Evolution Of The Islamic State

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Introduction The so-called “Islamic State,” also known as ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), has captivated the world’s attention as of late. Its brutal tactics, vehement opposition to western-influenced societal norms, and ultra-radical interpretation of Sharia law have sent scholars, journalists, government officials, and ordinary citizens into a frenzy trying to comprehend this troubling phenomenon. ISIS is responsible for countless atrocities to include horrific beheadings, immolation, and chilling video releases of hostages and ominous threats. It has proven keenly adept at recruiting new members to its cause; these members hail from many regions around the globe. Led by the…show more content…
The combination of these factors has greatly influenced the coalescence and successes of ISIS thus far. Furthermore, I agree with Dr. Paul Staniland of the University of Chicago in determining that ISIS represents what can be considered a vanguard insurgent organization, and has the potential to coalesce into an integrated one in the future. Finally, ISIS shares several key similarities and differences with notable Islamic political organizations and insurgent networks of the past few to include the Palestinian Hamas and the Afghan Taliban. To properly analyze these factors of development, relevant theoretical framework will be highlighted including insurgent cohesion and development, alliance formation in civil wars and the factors determining levels of insurgent violence. Second, a comparative study of the previously mentioned organizations will be utilized to cross-examine ISIS’ composition and behavior. Similarities and differences in organizational structure and methodology between the case studies will be correlated. Finally, using existing theory as well as relevant data from the case studies will lead to determining whether ISIS is truly unique or merely a facsimile of other radical Islamic political insurgencies progressing through a certain stage of development. The case studies
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