and Iraq (11 September 2014)
According to Lina Khatib, Obama’s strategy is a positive step forward after years of relative inaction on part of the United States, but it is far from comprehensive.

What Did President Obama Leave Out of His Speech on the Islamic State? (12 September 2014)
Kathryn Striffolino criticizes the discrimination of the international community in their obligations to prevent and respond to the human rights abuses being committed in Syria and Iraq by focusing on ISIS and ignoring other parties.

Syrian Kurds Ally With Rebel Groups To Fight The Islamic State (12 September 2014)
John Beck writes about the new coalition named Burkan al-Forat (Euphrates Volcano) between the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Islamic Front (IF), and US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Syria to fight against in Syria their common enemy, ISIS.

Exclusive: ISIS Starts Recruiting in Istanbul’s Vulnerable Suburbs (12 September 2014)
Alev Scott and Alexander Christie-Miller write about the organized recruiting network operating in Turkey targeting young men from Sunni Muslim and the fear of violent struggle inside Turkey. 

ISIS Strikes Deal With Moderate Syrian Rebels: Report (12 September 2014)
"As the United States begins to deepen ties with moderate Syrian rebels to combat the extremist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, a key component of its coalition appears to have struck a non-aggression pact with the group."

Iraq and Syria’s Poetic Borders (13 September 2014)
Despite the claims of the ISIS conquest narrative, the borders of Syria and Iraq aren't purely the product of Western colonialism.

Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State (14 September 2014)
Y. Carmon, Y. Yehoshua, and A. Leone analyze the IS's doctrine based on the organization's official writings and speeches by its leaders. They claim, "Unlike Al-Qaeda, the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage"

To Stop ISIS in Syria, Support Aleppo (14 September 2014)
Jean-Marie Guehenno and Noah Bonsey write about the necessity of supporting the moderate Syrian opposition in Aleppo as an “effective strategy for halting, and eventually reversing, ISIS’ expansion.” 

Jordanians divided over anti-IS coalition (15 September 2014)
Osama Al Sharif writes about the heated internal debate in Jordan after Jordan’s decision to join the US-led coalition to fight the Islamic State.

What a U.S. strike on Syria would mean for Assad (15 September 2014)
Joshua Landis and Steven Heydemann provide their insight on the US strikes on ISIS in Syria and its effect on the Asad regime.

People Facing Death: ISIL, Vietnam, and the Impact of Images (15 September 2014)
An interview with Barbie Zelizer, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania, and an expert in the cultural functions of journalism, and the power of the visual. 

What a U.S. strike on Syria would mean for Assad (15 September 2014)
Joshua Landis and Steven Heydemann provide their insight on the US strikes on ISIS in Syria and its effect on the Asad regime. 

Which Islam? (15 September 2014)
With the emergences of ISIS, many voices claimed that “ISIS” does not represent Islam, but who does? As'ad AbuKhalil criticizes the misrepresentation and misunderstanding of Islam in Western media. “neither ISIS, nor John Kerry nor al-Azhar and certainly not the Saudi ruling dynasty speak on behalf of “the true Islam.” 

US strikes in Syria won’t turn locals against Islamic State (16 September 2014)
Contrary to widespread belief, Edward Dark writes argues the Islamic State has largely succeeded in winning hearts and minds in the areas it rules by providing services and order. 

Alan Henning: Syria trips were worthwhile, says hostage (18 September 2014)
Catrin Nye interviews Majid Freeman, a friend of Alan Henning, who urged ISIS to release Mr. Henning. 

As U.S. strikes loom, Syrian civilians fear becoming collateral damage (18 September 2014)
US strikes that wish to target ISIS/ISIL have many Syrians panicking and fleeing cities like Raqqa in fear of being impacted by the blast(s).  

Is Syrian army US' best option against IS? (18 September 2014)
Too many uncertainties about "moderate" Syrian rebels make them the least effective option for confronting the Islamic State, leaving the Syrian regime the only realistic alternative. Edward Dark writes about the best available ally on the ground. The Arabic translation of this article can be found here.

Islamic State militants seize Kurdish villages in northern Syria (18 September 2014)
Rights activists say 21 villages have fallen to ISIS fighters advancing on Kobani, prompting appeal for military aid from other Kurds.

The anatomy of ISIS: How the 'Islamic State' is run, from oil to beheadings (18 September 2014)
Nick Thompson and Atika Shubert write about ISIS government structures in parts of Syria and Iraq: “ISIS has gone from being a purely military force to building a system that can provide basic services, such as making sure that gas and food are available, to its new citizens.”

