Podcast: navigating the #ISIS challenge

Cover of the new book

A new book on ISIS has just been published by William McCants, who is currently a fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy and director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institute.

Called The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State”, the book uses a wide variety of sources, including numerous primary sources in Arabic to describe the meteoric rise of ISIS, which has only been around since 2014! His sources include “secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters that few have seen”.

In a recent Podcast, Mr McCants talks about where ISIS came from, what developments inside Al Qaeda inadvertently helped to create organization, and how some of Assad’s own actions, such as emptying out Syria’s jails including numerous Jihadis at the beginning of the uprising in Syria helped Jihadi organizations. Apparently Assad did this in order to create a worst alternative to his regime, as a tool to convince the international community especially the West that he is the best alternative to all the others.

I will be putting Mr McCant’s book on my reading list. It sounds fascinating.

You can listen to the Podcast below. Other podcast guests include David Ignatius of The Washington Post and Ryan Evans who hosted the show.



Poll: at least 20% of French adults have a favourable view of #ISIS

Last Sunday I wrote a blog entitled “How popular is the extremist group (IS) in the Islamic world?”

In that blog I suggested that it would be interesting to see a poll conducted in the Muslim world to see how popular this extremist group is.

Well since then, a poll has been carried out about the popularity of IS (also known as ISIS), not in the Islamic world, but in the UK, France and Germany. These countries have the three most powerful economies in the EU.

The poll was taken by ICM Research for the Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya. ICM research is a well-known UK polling company which has carried out polls for reputable publications such as The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph and The Scotsman publications, among others.

And the result? well look at the snapshot below of the survey.


You have to ask yourself: what would possess 20% of France’s 35-44 year olds to have a positive view of ISIS? The same about 11% of the British population?

Why would anyone who lives in democracies such as the UK and France  support one of the world’s darkest regimes which rapes, kills and decapitates a person live on camera ?

These are some of the important questions which the French and British societies have to ask themselves.

You can see all the questions asked and the population and age breakdown of the survey here

You can read more about the survey here