Defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will offer Baghdad a fresh state-building opportunity to correct the mistakes following the ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003. As Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds pursue their own interests, a serious effort toward communal understanding is the key to progress.
The end of the strongman era in Iraq has led to the rise of paramilitaries representing sects and ethnicities. Popular Mobilization Units have become part of the state’s official security structure. Although the PMUs have been instrumental in the fight against ISIS, their more powerful militias pose a stark challenge to the country’s future stability.
Perceptions of the Islamic State’s attack on the Yazidis focus on the enslavement of women and girls, but the barbarous gender-based assaults on women as well as men are an integral part of the group’s campaign of genocide to eradicate a religious minority.
Beheading of men, rape, and enslavement of women—the destruction of a minority ethnic community is among the crimes committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Will the group be brought to justice for its persecution of the Yazidis?
The Islamic State group is losing territory in Iraq and Syria, but it may have staying power in one of its three permutations: ISIS is simultaneously a movement for Sunni Muslim empowerment, a global jihadist movement, and an apocalyptic cult.
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi rarely allows himself to be seen in public, hence his nicknames the “phantom” and the “invisible sheikh.” A veteran journalist pieces together the story of the most feared jihadist leader since Osama Bin Laden.