To confront the Islamic State, seek a truce in Syria (18 September 2014)
According to Yezid Sayigh, “As a core coalition led by the United States gears up to confront the militant Islamic State with action in Iraq, there is a rare opportunity to engineer a truce in Syria.” The Arabic original of this article can be found here.

Islamic State Changes Tactics in New Hostages Video (18 September 2014)
Jason Mojica analyzes the latest hostage video produced by ISIS, in which British journalist John Cantlie speaks directly to the camera in a relaxed tone.

Who is the English speaker in ISIS video 'Flames of War'? (19 September 2014)
The US intelligence community is focused on one jihadist who appears briefly at the end of a fifty-five-minute video released by ISIS. “The ISIS fighter, who speaks perfect English with a North American accent, is shown orchestrating the mass execution of a group of men.”

Islamic State Documentary Style Video Says the 'Flames of War' Have Just Begun (19 September 2014)
Kayla Ruble writes about "Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun," a new full-length documentary released by ISIS.

'They Made Us Take the Seat of Death': Meet a man executed by the Islamic State -- who survived. (19 September 2014)
Lauren Bohn interviews seventee-year-old Khidir from Kocho, about fifteen miles southwest of the town of Sinjar, who survived after pretending being dead.

Back and Forth, Wearily, Across the ISIS Border (20 September 2014)
Kirk Semple reports on the suffering of civilians who are moving between Iraqi Kurdistan and the territory under the control of the extremist militants of the Islamic State.

The War on ISIS: Views From Syrian Activists and Intellectuals (20 September 2014)
Danny Postel asks several Syrians (Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Iyas Kadouni, Rasha Qass Yousef, Kassem Eid, a.k.a. Qusai Zakarya, Yasser Munif, Firas Massouh, Rasha Othman, and  Khorshid Mohammad)—longtime activists and intellectuals from a range of backgrounds, including Kurdish, Palestinian, and Assyrian Christian— about their opinion on the ISIS crisis and Western intervention.

Back and Forth, Wearily, Across the ISIS Border (20 September 2014)
Kirk Semple reports on the suffering of civilians who are moving between Iraqi Kurdistan and the territory under the control of the extremist militants of the Islamic State.

Who's Funding ISIS? Wealthy Gulf 'Angel Investors,' Officials Say (21 September 2014)
Robert Windrem writes about a major source of revenue for ISIS, that is, fundraisers in the Gulf-- particularly in Kuwait and Qatar -- who are soliciting donations to fund extremist insurgents.

How the Islamic State Took Turkey Hostage (21 September 2014)
Henri J. Barkey writes about the constraints that hinder Turkish policy toward ISIS: “The 49 Turkish diplomats captured by the jihadist group in Mosul may now be free, but Ankara still has many reasons to think twice about confronting the extremists on its border.”

Worse Than ISIS? A Primer on the Khorasan Group (23 September 2014)
US warplanes struck a cluster of sites in Syria early Tuesday. These targets were outside of ISIS’s purview in west of Aleppo. Me Dan Kedmey writes about the Khorasan group, the other group targeted by US airstrikes.

Reach Out to Arab Tribes in Eastern Syria (23 September 2014)
Andrew J. Tabler writes about the strategic necessity to reach out to Arab tribes that historically dominate eastern Syria.

Looking for ISIL: How jihadists operate among Turks (24 September 2014)
“With seven reporters and four photographers, daily Hürriyet traces the path to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in five Turkish cities, as well as in France and Germany. A new breed of Islamic associations that has popped up across the country seems to be one of the sources of the problem.”

Six Totally Shocking, Crazy, Outrageous Predictions About the War Against the Islamic State (24 September 2014)
Ryan Faith examines six predictions and talking points to be seen in the coming weeks and months with the initiation of the war against the Islamic State in Syrian and Iraq.

The Fight of Their Lives (29 September 2014)
Dexter Filkins writes about aspects of the agendas of the Kurds and the White House regarding fighting ISIS.

Thank You for Bombing (24 September 2014)
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross writes for Foreign Policy about how al Qaeda might be the biggest winner of America's airstrikes on the Islamic State.

Iraq: Lawyer and human rights defender Samira Saleh Al-Naimi executed by ISIS in Mosul (23 September 2014)
The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) executed Samira Saleh Al-Naimi, a lawyer and human rights defender in the city of Mosul, Iraq.

