I'm excited to write that today I have a guest editorial on Informed Comment, the widely-read blog of Prof. Juan Cole of the University of Michigan's Department of History, who is a noted expert on the modern Middle East and South Asia, with a specialty in Shi'i Islam. The short essay is entitled, "The Islamic State of Iraq’s Positions on Iraqi National Elections: The Continuing Decline of a Self-styled Jihadi State":
The Continuing Decline of a Self-styled Jihadi State
Christopher Anzalone writes in a guest editorial for Informed Comment entitled, "The Islamic State of Iraq’s Positions on Iraqi National Elections: The Continuing Decline of a Self-styled Jihadi State:"
On February 12, the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) released an audio message from its shadowy amir (leader), Abu ‘Umar al-Baghdadi, lambasting the country’s then yet-to-be-held national elections. Al-Baghdadi, who has never appeared on film, has released numerous audio messages via the ISI’s media outlet, the Al-Furqan Media Foundation. The ISI is an umbrella organization for several of the most violent jihadi-takfiri insurgent groups operating in the country, the largest of them being Al-Qa ‘ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq (AQI), which was founded by the late Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi. Founded in October 2006 as the successor to the Mujahideen Shura Council, the ISI has seen its fortunes decline since late 2007, following the United States military’s “surge” and the emergence of the so-called “Awakening Councils” from among many of Iraq’s Sunni Arab tribes. The ISI’s response to the recently-held Iraqi national elections is a further sign of its decline since the “golden age” of the Iraqi insurgency from 2003 to 2007. .............READ THE REST AT INFORMED COMMENT.