There is perhaps no greater threat to stability, security, and development in the Middle East & North Africa than the so-called "Islamic State," known colloquially both as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & al-Sham) and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant). Controlling a territory roughly the size of Great Britain and wreaking havoc in Syria, Iraq, and Iraqi Kurdistan, the terrorist organization qua "caliphate" that emerged from the remnants of Al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2013 continues to spread its hateful ideology and barbarism around the region and the globe. To better understand the success ISIS has enjoyed--in both military conquest and international recruiting--we have compiled what we believe to be a comprehensive collection of the best writing on the subject to date.
Middle East Research and Information Project
"What is ISIS?"
BBC Interactive Video
"The Rise of ISIS"
New York Times
"The Evolution of ISIS"
Martin Chulov - The Guardian
"ISIS: The Inside Story"
Hannah Fairfield, Tim Wallace & Derek Watkins - New York Times
"How ISIS Expands"
"Fighting Islamic State"
Jon Laurence & Olivia Bolton
"The Rise of the Islamic State -- How the Jihadi Group Conquered Territory in Iraq & Syria in 90 Seconds"
Agence France Presse
"Sunni & Shiite Muslims"
Chris Amico & Evan Wexler
"Who Runs the Islamic State?"
"Profile of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi"
"Profiling the Islamic State"
"In Defense of Islam"
Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi
"Inside the Islamic State 'Capital': No End in Sight to Its Grim Rule"
Cole Bunzel & William McCants
"How Does ISIS Approach Islamic Scripture"
"The Terror Strategist: Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State"
"Why the Islamic State Won't Become A Normal State"
"How to Think About the Islamic State"
"The ISIS Primer"
Loulouwa Al-Rachid and Matthieu Rey
"The Origins of the Islamic State"
Abdel Bari Atwan
Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate (book review)
The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Verso, 2015)
The Islamist Phoenix: The Islamic State and the Redrawing of the Middle East (Seven Stories Press, 2014)
Jessica Stern & J.M. Berger
ISIS: The State of Terror (Ecco, 2015)
Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan
ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (Regan Arts, 2015)
Muhammad Idrees Ahmad
"ISIS: Managers of Savagery" (book review)
"Rolling Into Town: How the Rise of Islamic State is Changing History in the Middle East" (book review)
"Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror"
How to defeat isis
"Viewpoint: How to Defeat ISIS"
Eli Berman & Jacob N. Shapiro
"Why ISIL Will Fail On Its Own"
"Containing the Islamic State"
Frederic C. Hof
"A Syria-First Strategy for Defeating ISIS"
"How ISIS Spread in the Middle East"
The Wall Street Journal
"Muslims Must Combat the Extremist Cancer"
London School of Economics
ISIL, JAN and the War Economy in Syria
London School of Economics
Countering the Logic of the War Economy in Syria; Evidence From 3 Local Areas
how isis operates and survives
Dr. Omar Ashour
"Viewpoint: How Islamic State is Managing to Survive"
"ISIL Sells Its Oil, But Who Is Buying It?"
"How ISIS Rules"
Aaron Y. Zelin
"The Islamic State's Model"
"How Much of a State is the Islamic State?"
"How ISIS Makes $3 Million A Day"
Wahhabism & the roots of isis ideology
" Enemy of Enemies: The Rise of ISIL"
"The Allure of ISIS Resembles That of Tolkein"
"ISIS’ Harsh Brand of Islam Is Rooted in Saudi Creed of Wahhabism"
"The Shared History of Saudi Arabia and ISIS"
"Time to Lift the Veil on Saudi Arabia's Hijacking of Islam"
"Wahhabism is Islam's Greatest Threat"
Mary Atkinson & Rori Donaghy
"Crime and Punishment: Islamic State vs Saudi Arabia"
ISIS & the syrian civil war
Eric Schmitt & Somini Sengupta
"Thousands Enter Syria to Join ISIS Despite Global Efforts"
"Myth: ISIS is a Syrian rebel group"
Simon Speakman Cordall
"How Syria’s Assad Helped Forge ISIS
Interview with Charles Lister
"The rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria—and what can be done to stop it"
"Assad Policies Aided Rise of Islamic State"
"Contesting the Caliphate"
isis & radicalization
"How ISIL Out-Terrorized Bin Laden"
Peter R Neumann
"Defectors: ISIS is Killing Muslims, Not Protecting Them"
"Jihad and Girl Power: How ISIS Lured 3 London Girls"
"What ISIS Learned From the Cartels"
"ISIS and the Lonely American"
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
"Special Report: Radicalism on the Rise"
"Understanding the Drivers of Radicalization in Syria"
Graham E. Fuller
"Yes, It Is Islamic Extremism--But Why?"
