5 Stories You Should Read to Really Understand the Islamic State

  1. 1.
    The hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants? Saddam Hussein’s, by Liz Sly
    http://wapo.st/1Odmmql // Yes, there has been a huge influx of foreign fighters joining the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But the real decision makers aren't foreigners, but former members of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime.
  2. 2.
    The U.S.-Islamic State propaganda wars, by Greg Miller and Scott Higham
    http://wapo.st/1MPrkKI // Islamic extremist propaganda went from Osama bin Laden's long sermons from a cave to highly produced Islamic State recruiting videos. The U.S., on the other hand, tried to counter or thwart the extremist message but is still struggling. Even though the United States has killed Osama bin Laden and thwarted mass-casualty attacks after Sept.11, "Al-Qaeda’s brand of militant ideology, however, has only spread."
  3. 3.
    Life under the Islamic State: Spoils for the rulers, terror for the ruled, by Kevin Sullivan
    http://wapo.st/1j5918g // "The Islamic State has drawn tens of thousands of people from around the world by promising paradise in the Muslim homeland it has established on conquered territory in Syria and Iraq," writes Sullivan. But the reality is quite different:
  4. 4.
    In Libya, the Islamic State’s black banner rises by the Mediterranean, by Missy Ryan
    http://wapo.st/1PM0tzY // In the time after Moammar Gaddafi was removed from power, the Islamic State has built a stronghold in the region. Sirte, the hometown of Gaddafi, today is "a subdued, fearful place, residents say, where the streets are deserted after dusk. Militants have closed banks and schools. Music and smoking are outlawed, and violations of minor rules are met with fines or beatings. More ominous, Islamic State fighters have shown levels of violence previously unseen in Libya."
  5. 5.
    An American family saved their son from joining the Islamic State. Now he might go to prison, by Adam Goldman
    http://wapo.st/1HVwUWg // A teenager from Texas tries to join the Islamic State, makes it to Turkey, but then calls his father and says: "I want to come home." 19-year-old Asher Abid Khan does make it home, but now faces up to 30 years in prison.