What is ISIS?

As Iraq descends into anarchy and as worries that the conflicts within that beleaguered country will spill into Syria and destabilize the entire region mount, it is time to find accurate information on ISIS. Always a good place to start is with the Council on Foreign Relations; it has published one of its “backgrounders” entitled Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria that concentrates on its origins, funding, leadership, and staying power. Other reports of interest include: Al-Qaeda in Syria: A Closer Look at ISIS (The Washington Institute); Profile: Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (BBC); ISIS: The first terror group to build an Islamic state? (CNN); Shaping Iraq’s Security Forces (CSIS); ISIS (Brookings); Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights (CRS); Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (National Counterterrorism Center); ISIS (Chatham House); ISIS (Middle East Institute); Resurgence of Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq (Strategic Studies Institute);Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy (CRS); and Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response. 9-11.-14 Update: Please review these recent CRS reports: U.S. Military Action Against the Islamic State: Answers to Frequently Asked Legal Questions, September 9, 2014;Considerations for Possible Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State, CRS Insights, September 9, 2014; and The “Islamic State” Crisis and U.S. Policy, September 10, 2014.

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