I was recently travelling to NYC, while I was there I visited Strand, a 90 year old, three story legendary book store in Manhattan. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of books, obviously I was looking for something in history or mystery. So I reached out to the store assistant and asked him if he could suggest me something on the middle east crisis, as I have been wanting to read up on it since a very long time, that is when the gentleman handed me: ISIS, inside the army of terror.
In the beginning of our story Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein, a brutal military dictator who ruled with an iron fist and was known for his genocidal tendencies. Anyone who opposed his tyrannical rule was put to death. The Kurds were to him what Jews were to Hitler. Enter USA, after 9/11 the Bush administration got an opportune pretext to invade and destroy the Saddam regime. Saddam was captured and hanged, but the invasion of the great serpent(USA, as referred by Jihadis and all Muslims alike) in Muslims land was a source of great trepidation and opportunity for many Islamic terror groups. One of them was the Jordanian terrorist called Al Zarqawi, also the founding father of the ISIS. Al Zarqawi traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, after his return he was imprisoned by the Jordanian government in 1992. It was during his time in confinement that Zarqawi became radicalized and formed his own coterie to overthrow the Jordanian rulers. We see this as a recurring theme in the book some misguided albeit budding terrorist gets locked up in Jail either by Jordanian, Americans, Egyptians or Iraqis and he comes out as a full blown Jihadist, wiling to even murder fellow believers.
Zarqawi went on to ally with Al Qaeda, he was even declared their Emir in Iraq. A Brutal man who had a known hatred for Shias, targeted them with the same ferocity as was reserved for the Americans. VBIED, was the weapon of choice for Zarqawi's group and they used it devastatingly. Zarqawi was eventually killed in 2006 by the American forces, but the damage had already been done and an organization was already in place. When in 2015 Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi announced the caliphate and then the eventual capture of large swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria many people were left stupefied by the incredible rise of ISIS in a very short span of time, but to observers and SMEs on the Middle East, rise of ISIS was neither quick nor without help.