The Islamist Phoenix

The Islamist Phoenix

The Islamic State and the Redrawing of the Middle East

Book - 2014
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Random House, Inc.
An updated edition of The Islamist Phoenix is now available as ISIS: The Terror Nation (978-1-60980-725-2)

From its birth in the late 1990s as the jihadist dream of terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Islamic State (known by a variety of names, including ISIS, ISIL, and al Qaeda in Iraq) has grown into a massive enterprise, redrawing national borders across the Middle East and subjecting an area larger than the United Kingdom to its own vicious brand of Sharia law.
In The Islamist Phoenix, world-renowned terrorism expert Loretta Napoleoni takes us beyond the headlines, demonstrating that while Western media portrays the Islamic State as little more than a gang of thugs on a winning streak, the organization is proposing a new model for nation building. Waging a traditional war of conquest to carve out the 21st-century version of the original Caliphate, IS uses modern technology to recruit and fundraise while engaging the local population in the day-to-day running of the new state. Rising from the ashes of failing jihadist enterprises, the Islamic State has shown a deep understanding of Middle Eastern politics, fully exploiting proxy war and shell-state tactics. This is not another terrorist network but a formidable enemy in tune with the new modernity of the current world disorder. As Napoleoni writes, “Ignoring these facts is more than misleading and superficial, it is dangerous. ‘Know your enemy’ remains the most important adage in the fight against terrorism.”

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Napoleoni, a journalist and consultant who has worked in the commodities markets and in creating new strategies for combating the financing of terror networks, describes the nature and goals of the Islamic State and its new nation-building model, which uses modern technology to recruit and fundraise. She explains how the success of the Islamic State involves factors like a globalized multipolar world, a pragmatic attempt at nation-building, an understanding of the psychology of Middle Eastern and Muslim emigrants, and the West's response to 9/11, as well as how the world needs a new approach to stopping it. She discusses how the rise of Abu Musab al Zarqawi and the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, followed by the succession by al Baghdadi as leader, led to the rise of the Islamic State, and describes shell states that emerged out of proxy wars and the privatization of terrorism, the political image the Islamic State tries to present through technology and social media, the type of war it is waging, the nature of radical Salafism, the motivations for sectarian civil war the Islamic State has initiated to gain control of the insurgency, and the contribution of the breakdown of the nation state in Syria and Iraq. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : Seven Stories Press, c2014
ISBN: 9781609806286
Branch Call Number: 956.054 NAP
Characteristics: xxii, 136 p. ;,18 cm.


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Sep 07, 2015

Another must-read for anyone seeking to have a greater understanding of the current ISIS situation. This small book is big on information (the glossary in the back helps); Middle East politics is incredibly complex and not easily understood; the author helps to shed light on a situation that is far from black and white, in which all the players (East and West) are manipulating and misrepresenting events in order to look out for their own interests and agendas.

Feb 18, 2015

Never been a Napoleoni fan in the past, thought she was too pro-Wall Street, or the status quo, but fully believe she nails it with this book, and completely grasps the situation. Basically, an apocalyptic version of one world religion! One important item many haven't picked up on: Erdogan's party [Turkey] is connected to ISIS! [Just too darn bad that once again the USA, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has financed and armed another killing machine. ISIS: made in the USA - - or Saudi Arabia! The Taliban and al Qaeda, in the 1990s, funded and armed by the CIA and Unocal. This horrible stuff will only stop when there's been complete regime change in America - - no democratic wing of the bankster party nor republicon wing of the bankster party - - elected.]

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