How Does ISIS Thrive?


It's easy to be anxious about the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. After all, this is a brutal organization that not only kills but seems to revel in doing so in ways designed to shock the world -- from the beheadings of journalists to burning a Jordanian pilot alive. Such moves are part of this murky group's propaganda and its deliberate efforts to manipulate information.

So what can and should we make of the organization?

I explore the issue in depth in a special airing Sunday night. And although it's important to start with the caveat that ISIS is indeed trying to scare and confuse us, I took away some tentative lessons from speaking with the people who have traveled inside the minds of ISIS.

There is increasing evidence that the military backbone of ISIS is made up not by a group of Islamic zealots, but rather high-ranking officers from Saddam Hussein's army -- Baathists who were at least ostensibly secular. An internal ISIS report detailing its organizational structure was reported on last week in the German weekly Der Spiegel.

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