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Under the Black Flag: At the Frontier of the New Jihad

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The Islamic State movement (ISIS/IS/ISIL) burst onto the world stage in 2014. From its heartland in Syria, where it arose from the chaos of the Syrian Revolt, the organisation has expanded in ideology and membership and now poses a significant threat to the region, if not to the wider world. Sami Moubayed, a Beirut-based journalist who has been analysing Syria and the regi ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by I.B. Taurus
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Sep 20, 2016 marked it as to-read
- So how long you been with ISIS?

- A few months. Allahu Akbar.

- Allahu Akbar. So whadya think?

- We are the great light of the world. We will triumph over the infidels.

- No, really.

- Like, hey, it's a job. Food's okay. We have some fun. But the leadership is shit.

- Ain't that the truth.

- They got no idea. No idea at all. Like, these attacks just now on the Great Satan.

- The Manhattan bomb? And the crapshow in NJ? I was watching CNN and I was thinking the same.

- Yeah. Why the fuck did the top guy
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in current events.
Shelves: war, current-events
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I was very interested in this book, because I think that the group known as IS (or ISIS, ISIL, Daesh etc) is very poorly understood in the West, as a result we don't fully understand how we should be dealing with them at a political or military level.

Under the Black Flag is written by a Syrian journalist, and is written for the most part from a neutral position. After being presented with the realities of life inside
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Is the Islamic State/ISIS a flash in the pan? Brutal but ephemeral? Or might it be more long-lasting?

Could it even become a 'proper' state? Might the 'Caliph' one day address the UN?

Dr. Sami Moubayed is a Syrian historian and researcher who tries to answer these questions in Under the Black Flag: At the frontier of the new jihad.

Based in Damascus, he has the bitter sweet advantage of witnessing the events convulsing his country at first hand, and has interviewed many of those involved. This pr
Jennifer (JC-S)
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
‘Fear is in the air and nobody has answers as to why ISIS is advancing and how to bring it to a final end.’

In a world where terrorist attacks are becoming more frequent, more difficult to predict and tragically more deadly, most of us have heard of the Islamic State movement by one or more of its acronyms: IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. We are aware of the damage being done, so graphically reported by the media, but what do we know about it? Where did this movement come from, how is it funded and what
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, netgalley
Sami Moubayed presents an excellent and extremely well-rounded account of Islamic militancy in Syria and Iraq in the contemporary age, and how Islamic State has risen in the region. As a student of the region's history, and someone who also watches the region regularly, I can say that this is an extremely useful and timely book for those seeking to understand the conflict, as well as those wanting to expand their knowledge of the current security issues in the region.

Moubayed assumes little pre-
Sep 24, 2015 added it
Won't review as conflict of interest. (but two thumbs up :-) )
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Under the Black Flag” is as prescient as it is well written. It is thoroughly researched, and provides the reader with an incredible introductory to Islamic sects and geopolitics, in addition to the history of ISIS.

Particularly well written for Westerners who are just learning about Islam and its many factions, Sami Moubayed’s “Under the Black Flag” rapidly provides the reader with context around ISIS. I genuinely appreciated the author’s perspective, especially given that he is Syrian, a Syri
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent book about the origins of isis. It provides context to the movement and never negates the brutality of the group. For me the scary thing of the group is that it is merely the latest manifestation of ideas that have been around since the very foundation of Islam. With the defeat of isis it is unlikely that we will see the end of its ideas and I am sure it will not be the last we see of such groups.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hey Everyone,
I am going to review "Under the Black Flag" by Sami Moubayed. First I want to thank Netgalley, I.B. Tauris (the publisher), and Sami Moubayed (the author) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. I chose this book to read because being that ISIS is all over the place, I wanted to learn more about it, then what is being portrayed on U.S. media. I in particular chose this book because the author Sami Moubayed is a native of Syria and is specia
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This book on ISIS is different in that it is written by a Syrian who actually lives in Syria, and is a Sunni Muslim. Sami Moubayed is an accomplished Phd historian and journalist as well, with 6 books to his credit and numerous journalistic accomplishments. His area of expertise is in pre-Baathist Syrian history, though his set of skills translate well to analyzing the current situation in Syria.

Reading this book gave me an understanding of the roots of the schism between Shi'a and Sunni sects o

Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The names of IS, ISIL, ISIS and Islamic State flash on our television screens and fill our newspapers daily, yet do most of us really know that much about them? We may have an idea, probably shaped by the media, yet this is invariably a superficial level of coverage at best. This book aims to change that.

The author has put a lot of effort into this book, billed as the first inside account of the organisation, mixing historical background and current day events to great aplomb. It is so comprehen
Lukas Dufka
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
An immensely perceptive primer on the Islamic State, with solid historical underpinning that gives those of us with little or no previous study of the history of Islam or the Middle East a great deal of important context, often missing in other books and invariably omitted or misunderstood by the media. I'd very much recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve their understanding of the global jihad and of its most dangerous manifestation, an outfit vying for statehood which from now on I s ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this a year ago. Offers a linear point of view of the creation of ISIS and describes the cultural milieu it happens in. Many Baathist members were left without an affiliation after the US lead invasion of Iraq destroyed their position, and then joined ISIS (one of several other scenarios and factors). Sami also talks about women's roles in the structure to some extent. The book finishes off with a chilling and sobering "what if" version of the future in which ISIS has been forced to be ac ...more
Paulo Adalberto Reimann
Heavier than Pat Cockburn 's book, excellent though,

Tough reading but gives a correct historical perspective. Builds on since the early times to explain current state of affairs, conclusion at final is logical and probably right.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I couldn't put the book down - it very much exceeded my expectations. Moubayed put together a very focused, concise book focused around ISIS and the external factors surrounding how the organization was started. Definitely a must-read. Loved it.
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Moubayed, one of Syria's leading historians, offers a good, concise, and very helpful look at the history and idealogical evolution of the Islamic State as well as an insider's look at it's policy, governance, and what life is like under its rule.
Nick Pengelley
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! What a ton of information is packed into this small goldmine of a book. Must read for anyone who wants to know where ISIS came from - and where they might be going.
Gavin Phoon
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Clear & concise, easy on the eyes. Personal favourite part is at the back with a reintroduction of persons in chronological order. Bringing a south-east Chinese into the world of Islam, Muslims and its Caliphs. A history lesson on the once ever-evolving dynamics particularly at the regions once ruled by ISIS. A must-read for those who yearn the understanding of the cause and effect on today's conflicts in that region. ...more
Aug 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Fear the dark people! They are dangerous. They are trained by the Western governments. They have the weapons sold at a generous profit by the Western governments. They have the explosives also sold by the Western governments at a good profit. And just like the Western governments specialize in killing civilians in other countries.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great intro to ISIS albeit a bit outdated now.
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