Multimedia Roundup: ISIS Explained

The Islamic State, a radical religious group that in the past year has violently seized huge chunks of territory in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, is widely considered among the world’s most violent and dangerous new terrorist forces. Also referred to as ISIS or IS, the group is known for use of brutal tactics, including mass killings and beheadings of journalists and aid workers, to spread a message of fear and establish a medieval-style religious order throughout the region. But much mystery about the group remains. These resources help explain who exactly the Islamic State is, what it wants and the surprisingly sophisticated media tactics it uses to spread its message and attract new recruits. Continue reading

The ISIS Threat and Why Peace in Iraq Is So Hard to Find [An Illustrated Explainer]

Includes cartoon infographic

UPDATE: Since we first published this piece two weeks ago, embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki agreed (on August 15) — after days of tense standoff that brought the possibility of a military coup — to relinquish power and accept the nomination of Haider al-Abadi as the country’s new leader. Abadi, also a Shiite, belongs to the same party as his predecessor. Additionally, on August 18, President Obama announced that Iraqi special forces and Kurdish fighters, backed by American war planes, had retaken a strategic dam near the northern city of Mosul, which had previously been captured by Islamic extremists. Continue reading