4 different looks at Islamic State

More than a year after Islamic State took over Mosul it is easy to get used to the fact that one of the most violent, extreme and expansionist theocracies in modern history rules over 10 million people. Today I’ve collected four different articles from this week that in some way relate to the rise of IS and its horrifying treatment of its ‘citizens’.

One year on, Mosul is no closer to being recaptured (Photo: Michael Bracken

Who ‘created’ Islamic State?
This first article, claiming that the US created IS and now allows it to spread, is one that should not be taken seriously. Its ‘evidence’ is mainly made up of jumps to conclusions and twisting of the facts, and it simply is not plausible. However, it is still interesting not only because this is something many people actually believe, but also because it indirectly points out how hard IS is to understand. It is so much easier to blame everything on a conspiracy, rather than acknowledge how complex and unpredictable the world is. This is something the next article does a lot better

The mystery of ISIS
Written by an anonymous expert, this piece has won praise for being a very honest look at the rise of IS. Their success has astounded all experts on terrorism and insurgencies, and even the best theories of how this success came about lack something. Their brutality towards their own citizens, their willingness to take on armies, and their reclusive leader go against conventional wisdom on this kind of movement. There is also simply so much we don’t know about their funding and strength. The Mystery of ISIS is a fantastic look at everything we think we know.

Gay men in the Islamic State
This is a deeply disturbing story of one gay man who escaped incredible danger in IS-controlled Iraq. In the last six months the movement has filmed the murder of at least 23 gay men, who are thrown off buildings then stoned to death. While this may not be too surprising coming from such fanatics, the true horror is in how popular their actions seem to be among the population. Even before IS this man and others like him were in almost as much danger from their families and the police if their sexuality was exposed. While this man managed to escape to Lebanon, others are left to live in terror of being found out.

Turkey enters the war
After standing by and watching battles on their doorstep, Turkey is finally getting involved in the war against IS. The final straw was the IS suicide bombing that killed 30 youth activists a week ago and a subsequent cross border killing of a Turkish soldier. However, the picture is very murky, with fighting also reigniting between Kurdish militants and the Turkish army. Fierce enemies of Assad, certain Kurdish groups, and now IS, Turkey may be entering a fight with everyone in Syria at once.


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