The Brian Lehrer Show

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'ISIS Needs to be Denied Theological Oxygen'


Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations and contemporary Middle East studies at the London School of Economics and the author of ISIS: A History  (Princeton University Press, 2016), says ISIS is a symptom of a breakdown of state institutions following the Iraq War and the Arab Spring, as well as a clash between Shiites and Sunnis for regional dominance.

ISIS was basically born as a result of the dismantling of Iraqi institutions, explained Gerges. It belongs to this global jihadist movement.

And the first step to overcoming it, according to Gerges, is to rebuild the states and institutions in that part of the world and effectively "reclaim the rallying cries of the millions of Arabs and Muslims" about freedom and citizenship, which will take decades.

That doesn't mean the United States should play a role in this. They can help through multilateral channels to rebuild the state institutions, but they'd do best to keep boots off the ground, said Gerges.


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 2016-04-06  21m