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Black Flags
Black Flags: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Islamic State | Joby Warrick
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick reveals how the strain of militant Islam now raising its banner across Iraq and Syria spread from a remote Jordanian prison with the unwitting aid of American military intervention. When he succeeded his father in 1999, King Abdullah of Jordan released a batch of political prisoners in the hopes of smoothing his transition to power. Little did he know that among those released was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a man who would go on to become a terrorist mastermind too dangerous even for al-Qaeda and give rise to an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. Zarqawi began by directing hotel bombings and assassinations in Jordan from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion of that country in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, the CIA inadvertently created a monster. Like-minded radicals saw him as a hero resisting the infidel occupiers and rallied to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings continued for years until Jordanian intelligence provided the Americans with the crucial intelligence needed to eliminate Zarqawi in a 2006 airstrike. But his movement endured, first called al-Qaeda in Iraq, then renamed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seeking refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. And as the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi's dream of a sweeping, ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate. Drawing on unique access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Joby Warrick weaves together heart-pounding, moment-by-moment operational details with overarching historical perspectives to reveal the long trajectory of today's most dangerous Islamic extremist threat.
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knotmagick
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I keep forgetting I have Litsy, despite the icon being right by Goodreads on my phone. #whoops

I've been trying to educate myself on the countries and world events my conservative upbringing skewed or neglected.

This book is good, but I wish I had a physical copy with maps. It's hard for me to track so many foreign names in audio only.

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fleeting
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Pickpick

Focuses mostly on Zarqawi. I appreciated how Warrick tried to humanize each of the 'characters' but grew tired of them eventually. I felt that his descriptions of someone wearing a favorite colored clothing, love for soccer, lanky and non-descript - were a bit too much. Some of it felt amplified for the narrative part - i.e. the intellectual gifts of Bhagdadi which weren't backed by any reference. Still, I found this to be a great intro.

fleeting Sweeping view that contextualizes the Middle Eastern conflict. Recommended. 2y
fleeting Takes a more personal account and is one of the best books on the ongoing conflict which humanizes it. 2y
1 like2 comments
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TamaraH71
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You know when Osama Bin Laden thinks you are too batshit to be in his inner circle, that's saying something. Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was in the roughest prison ever and he was released by accident to wreck his own personal version of letting loose the dogs of war...He's dead now but ISIS still operates on a level of crazy only they understand. They are a danger to us all.

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TamaraH71
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Since i was over Missing, Presumed, I went exploring the many piles of unread books around my apartment. Sometimes i feel like I have book tourettes, i genre leap so much. #booklash Anyhow, I bought this book to give to a person who didnt know the roots of ISIS. After thinking about it, i decided to keep it. Im glad i did. The info would have been wasted on a mind so firmly shut.

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Ajbsimpson
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Pickpick

Great book. Informative and reads like a spy novel. What's next?🤷‍♀️

DGRachel That one is on my TBR shelf. Looking forward to it, especially after your review! 2y
nofutureparttwo Reefer Madness! 2y
elkeo_TheBookDragon Bill Bryson is always a fun read... 2y
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SeeJaneRead
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PMs of the world, good news: your skills are transferable and there's a hot new opportunity. Must hate the West. No benefits - unless fictional virgins in the fictional afterlife count. Spoiler: they don't.

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SeeJaneRead
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Oh shit y'all no one show ISIS the 🍆 and 🍑 emoji. Why do all religious fundamentalists have the maturity levels of six year-old boys? 🤔

Soubhiville 🤣 how funny. 3y
Karkar Peaches and cucumbers I can see. But tomatoes has me confused 3y
SeeJaneRead @Karkar maybe they were those weird shaped organic tomatoes 🤔 3y
9 likes3 comments
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ComradeMao
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2017, Book 19 "Just days before, an American warship had shelled a Syrian troop position in the hills above Beirut. Yet, when Ford found himself on a bus filled with Syrian soldiers, he was treated with a graciousness that still stuck with him decades later. In a more serious moment, one of the officers in the group pulled Ford aside to make a request.
"When you get back to America," the officer said, "tell them we are not barbar-"

barbarians."

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ComradeMao
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One would expect that a book on ISIS will be anything but remotely interesting. But man... Black Flags is. some. freaking. sorcery. Been gripped since chapter 1.

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Yellowpigeon
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Received The Raaq Diaries today. It's Jong my current read of Black Flags.

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Seonjoon
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Pickpick

Well-written, engaging, and solidly researched look at the rise of ISIS and one of its main figures. The approach and style are journalistic rather than academic, but for me (who really wants to know more and be better informed, but also didn't know where to start) this is a great jumping off point. (Plus, I've finished a lot of Christmas present crochet while listening!)

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Seonjoon
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I had been planning on reading this long before the election, but post-election I feel even more committed to being educated about the historical moment we're living in. I can't say that I'm "looking forward" to reading this book, but so far the prose is precise and the narrative strong and grounded. This feels like a well-researched, well-written account. (Pictured: coffee and reading log, essentials for starting a new audiobook!)

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everlocalwest
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Pickpick

Read on audio so pic is pretty random.
A broad look at the beginnings of ISIS. In that sense, it's easy to read, but it also left me feeling like so much context was missing. I definitely learned a lot and got a good sense of the many individuals involved. Warrick's juxtaposition of Bin Laden and Zarqawi was what I found to be the most interesting take away. The whole idea that a power vacuum gives rise to many types of extremism is fascinating.

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Aidan
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Only halfway through and this is already an outstanding companion for Patrick Cockburn's examination of the beginning of ISIS.

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Victoria_C
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Pickpick

Excellent primer on the origins of ISIS/ISIL. I'm a Frontline junkie so this was right up my alley. I guess it was worthy of its Pulitzer. Ended on a more upbeat note (relatively speaking), but it seems that hasn't played out since the book was published, sadly.

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Briro
Pickpick

Equally informative and haunting.

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