I have a sick kid at home with me today. And since this article seems worthy of a share independent of the Friday links, this is a perfect time to do so.
There was a lot of buzz about this article, in which Graeme Wood goes into great detail about the Islamic State, last week. Then I heard him on NPR one day and made sure I saved it. I finally dedicated the half hour or so needed to read it last night and think it’s a very important piece of education for anyone who follows world events.
I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about what ISIS was, what they stood for, or how they were different from other groups like al-Qaeda. While I admit I still get some of the technicalities of Islam mixed up, this was a helpful piece. There’s a surprise twist in it, too, when you get to the section about how ISIS views the future of human history and what person will be involved in bringing about Armageddon.
Again, I highly recommend carving out the time to read this.
The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.