In a fascinating LSE public lecture, expert speaker on the Middle East Professor Fawaz Gerges traced the emergence of ISIS as a political force. You can listen to a podcast of Fawaz’ talk here. Below are some of the key points that stood out for me:
- ISIS was born out of the remnants of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
- But unlike Al Qaeda, its strategic focus until recently was the “near enemy” rather than the “far enemy”.
- The failure of the Arab Uprisings, very high levels of corruption, poverty and unemployment (of the 320m people in the Middle East, c. 30-40% are unemployed) have made it possible for ISIS to recruit in such large numbers.
- ISIS has used the political vacuum created by the collapse of the state system and political institutions in the Middle East to its advantage.
- ISIS will be physically defeated, but the real danger is that their ideology continues to live on.
You can purchase ISIS: A History by Fawaz Gerges now.
To find out more about Fawaz and to book him for your next event, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0044 (0) 7809609529.