The Islamist Phoenix – Loretta Napoleoni (2014)

Tells the stunning success story of IS in Iraq and Syria and explains the drivers behind the creation of a  Caliphate that, under the leadership of Al-Baghdadi, invites all Sunni Muslims to join the new Holy Land. IS has made maximum use of the total chaos in the region, the fitna (civil war) within the Islamic community between Sunni’s and Shi’ites and has surprised the divided, indecisive, ill-prepared West with its brutal message that appeals to so many. IS’ goal is nothing less than a new ethnic-religious nation (Napoleoni makes the comparison with the early years of the creation of Israel). This is what sets IS apart from Al Qaida and other terrorist group: its structured efforts to build a community, a nation on ‘holy ground’, based on historic claims and using modern welfare state arrangements as well as social media to spread its message. If IS will not itself last long, this new type of brutal terrorism is here to stay and has forever changed the Middle Eastern landscape. Unfortunately, the world is still looking for an adequate response.