by Rana Asfour
Abdel Bari Atwan is currently editor-in-chief of online newspaper ‘Rai al-Youm’ and until very recently, held the position of former editor-in-chief of the pan Arab newspaper ‘Al Quds Al-Arabi’ in London for 25 years. As such, this puts him in the best place to explain what the recently declared Islamic State (IS) is all about and that is just what he dishes out in his latest release, ‘The Islamic State: The Roots, The Savagery, The Future’ published by Dar Al Saqi.
Abdel Bari Atwan’s new book is a revealing account that delves into the origins of the Islamic State and the recently declared ‘Khilafa’ or ‘Caliphate’ referred to by American Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as the biggest terrorist threat facing the United States.
The book also discusses the roots of this State, its ideological values, the nature of its powers and those that have helped shape it and the secret behind its sudden emergence and rapid ascension. The book also sheds light onto the State’s strengths and weaknesses, and its relationship with Al Qaeda with regards to their similarities and differences.
The writer sets out to reveal hidden aspects behind the persona of the self-proclaimed ‘Caliph’ Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, his upbringing and the factors that have shaped his personality, his relationship with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and the truth behind how influenced he was by al-Zarkawi. The book proposes a new angle on the reason behind Baghdadi’s disagreement with Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The book pauses to consider the sources of funding for and arming of the Islamic State based on Arab and Western sources and personal interviews with some of its key personalities. The book also monitors the State’s mighty media ‘empire’ and its widespread reach in the Islamic World and the secret behind the influx of youths to join its ranks.
Finally the book attempts to forecast the future of the ‘Islamic State’ and its ability to survive and realize its ambition of establishing ‘The Islamic Caliphate State’ by taking a closer look at the legitimacy of these aspirations and their feasibility on the ground.
This book is currently available only in Arabic, but according to the author's web page, it is expected to be translated into English some time this year.
Abdel Bari Atwan is the author of ‘The Secret History of al-Qa’ida’, ‘A Country of Words’, ‘After Bin Laden: Al-Qaeda, The Next Generation’. He was born in Gaza but has lived in London since 1979. For more on this writer, click HERE