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In the Skin of a Jihadist: Inside Islamic State's Recruitment Networks

In the Skin of a Jihadist: Inside Islamic State's Recruitment NetworksAuthor: Anna Erelle
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published Date: 04 June 2015
Paperpack: 240 pages
ISBN: 978-0008139568

Review by: Emmanuela Eposti

"Don't forget, you're mine now. You belong to me for eternity. Do you understand? Don't forget!"

When French freelance journalist Anna Erelle (a pseudonym) first got in contact with Abu Bilel Al-Firanzi, an Islamic State (ISIS) fighter of French-Algerian origin, while researching a story, she had little inkling of the potential consequences of her action. Posing as a young Muslim convert interested in finding out more about ISIS, within a few months Erelle found herself effectively married to the terrorist and planning to undertake a journey to the fraught border between Turkey and ISIS-controlled Syria.

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The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq

The Unravelling

Author:Emma Sky
Publisher:Polity Press
Published Date:21 November 2014
Hardcover:496 pages
ISBN:978-1782392576

Review by Emmanuela Eposti

"How had I ended up in such a role...? I had come to Iraq to apologise for the war. Now I was sitting like some colonial administrator in the office that before the war had served as the governor of Kirkuk's. I was seen as the new symbol of power..."

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The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution

The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni RevolutionAuthor: Patrick Cockburn
Publisher: Verso Books
Published Date : 01 January 2015
Paperpack: 192 pages
ISBN:978-1784780401

Review by: Emmanuela Eposti

In the media haze of information and mis-information that proliferates about the conflicts that continue to rage throughout Iraq and Syria, there is one word that has emerged over the past year as a terrifying symptom of the Middle Eastern malaise: "Da'esh". The Arabic term for the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) that stretches across vast swathes of Syria and Iraq, it is a word that has struck fear into the heart of many, and precipitated a splurge of new reports, articles, books, analyses and lay speculation about the origins of the radical Islamist group and the likely ripple effects of its territorial and ideological takeover of the Middle East.

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Inside the Muslim Brotherhood

Author:Hazem Kandil
Publisher:Polity Press
Published Date:21 November 2014
Hardcover:240 pages
ISBN:978-0745682914

Review by Emmanuela Eposti

In the 18 months since the Egyptian army swept (back) into power and forced out elected president Mohammed Morsi, there have been any number of speculations and conjectures as to why such events were able to take place. At the time, many liberals and leftists saw the army as riding a popular wave of anger and disillusionment against the Muslim Brotherhood, while Islamists were shocked and appalled at developments and staged sit-ins and protests to contest their removal from power. In the intervening period, as the military's steely grip tightens around Egyptian society, average Egyptians have found themselves caught in a binary between what they see as two equally unpalatable solutions: military dictatorship or Islamist state. Choose the former, and risk having your rights curtailed under the guise of the security state and being thrown in jail for simply acknowledging the status quo; choose the latter, and face an imposition of sharia law and possible allegations of the thought crime of "insulting Islam".

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