The rise of ISIS, explained in 6 minutes

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“Islamic state of iraq and syria is a phenomenon nso terrible and shocking. It seems seems impossible. It controls an area the size of the united nkingdom commits mass atrocities launches terror attacks abroad to understand isis. It helps to tell the story nof its rise that story begins far away and many years nbefore isis existed in 1979.

The soviet union invades afghanistan nto defend a puppet dictator against rebels young men from the mideast flock to join the nrebels many see it as a religious struggle and some ndevelop extremist views among them is a well educated young saudi nnamed osama. Bin laden also in afghanistan is a semi literate. Former nstreet thug from jordan named abu. Musab zarqawi.

They do not get along and never will but nwill create the groups. We today know as al qaeda. And as isis the soviets withdraw in 1989 and the arab nfighters return home bin laden grows. Al qaeda into a global network nto continue the struggle against islam s enemies zarqawi forms his own group.

But it fizzles nboth men later return to afghanistan now ruled by the taliban. On september 11. 2001. Al qaeda attacks america nfrom its base.

There the us invades afghanistan and bin laden. Flees nto. Pakistan. Zarqawi still obscure flees to a remote and lawless corner of iraq two years later the us does something that nwill transform the middle east and set the stage for isis it invades iraq.

The americans topple saddam hussein s secular nsunni dictatorship and disbands..

The iraqi army thousands of sunni iraqi soldiers angry and nunemployed join the insurgency jihadist groups also sunni see this as a nrepeat of the soviet invasion of afghanistan. And again flood in to fight. Zarqawi. Is among nthem zarqawi s group.

Becomes. Iraq s most ruthless nhe. Especially. Attacks.

Shia iraq s majority deliberately. Sparking a sunni shia civil war by 2004. Zarqawi is a jihadist superstar. Al qaeda.

Isolated and weakened attempts nto bolster its image by forming an alliance with zarqawi s group. Which becomes known nas. Al qaeda in iraq. But in 2006.

Iraq s sunnis rise up against nzarqawi and the us kills. Him in an air strike over the next. Few years. Al qaeda.

In iraq is nlargely..

Defeated. The americans withdraw in 2011. From an iraq. Nthat.

Finally looks stable in 2011. The arab spring. Spreads across the nmiddle east. In syria.

Bashar. Al assad cracks down violently on protesters. They eventually fire back. Leading to civil nwar assad fears the world will intervene against him so he releases jihadists en masse from syrian nprisons tinging.

The rebels with extremism and making it harder for foreigners to back nthem back in iraq. What little remains of zarqawi s ngroup is still allied with al qaeda. But now known as the islamic state in iraq. It s led by a bookish religious scholar.

Who ncalls himself. Abu bakr al baghdadi in early 2012. Baghdadi sends a top deputy nto syria to start a new al qaeda branch to fight alongside the rebels jabhat al nusra baghdadi also attacks a series of prisons nin iraq they free former jihadists and recruit new ones growing stronger in april 2013 baghdadi announces. He is taking ncontrol of all al qaeda allied forces in syria and iraq his group expands into syria becoming the nislamic state of iraq.

And syria..

Or isis. Al qaeda. Rejects baghdadi s power. Grab.

And nin. 2014. Formally. Exiles him the two jihadist groups.

Long at odds are nnow at war isis grows powerful in syria in part because nassad tolerates its rise which he does because it divides his enemies within. Syria and foreign npowers are too focused on isis now to worry about assad by june 2014. Isis has built an army in syria. Nand.

It launches. A military style invasion into iraq. The iraqi army weakened by corruption folds nwith. Little fight.

Many sunnis are tired of their shia dominated nand increasingly authoritarian government and welcome or at least tolerate isis s arrival within days. Isis controls a third of iraq nand. A big part of syria isis s goal is more audacious than anything nimagined by al qaeda to revive the ancient caliphate and expand it to encompass all muslims it earnestly believes its holy war will then nbring about the apocalypse as foretold in scripture. Thousands of muslims mostly from the middle neast and from europe flock to join the group some join for religious reasons.

But many nare just disillusioned or angry and feel that isis offers them answers and a purpose isis quickly overreaches that august..

It ninvades. Kurdish territory in iraq. And syria. Sparking counter attacks from better organized nkurdish forces.

It launches a genocide against iraqi yazidis nand murders. The american journalist james foley on camera outraging. The world and provoking nan american led air campaign against it isis is unable to withstand the onslaught. Nand loses.

More than a fifth of its territory in response. It begins launching increasingly nspectacular terror. Attacks. Abroad.

Kuwait city sinai beirut. Sousse and then paris. So called lone wolves inspired by isis propaganda nalso launch attacks. Though they re often amateurish and less effective eventually isis will lose its state.

It is nsimply too weak has no allies or outside funders and is surrounded by enemies. But isis will respond by reverting to what nit was before as aqi. An insurgency and a terror group still capable of horrifying violence. ” .


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