Here's Obama’s legal case for bombing Syria (23 September 2014)
On 23 September, the United States began to bomb targets in Syria. That same day, Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, sent a letter with two major arguments to Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon notifying him, and the Security Council.

ISIS’ Harsh Brand of Islam Is Rooted in Austere Saudi Creed (24 September 2014)
David D. Kirkpatrick discussed the roots of ISIS in Wahhabism, “The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group’s territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.”

The Myth of Religious Violence (24 September 2014)

Karen Armstrong goes beyond ISIS, to history, to clear misconceptions about religion and violence, borrowing from European history regarding Religious wars, secularism, and the experience of the developing world.

 

Arabic Articles          

تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية على أبواب مدينة عبد القادر الصالح
Al-Monitor reports about the current tension in Marea, the birthplace of Abdul Qader Saleh, the military commander of the al-Tawhid Brigade, after the last offensive by ISIS in the Aleppo countryside on 13 August 2014. The English translation for this article can be found here.

هل ستدخل أمريكا عسكرياً في سوريا لمحاربة داعشهل ستدخل أمريكا 
An opinion poll inside Syria about whether the United States will military intervene in Syria to target ISIS.

مسؤولية تركيا عن بروز الخلافة الإسلامية
Between 2012 and 2013, passengers between the airport of Istanbul and the an airport south of Turkey expressed wonder over seeing bearded young men traveling freely and disappearing from sight as soon as they came out of airports in Hatay and Gaziantep. Obviously, they were foreign “Mujahideen” who had come there in order to join the war in Syria without being stopped by the Turkish police.

هزيمة الدولة الإسلامية تتطلب تسوية سعودية- إيرانية
According to Lina Khatib, the success of any U.S. effort to establish an international coalition to counter the Islamic State will depend on whether Saudi Arabia and Iran can compromise. 

"داعش" ينغمس ترغيباً وترغيباً..والنظام السوري ينزف
Ibrahim Hamidi writes about three political levels behind the endeavor of the American administration to form a strategic alliance to fight ISIS

في سبيل معرفة التطرف  النسائي ومحاربته: نساء داعش
Recent reports indicate that a group of women formed a battalion within the ISIS, which challenge the assumption that women are, by nature, more peaceful than men; and that women who involved in armed conflict are merely a fuel for wars undertaken by the man...

كمؤشر على انحسار تيار الاسلام السياسي «داعش»
Mohamed Sayed Rassas writes about the emergence of ISIS as an indicator of the reflux of the  political Islam.

 ما هو رأي السوريين حول وجود مقاتلين أجانب وماهي تأثيراتهم في سوريا ما هو رأي السوريي
An opinion poll inside Syria about the presence of foreign fighters and their effects in Syria.

 مواجهة الدولة الإسلامية
Hassan Hassan writes about the recent developments on ground in a preparation for a coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS. Hassan highlights the vital role of local forces in this process. The English translation of this article can be found here.

 تركيا تمتنع عن الانضمام إلى التحالف الأمريكي في وجه تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية
“Turkey’s caveat on the Islamic State; Russia’s Syria cards; Iran on outside of US coalition; the US turnaround on the Syrian opposition; Al-Monitor’s first long-form piece.” An English translation of this article can be found here.

صفقة أردوغان مع " داعش": إطلاق الرهائن مقابل عدم انضمام تركيا إلى التحالف الدولي              
Youssef al-Sharif writes about the deal between Erdogan and ISIS that led to the release of 46 Turkish hostages from Mosul through Isis-held territory in Syria to Turkey.

تركيا على خطى باكستان: من معبر لـ"المجاهدين" إلى مستقرٍ لهم
Khalid Suleiman writes for Al-Hayat about the Turkish role in supporting foreign jihadists in their way to fight in Syria, and how the current Turkish policy is similar to that of Pakistan during the 1980s.

داعش في طرابلس
Tension is mounting in Tripoli after the assassination of Faisal Aswad, allegedly by ISIS, because he explicitly opposed extremism in Tripoli. 

تقدم داعش في كوباني يثير الشكوك والتساؤلات
Mohammed al-Khatib writes about The Islamic State’s offensive against the Kurdish stronghold of Kobani, which happened “only days after the People’s Protection Units formed an alliance with local Syrian rebel brigades to confront the terrorist group.” The English translation for this article can be found here.

