Book: L’État Islamique, Anatomie du nouveau Califat (Islamic State: Anatomy of the new Caliphate) by Thomas Flichy and Olivier Hanne.
A truly remarkable achievement: publish a book on the Islamic State, less than six months after its dramatic appearance on the world stage. The text is enlivened by the addition of maps and charts to help readers understand and form their own opinion. What’s more, using their “geo-cultural” method, the two authors allow us to understand the mysterious psychology of this group, in a context where Arab Sunni Muslims in both Iraq and Syria are profoundly frustrated by regional political events. It is by referring to Islamic culture that we are able to understand its appearances, which are far from deranged, and its media communications.
Moreover, the book is capable of taking a nuanced approach, in particular when it demonstrates the extent to which the disastrous American military intervention in 2003 pushed the Sunni Ba’athist officers into the hands of the terrorist group; their aggressive nationalism was thus exploited by the Islamic State’s eschatological vision.
Finally, the Islamic State is but a symptom, perhaps temporary, of the deep crisis that the region is suffering. The organisation forced its way into the history of the Middle East because of the unflinching determination of its members and its exhaustive ideological work. The authors conclude that: “The Islamic State is an accident of Islam and the Middle East, but it is a fatal accident”.
Translated from French
The original author was Frédéric Pichon, researcher at Stratpol (www.stratpol.com) and author of “Syrie: Pourquoi l’Occident s’est trompé” (Syria: Why did the West Get it Wrong)