These thousands are going to fight with ISIS.

Why, if we’re correct in our oft repeated diagnosis that ISIS is a cancer, are all these fighters going to Syria and Iraq to be a part of that cancer? That’s hard to believe.

So who are they? Brothers and sisters? Cousins? Neighbors? Friends, our enemies, strangers, aliens?

But it’s also hard to believe that ISIS is a liberation movement of oppressed peoples and that, as these fighters would apparently have it, they are going to the Middle East to join up.

Understanding ISIS is the favorite subject of many writers, one of the most astute being Shadi Hamid, writing in the Atlantic:

“As Robert Kagan recently wrote, ‘For a quarter-century, Americans have been told that at the end of history lies boredom rather than great conflict.’ The rise of ISIS is only the most extreme example of the way in which liberal determinism—the notion that history moves with intent toward a more reasonable, secular futurehas failed to explain the realities of the Middle East.”

In any case look at the map taken from the Washington Post below. What do you think?

map

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