من هي "جماعة خراسان".. ولماذا استهدفتها أميركا؟
Abdullah Sulaiman Ali investigates the reality of "the Khorasan group," an ambiguous group was allegedly preparing for a "terrorist attack" according to U.S. officials.

 

Events 

Beyond religion: ISIS and the crisis in the Middle East
Ghias Aljundi, writer and human rights activist, Charles Tripp, SOAS and Nadje Al-Ali, SOAS
Date and Time : 26 September 2014, 5:00pm / Location: London

The event will give the SOAS community and members of the public the opportunity to listen to and engage with 3 speakers specialised in the Middle East who will all address ISIS and the recent crisis in the Middle East.

 

A Strategy for Fighting the Islamic State
Lina Khatib, Sarkis Naoum, Yezid Sayigh
Date and Time: 24 September 2014, 4:00pm / Location: Beirut

Following the US announcement of a strategy against the Islamic State, the Carnegie Middle East Center will hold a talk with director Lina Khatib and Annahar’s senior columnist Sarkis Naoum to analyze the direction of American foreign policy and the creation of an international coalition to tackle the Syrian-Iraqi crisis. The discussion will address regional cooperation between Arab countries, especially Gulf actors. Carnegie’s Yezid Sayigh will moderate.

 

Documentaries, Special Reports, and Other Media

A Rogue State Along Two Rivers: How ISIS Came to Control Large Portions of Syria and Iraq (3 July 2014)
"The militant group called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seemed to surprise many American and Iraqi officials with the recent gains it made in its violent campaign to create a new religious state. But the rapid-fire victories achieved over a few weeks in June were built on months of maneuvering along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers."

United Against Islamic State (29 August 29 2014)
An interactive graphic about Strange Bedfellows and how “Fear over the spread of Islamic State means parties often at odds now share a common enemy.”

The Spread of the Caliphate: The Islamic State (Part 1)
“Dairieh heads to the frontline in Raqqa, where Islamic State fighters are laying siege to the Syrian Army's division 17 base.”

Grooming Children for Jihad: The Islamic State (Part 2)
“VICE News' exclusive look at the emergence of the Islamic State. Dairieh also gains further insight into the minds of Islamic State fighters as they host celebrations and military parades featuring American tanks and APCs seized from the Iraqi army”

Enforcing Sharia in Raqqa: The Islamic State (Part 3)
In Part 3 of these series, “The Islamic State, VICE News joins them on their daily patrols during Ramadan, and witnesses how they check on shops and scrutinize produce, while at the same time ensuring their strict rules on women's appearances are adhered to.”

Christians in the Caliphate: The Islamic State (Part 4)
“In part 4 of The Islamic State, VICE News visits the Sharia courts where those accused of infractions are sentenced to harsh

Bulldozing the Border Between Iraq and Syria: The Islamic State  (Part 5)
Dairieh journeys 200 miles from the group's power base in the Syrian city of Raqqa to the border with Iraq. There, after defeating the Iraqi army manning the checkpoint, Islamic State fighters work further to bulldoze the border.”

The Islamic State (Full Length) (14 August 2014)  
“VICE News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings”.

ISIS End Game, Ebola Break-In, Inside Riker’s Prison & On-the-Ground in Ferguson (19 August 2014)
Phyllis Bennis, director at the Institute for Policy Studies, discusses ISIS’ roots, tactics, goals and how the group can be stopped without blowing up more of Iraq on Breaking the Set with Abby Martin.

مشاهير داعش: من هم ولماذا التحقوا به
“Celebrities of ISIS: Who are they and why joined it?” (1 September 2014) 
Masked fighters who killed and decapitaed their victims in cold blood. They came from democractic countries to join ISIS. This is the story of the most famous figures who joined ISIS,  a rapper , cloth merchant and the first British woman fighter.

ISIS jihadis blowing themselves up and rejecting radio as un-Islamic - welcome to Iraqi TV's cartoon satire on terror (1 September 2014)
John Hall writes about the television networks in the Middle East that "have started showing a Looney Tunes-style cartoon poking fun at militant Islamists fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq".

The Iraq-ISIS Conflict in Maps, Photos, and Video (9 September 2014)
“Having occupied crucial sections of Syria over the past year and more recently seizing vast areas of Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria controls territory greater than many countries and now rivals Al Qaeda as the world’s most powerful jihadist group”

How ISIS Works (16 September 2014)
"The jihadist group has oil revenues, arms and organization, controls vast stretches of Syria and Iraq and aspires to statehood" 

New Illegal War Begins, Surveillance Overhaul & Chris Hedges Breaks the Set
Abby Martin Breaks the Set on War with ISIS, NSA Whistleblowers & An Impending Climate Change Revolt.

