Saddam Hussein speaks to the Presiding Judge Rizgur Ameen Hana Al-Saedi as his trial begins in Baghdad, October 19, 2005.
Bob Strong / Reuters

In their January 2016 Foreign Affairs article, “Saddam’s ISIS?” Samuel Helfont and Michael Brill argued that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s Baathist policy was not responsible for the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In the article, Helfont and Brill characterized a view that I had espoused, in a short telephone interview with Politico, as “dangerous.” They wrote:

Amatzia Baram, who wrote a book about Saddam and his relationship with Islam from 1968 to 2003, has since stated that Baghdadi “is Saddam’s creation.” These depictions are inaccurate and dangerously misleading, as documents in the

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