Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

Doubleday. 2015. 368p. notes. index. ISBN 9780385538213. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385538220. POL SCI
Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Warrick (The Triple Agent) describes the genesis and development of a terrorist group that is best known in the West as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In 1999, the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of prisoners that included Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a man convicted by Jordanian authorities for masterminding terrorist activities in that country. The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 brought Zarqawi to the forefront of a lethal anti-American Sunni insurgency. Zarqawi's movement called itself al-Qaeda in Iraq. Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike against his hideout in 2006 and al-Qaeda in Iraq eventually morphed into today's ISIS. When the Syrian civil war began in 2011, ISIS took advantage of the power vacuum in Syria and Iraq by controlling strategic areas in both countries, declaring the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, and unleashing a reign of terror in the area that has resulted in countless acts of political brutality and savagery. Warrick uses a variety of documents and high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources to present a coherent history.
VERDICT An informative book for those who want to gain an understanding of one of the most dangerous extremist groups in today's world.
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