Under the Black Flag: At the Frontier of the New Jihad
The Islamic State movement (ISIS/ISIL/IS) burst onto the world stage in 2014. From its heartland in Syria, where it arose from the chaos of the Syrian Revolt, the organisation has expanded in ideology and membership and now poses a significant threat to the region, if not to the wider world. Moubayed, a Beirut-based journalist who has been analysing Syria and the region for 20 years, has unrivalled access to the movement and its participants. His book is the first inside account of an organisation which has dominated the headlines with a dangerous mix of barbarity and military prowess. In looking at the historical background of ISIS: where it came from, how it evolved, where it stands today and what its aims are for the future to reveal, it will provide, for the first time, a fully-fledged picture of what lies at the heart of the Islamic State.
'Sami Moubayed has written a must-read book. As a Syrian historian, Moubayed astutely explores the rise of the Islamic State first by tracking the historical origins of its ideology. He then smoothly takes the reader to the vivid details of life on the ground to explain how ISIS grew and established its so-called state. It is a perfect way to elucidate this complex phenomenon.' - Hassan Hassan, author of ISIS: Inside the New Army of Terror; 'Sami Moubayed's new book on ISIS is a great read. It is the best introduction to ISIS so far. He neither looses the reader in a cascade of foreign names nor overwhelms them with detail. What Moubayed does do with consummate skill is provide essential background and history to understand why Syria fell apart and where ISIS came from. Sami is the premier Syrian historian of his generation writing in English. He comes from an illustrious Damascene Sunni family and continues to live much of the year in Damascus, which gives him a unique and valuable perspective on events unfolding in his region.' - Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, author of "Syria Comment" and past President of the Syrian Studies Association; 'Under the Black Flag is particularly good on the blood-soaked history of relations between Islamists and Ba'athists in Syria before 2011, thus helping us to understand why that country's Arab Spring so quickly morphed into a brutal, sectarian jihad.' - Edward Mortimer, Financial Times; 'Moubayed's insider account brings to bear the experience of two decades of analysing Syria and the Middle East.' - Justin Marozzi, The National; 'Moubayed's books goes straight to the front of the queue as an excellent account of the wider politics that has created the conditions in which ISIS has flourished...Moubayed should be congratulated for breadth and scope of his interviews and research. He's put together a must-read on this all too topical and under-researched subject.' - James Denselow, Huffington Post; 'reveals the horrifying, and fascinating, details of daily life under Isis...deeply revealing...Moubayed details all of Isis's cruel and inhuman punishments and executions - war crimes indeed - but is intent on placing them in the context of a very bloody history.' - Robert Fisk, Independent
Sami Moubayed is a Syrian historian and journalist. From 2012 to 2013, he was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon. His articles on Middle East affairs have appeared in a variety of newspapers, including al-Ahram Weekly, al-Hayat, Gulf News, The Daily Star, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and Asia Times. He is a blogger with The Huffington Post and an online panelist with The Washington Post.
Introduction 1. The Caliphate2. Gentlemen to Jihadis3. The Islamic Rebound4. The Rise and Coming Fall of Jabhet al-Nusra5. The Birth of ISIS/ISIL6. The House of Blood7. Foreign Jihadis8. Madame ISILConclusion