Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate

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9780863561955: Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate
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Islamic State stunned the world when it overran an area the size of Britain on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border in a matter of weeks and proclaimed the birth of a new Caliphate. In this timely and important book, Abdel Bari Atwan draws on his unrivalled knowledge of the global jihadi movement and Middle Eastern geopolitics to reveal the origins and modus operandi of Islamic State. Based on extensive field research and exclusive interviews with IS insiders, Atwan outlines the group's leadership structure, as well as its strategies, tactics and diverse methods of recruitment. He traces the Salafi-jihadi lineage of IS, its ideological differences with al-Qa'ida and the deadly rivalry that has emerged between their leaders. Atwan also shows how the group's rapid growth has been facilitated by its masterful command of social media platforms, the 'dark web', Hollywood 'blockbuster'-style videos, and even jihadi computer games, producing a powerful paradox where the ambitions of the Middle Ages have re-emerged in cyber-space.As Islamic State continues to dominate the world's media headlines with horrific acts of ruthless violence, Atwan considers the movement's chances of survival and expansion, and offers indispensable insights on potential government responses to contain the IS threat.

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About the Author:

Abdel Bari Atwan is a Palestinian writer and journalist. He was the editor-in-chief at the London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi for twenty-five years and now edits the Rai al-Youm news website - the Arab world's first Huffington Post-style outlet. He is a regular contributor to a number of publications, including the Guardian and Scottish Herald, and is a frequent guest on radio and television, including regular stints on the BBC's Dateline London. Atwan interviewed Osama bin Laden twice in the late 1990s and has cultivated uniquely well-placed sources from within the various branches of al-Qa'ida and other jihadi groups, including IS, over the last twenty years. His other books include The Secret History of al-Qa'ida and After bin Laden: Al-Qa'ida, The Next Generation, as well as a memoir, A Country of Words: A Palestinian Journey from the Refugee Camp to the Front Page. www.bariatwan.com

Review:

'This is a brave and important book ... If you want to understand what motivates those prepared to behead hostages and post the results on the internet, then this book is a must-read.' Gavin Esler 'In his book, based on visits to the Turkish-Syrian border, online interviews with jihadists, and the access to leaders he enjoys as one of the Arab world's most respected journalists, Atwan draws a convincing picture of the Islamic State ... An authoritative account' New York Review of Books 'Impeccable and authoritative ... Atwan has written a book that is accessible to the lay reader while casting new and invaluable insights ... Any reader who wants to know what makes the Islamic State group tick would do well to start here.' The Herald 'Atwan, one of the leading analysts on the modern Middle East, delivers a uniquely informed, crisply argued and excellent account of the world's most powerful terrorist organization.' Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad 'Comprehensive and well-researched ... Atwan has thrown considerable light on the IS phenomenon, explaining its origins, leadership and organisation ... This outstanding book tells us how it all started.' Business Standard

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