Rise of ISIS

This episode contains graphic references of violence and torture

The rise of Islamic State (ISIS) stands as one of the darkest legacies of the Iraq War. Founded as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the organisation joined the conflict in 2003 by attacking not only Coalition troops but Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government, the United Nations and Shia muslims alike. Their tactics were so brutal that even Al-Qaeda disavowed itself of them. A decade on from that conflict, IS gained global infamy when it conquered huge swathes of Iraq and Syria between 2013 and 2015, establishing its unrecognised Caliphate quasi-state and murdering anyone who stood in its way.

In this episode, James is joined by Joby Warwick, the US journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work investigating Islamic State’s origins. Together, they explore the surprising beginnings of one of the most abhorrent terror organisations the world has seen, how its fighters managed to establish a Caliphate governing by terror millions of people, and what is left of it today.

Senior Producer was Elena Guthrie. The Assistant Producer was Annie Coloe. Edited by Aidan Lonergan.

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