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‘Islamic State’ as a Western Phenomenon? Reimagining the IS Debate


‘Islamic State’ as a Western Phenomenon? Reimagining the IS Debate

Ramzy Baroud

No matter how one attempts to wrangle with the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) rise in Iraq and Syria, desperately seeking any political or other context that would validate the movement as an explainable historical circumstance, things refuse to add up.


Much to think about here Ramzy. Thanks.


Some excellent observations from Barzoud. It’s interesting that while he shies away from the label “conspiracy theories,” he presents some serious evidence that tends to support some positions labeled as such. For example the “IS’s lack of command over the Arabic language, efficiency in which is a requirement for making legal Islamic rulings and fatwas,” is a phenomenon of grave implications. I myself have noticed that most IS militants look generally “whiter” than the average Arab, as if they were perhaps Chechen, Turkish, or Bosnian. Add to this the fact that they have never directly attacked American, American-related, or Israeli interests, that some of their injured fighters were treated in Israeli hospitals, that their “beheading” videos are all filtered through the SITE group and its website, run by the Israeli Rita Katz, and that many experts, mostly quoted in the MSM, say that the killing in the videos is fake (a fact that has been “explained” by the MSM in rather surreal fashion), that their actions play directly in the War on Terror logic, and you have a great deal of evidence, both concrete and circumstantial, pointing to the possibility that IS is a front group .For whom?


“The crimes carried out by the Assad regime, his army and allies during the four-year long Syria civil war, and the unquenchable appetite to orchestrate a regime change in Damascus as a paramount priority made nourishing the anti-Assad forces with wannabe ‘jihadists’ justified, if not encouraged.”


Curious statement. Is author emphasizing the crimes of the Assad regime or is he referring to the “West’s” claims of crimes as justification for supporting extremist fighting the Assad government?

It seems an argument to justify the civil war between fanatics supported by foreign governments and a legitimate government. I find it hard to believe that was Baroud’s intention.


i had the same reaction. Perhaps we should write him and ask for clarification.


Karen Armstrong (New Statesman) wrote a somewhat better analysis of the origins and current status of ISIS. At least it seemed more coherent, was rooted in the history of Wahhabism, and brought in elements that were more consistent with Juan Cole’s elaborations of the history of Islam.


I’ve been trying to educate myself on the history of Islam recently. Considering that religious affiliation far outdistances any population assembled under one nationalist flag, and Islam is the predominant affiliation, it is best we understand as much as we can.