Barbara F. Walter
"Why Extremism Thrives in the Middle East Today"
Andrew Higgins & Melissa Eddy
"Anger of Suspect in Danish Killings is Seen as Only Loosely Tied to Islam"
"What Motivates European Youth to Join ISIS?"
Michael Muhammad Knight
"I Understand Why Westerners are Joining Jihadi Movements like ISIS. I Was Almost One of Them"
"ISIS: The Street Gang on Steroids"
Tim Arango & Eric Schmitt
"How US Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel: Baghdadi of ISIS Pushes an Islamist Crusade"
"The Roots of the Islamic State's Appeal"
International Crisis Group
"Syria Calling: Radicalisation in Central Asia"
"When Women Become Terrorists"
"U.S. Muslims Take on ISIS' Recruiting Machine"
Nimmi Gowrinathan & Zachariah Mampilly
"Pushed and Pulled: What is the Lure for Western Women to Join ISIS?"
"How is ISIS Luring Westerners?"
"ISIL's Feminine Mystique"
"Jihadis Invade London"
Mary Anne Weaver
"Her Majesty's Jihadists"
"Who Becomes a Terrorist, and Why?"
The Debate over Islam & "What ISIS Really Wants"
"What ISIS Really Wants"
"How Islamic is the Islamic State?"
Graeme Wood & Mehdi Hassan Debate (MSNBC)
"Does ISIS have Any Religious Legitimacy?"
Caner K. Dagli
"The Phony Islam of ISIS"
Daniel Haqiqatjou & Yasir Qadhi
"What is 'Islamic'? A Muslim Response to ISIS and The Atlantic"
ISIS & Middle east politics
"Iran and Daesh: The Case of a Reluctant Shia Power"
A Cross-Sectarian Vision for Defeating the Islamic State in Iraq
"Jihadi-Salafi Views of the Islamic State"
"A Deadly Spiral of Sectarian Violence - A Year On from the IS Onslaught on Iraq"
BBC Special Report
"Inside Mosul: What's Life Like under the Islamic State?"
"Why the Caliphate Survives"
"The ISIS-ification of Islamist Politics"
"Islamism in the ISIS Age"
"ISIS and the Third Wave of Jihadism"
Douglas H. Garrison
"ISIS, Fear & Authoritarianism in North Africa"
isis & international politics
Emil Aslan Souleimanov, Katarina Petrtylova
"Russia's Policy to the Islamic State"
"Obama's Evolution on ISIS"
Sarah Leah Whitson
"Why the Fight Against ISIS is Failing"
"IS: The Rentier Caliphate with No New Ideas"
Benjamin Sugg & Naureen Chowdhurry Fink
"A Tale of Two Jihads: Comparing the al-Qaeda and ISIS Narratives"
"U.N. Report: Islamic State Has Buried Children Alive"
"Should We Oppose the Intervention Against ISIS?"
"ISIS: What the US Doesn't Understand"
"What ISIS’s Leader Really Wants"
Carol Morello & Anne Gearan
"Around World, Mixed Reactions to US-Leg Airstrikes in Syria"
"The Pendulum of the Islamic State"
John Esposito, Julien Barnes-Dacey & Ahmed Meiloud
"How has the Islamic State been Able to Expand and What Can Stop It?"
"The Challenges in Defeating ISIS"
Robert A. Pape, Kevin Ruby & Vincent Bauer
"Hammer and Anvil: How to Defeat ISIS"
"The Abdication of Moral Responsibility"