Summary: Pulitzer Prize, General nonfiction, 2016
In a thrilling dramatic narrative, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.
When Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented account of the rise of ISIS, Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in Northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, US officials spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi’s hideout in 2006.
His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the US largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of an ultraconservative Islamic caliphate.
Drawing on high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat…Read more.
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Joby Warrick: Black Flags Audio Book Summary
Black Flags, is a work of the Washington Post journalist, Joby Warrick. He won the Pulitzer Prize in the 2016 non-fiction book category.
Warrick’s work describes the origins of ISIS, its link to Al-Qaeda, the history of Al-Zarqawi, the current leader Al-Baghdadi; Its great power in the present and the way in which this group has taken possession of the cities and the resources.
He conducts an exhaustive investigation into Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was the founder of the Islamic State, and tells the story of ISIS from its foundation to what we know today.
Warric traces Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s trajectory from his troubled childhood, to his conversion to extremist Islam, to his stay as a prisoner in a jail from Jordan from 1993 to 1999, later his release when King Abdullah of Jordan took The throne in 1999, his arrival in Al Qaeda, the separation of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, the founding of ISIS an Islamist movement in order to dominate the Middle East until his death in a CIA-coordinated air raid in the year 2006
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi pursued the idea of a territory controlled by a theocratic authority, that is, a caliphate, an Islamic state. The symbol of the caliphate whose idea comes from the Koran, is a black flag.
The jihadists of the Islamic State carry black flags with an inscription that says that there is no God but Allah.
Now, ISIS is a state whose power is based on the imposition of terror and a great propaganda on the internet to mobilize masses. They murder the camera to broadcast over the internet and recruit more members around the world.
On the other hand, in order to conduct his investigation, Warrick had access to classified information from Jordan and the United States, so it is a surprise, how much he shows about Jordanian and US intelligence networks, and how Terrorist organizations are tracked.
Warrick builds the story from researching the perspective of different key players such as Jordan’s King Abdullah, CIA analyst Nada Baka, General Stanley McChrystal, former ambassador Robert S. Ford.
It also states that the poor decision-making of Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama caused ISIS to achieve so much power and power. Warrick weaves a story in which every decision made contributes to the rise of terrorism and extremism.
The last third of the book is devoted to the disintegration of Syria and the opportunity these events presented to ISIS. Being that now, has a great control over land and resources.
Black Flags, is a strong reading that gives light to aspects for many strangers, despite its complex theme, is a book in which the journalist is also shown as a storyteller, gets an informative but interesting book that keeps the Captivated reader. It is a magnificent work.