Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate

Article excerpt

Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. By Abdel Bari Atwan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015. 256 pp. $24.95.

At best, Atwan's book amounts to a rehash of common facts and knowledge associated with the Islamic State. Worse, it contains a large number of errors, ultimately rendering the account worthless.

For example, the author, former editor-in-chief of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, claims that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) "has already pledged allegiance to [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-] Baghdadi." In fact, AQAP remains loyal to al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri and explicitly rejects ISIS's caliphate claim. Atwan claims that Libya's Ansar ash-Sharia declared allegiance to Baghdadi and announced an Islamic emirate in Derna in October 2014. No: Ansar ash-Sharia remains loyal to al-Qaeda while the group in Derna, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, is called the Islamic Shura Youth Council.

The author claims to draw on special contacts and sources that give him unique insights into the Islamic State. …

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