The New Face of ISIS

Mike Kuhn asks a series of very uncomfortable but essential soul searching questions.

The Institute of Middle East Studies

Things are not always as they seem…

A recent article in Spiegel sheds new and significant light on the inner workings of ISIS.  The article is based on documentation discovered in the home of one of the Islamic State’s chief architects—Haji Bakr—a former Colonel in Saddam’s Air Defense Forces—after his demise at the hands of Syrian rebels.[1]  Based on new evidence presented in the article, it seems that the prevailing narrative of ISIS as an offshoot of al-Qaeda whose top leaders are deeply motivated by religion must be revisited and indeed revised.  Read the article to fill in the gaps, but to summarize briefly…ISIS’ highest echelon of leadership may be a cadre of elite Iraqi former military whose dismissal after the American invasion resulted in their captivity and eventual release.  Haji Bakr was one of these who later moved into the anarchy of Syria to establish a beachhead…

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