Black Flags: The Rise of Isis by Joby Warrick
Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi offended even his al-Qaeda mentors with the brutality of his tactics: suicide bombings in public areas; massacres of Shia Muslims; and beheading of hostages. The Jordanian terrorist introduced an al-Qaeda 2.0, paving the way for Isis. Warrick shows how the botched US invasion of Iraq and the Syrian civil war both provided fertile ground for Islamic extremism. Zarqawi thrived in the post-invasion Iraqi chaos and his spiritual heir, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, took advantage of lawless Syria to create a jihadist army. The author’s access to sources such as a Jordanian security chief, a CIA investigator and an Iraqi tribal leader enrich the narrative and he skilfully interweaves their testimony with his pacy account of the terrible events in Iraq and Syria. This is journalism at its best: clear, readable and enlightening.