ISIS Success in Iraq: A Movement 40 Years in the Making
Church, Lindsay K.
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In June 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took the world by surprise when they began forcibly taking control of large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. Since then, policy makers, intelligence agencies, media, and academics have been scrambling to find ways to combat the momentum that ISIS has gained in their quest to establish an Islamic State in the Middle East. This paper will examine ISIS and its ability to build an army and enlist the support of native Iraqis who have joined their fight, or at the very least, refrained from resisting their occupation in many Iraqi cities and provinces. In order to understand ISIS, it is imperative that the history of Iraq be examined to show that the rise of the militant group is not solely a result of contemporary problems; rather, it is a movement that is nearly 40 years in the making. This thesis examines Iraqi history from 1968 to present to find the historical cleavages that ISIS exploited to succeed in taking and maintaining control of territory in Iraq.