U.S. and Arab partners begin air war against Islamic State in Syria – Part 1
“The United States began a campaign of airstrikes against the Islamic State, aimed at more than a dozen locations in Northern Syria and assisted by regional Arab nations. Separately, near Aleppo, the U.S. alone targeted another group, Khorasan, an organization of veteran al-Qaida operatives that presented an active threat to the U.S. Judy Woodruff reports”.

Constancy of U.S. leadership is concern for some anti-Islamic State coalition partners – Part 2
“Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner joins Judy Woodruff from the United Nations to discuss the international reaction to the new campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, and to offer some additional background on the latest American target, the Khorasan group.”

How do airstrikes on Islamic State complicate the war in Syria? – Part 3
“Judy Woodruff gets analysis of how the airstrikes will complicate an already complicated war in Syria from Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma and retired Col. Derek Harvey of the University of South Florida”. 

The richest man in Saudi Arabia on oil, Isis and Murdoch
An interview with Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud who supports the military campaign against ISIS, “Each killing by Isis that takes place is unfortunate, but hopefully every time it happens the world will be more united in eradicating this disease that's infecting the whole Middle East."

Here Are Pictures Showing The Aftermath Of US Strikes In Syria
A map shows the targets of the American airstrikes in Syria. The pictures and videos show these targets before and after being hit with Tomahawk missiles.

Photographer Captures Tens of Thousands Fleeing ISIS, Entering Turkey (21 September 2014)
Learning of a refugee flood, National Geographic contributing photographer John Stanmeyer, went to the border to document the plight of refugees there.

The richest man in Saudi Arabia on oil, Isis and Murdoch (22 September 2014)
An interview with Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud who supports the military campaign against ISIS, “"Each killing by Isis that takes place is unfortunate, but hopefully every time it happens the world will be more united in eradicating this disease that's infecting the whole Middle East."

New Illegal War Begins, Surveillance Overhaul & Chris Hedges Breaks the Set (23 September 2014)
Abby Martin Breaks the Set on War with ISIS, NSA Whistleblowers & An Impending Climate Change Revolt.

U.S. and Arab partners begin air war against Islamic State in Syria – Part 1 (23 September 2014)
“The United States began a campaign of airstrikes against the Islamic State, aimed at more than a dozen locations in Northern Syria and assisted by regional Arab nations. Separately, near Aleppo, the U.S. alone targeted another group, Khorasan, an organization of veteran al-Qaida operatives that presented an active threat to the U.S. Judy Woodruff reports”.

Constancy of U.S. leadership is concern for some anti-Islamic State coalition partners – Part 2 (23 September 2014)
“Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner joins Judy Woodruff from the United Nations to discuss the international reaction to the new campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, and to offer some additional background on the latest American target, the Khorasan group.”

How do airstrikes on Islamic State complicate the war in Syria? – Part 3 (23 September 2014)
“Judy Woodruff gets analysis of how the airstrikes will complicate an already complicated war in Syria from Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma and retired Col. Derek Harvey of the University of South Florida”. 

Here Are Pictures Showing The Aftermath Of US Strikes In Syria (23 September 2014)
A map shows the targets of the American airstrikes in Syria. The pictures and videos show these targets before and after being hit with Tomahawk missiles.

U.S. airstrikes hit ISIS inside Syria for first time (September 23, 2014)
CNN reports about the first American airstrikes against at least 20 targets in an around Raqqa.

Haitham Manaa` ISIS Reports (Links Below)
In this comprehensive research series, Haitham Mannaa writes about ISIS, its emergence, ideology, and funds. 

خلافة داعش من هجرات الوهم إلى بحيرات الدم
http://sihr.net/khilafat-daeesh/

خلافة داعش :صناعة التوحش
http://sihr.net/2-khilafat-daeesh/

خلافة داعش: اضطرابات الرؤيا وغشاوة البصيرة
http://sihr.net/daeesh-third-part/ 

خلافة داعش: شبكات التمويل والدعم
http://sihr.net/daeesh-4/

خلافة داعش: ماذا عن المستقبل؟
http://sihr.net/daeesh-5th-part/

 

Book 

The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising (18 September 2014)
Patrick Cockburn analyzes the unfolding of one of the West’s greatest foreign policy debacles and the rise of ISIS in this new book.

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