“ISIS presents itself to an embattled Sunni minority in Iraq, and an even more persecuted and victimized Sunni majority in Syria, as the sect’s last line of defense against a host of enemies— the ‘infidel’ United States, the ‘apostate’ Gulf Arab states, the ‘Nusayri’ Alawite dictatorship in Syria, the ‘rafida’ one in Iran, and the latter’s satrapy in Baghdad. Even here, as with all conspiracy theories, ISIS relies on kernels of truth and awkward geopolitical realities to depict a satanic global enterprise ranged against it.”

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