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Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Voice of America News reports: “The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group – which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq – has been rebuilding for years.

Even before U.S. forces left Iraq in 2011, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) was forging a professional military force, stoking Sunni unrest, mounting brutal bombing campaigns – and barbaric killings. It boasts of 50,000 fighters in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq while recruiting 6,000 more last month alone.

This is a group whose cruelty alarmed even al-Qaida, but is successfully exploiting the Syrian civil war and sectarian rule in Iraq to assemble arms, wealth and influence at great speed, says David Kilcullen, the architect of the Iraq War troop surge in 2006.

Kilcullen currently heads CAERUS, a security and intelligence strategy firm in Washington. He says ISIS has overshadowed al-Qaida.

‘It is much more capable militarily, it’s much richer, it controls territory, it controls key infrastructure and it is really a much more dramatic threat than we have seen from al-Qaida,’ Kilcullen said.

‘They have literally made millions of dollars by kidnapping and ransom. They are now the richest terror group in the world, north of $500 billion worth of resources,’ he said…”

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