Gideon Rose

  News Release

Gaming ISIS

Foreign Affairs and the Atlantic Council Partner for War Game

When the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham broke into the headlines in early 2014 after conquering Fallujah, the group was not taken very seriously. Responding to a question about the recent successes of groups flying al Qaeda’s flag, U.S. President Barack Obama said that “if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” By midsummer, after ISIS seized control of large sections of Syria and Iraq and declared a new caliphate, the snark started turning into panic. And by early 2015, ISIS had displaced al Qaeda as the hottest brand in global jihad.

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