Volume XLIX – Number 1

Wes Cooper

Abstract: The terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Sham (ISIS) was unanticipated by many. This paper argues that ISIS’ rise, growth and stability are largely a result of disenfranchisement in Iraq and Syria and financial stability. However, examination of the history and social conditions in Syria and Iraq demonstrate that the expansion of ISIS, or another organization similar to ISIS, was nearly inevitable. This paper provides an overview of ISIS’ rise by examining how the organization was able to initially gain support by capitalizing on disenfranchisement. This paper will also explain the growth and stability of ISIS by examining how the organization has been able to financially support itself.

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