The Rise of the Islamic State
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This chapter traces the origins of Islamic State (IS) to 1999, when Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zaraqawi established Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers. The renaming of the organization as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) was a turning point in that the organization saw itself not merely as a terrorist group wreaking revenge on American “occupiers,” but also as a governing entity. This chapter explores the structures of IS and its strategic significance. The role of the IS leader Caliph Al-Baghdadi is also examined. In conclusion, we examine how IS has managed to spread its influence into Africa, the Caucasus, and the Far East.