Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe

Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe


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A New York Times bestseller!

This reference shows how to understand the history and tactics of the global terror group ISIS—and how to use that knowledge to defeat it.

ISIS—the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria—has taken on the mantle of being the single most dangerous terrorist threat to global security since al-Qaeda. In Defeating ISIS, internationally renowned intelligence veteran and counter-terrorism expert Malcolm Nance, author of The Plot to Hack America and the forthcoming Hacking ISIS, gives an insider’s view to explain the origins of this occult group, its violent propaganda, and how it spreads its ideology throughout the Middle East and to disaffected youth deep in the heart of the Western world.

The group and its followers have struck repeatedly over the past few years: in Paris, Brussels, and Nice; at a center for developmental disabilities in San Bernadino, California; in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Defeating ISIS gives a step-by-step analysis of the street-level tactics the terrorists have employed in assaults against fortified targets, in urban combat, and during terrorist operations both at home and abroad. As much as ISIS is a threat to Western targets and regional stability in the Middle East, Nance describes not only its true danger as a heretical death cult that seeks to wrest control of Islam through young ideologues and redefine Islam as a fight to the death against all comers, but also how to defeat it.

Updated throughout and featuring a new afterword, Defeating ISIS is a highly detailed look into the organization by one of the world’s foremost authorities in counter-terrorism

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510729735
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 753,327
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Malcolm Nance is a globally recognized counterterrorism expert and Intelligence Community member who has been deployed to intelligence operations in the Balkans, Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. He is the author of The Plot to Hack America, Hacking ISIS, and the Terrorist Recognition Handbook and appears regularly on MSNBC. Nance lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Malcolm Nance was named a Genius for the Third Annual MSNBC and 92Y "7 Days of Genius" Festival in March, 2016

Richard Engel is the award-winning chief foreign correspondent for NBC News and has been in the Middle East war zone for over twenty years. He is the author of And Then All Hell Broke Loose, War Journal, and A Fist in the Hornet’s Nest.

Read an Excerpt


ISIS is a cult that wants to transform Islam at gunpoint, and to defeat
it the world must understand the group on its own terms, according to
Malcolm Nance. As an analyst, historian, and counterterrorism expert,
Nance explains that ISIS has deep roots, stretching back to the earliest
days of Islamic history. He’s absolutely clear, however, that it was a very
modern event that allowed ISIS to burst onto center stage and show off
its brutality for the world to see.

“The invasion of Iraq,” he writes, “was not just an exhausting failure,
unsuccessful in stamping out insurgency and terrorism, it actually created
the entire legion of terror and tyranny that we know as the Islamic

In his detailed and informed study Nance argues that, in effect,
America’s War on Terror created a new breed of vicious terrorists who
wear the mask of Islam like actors in a Kabuki theatre while carrying out
horrifically un-Islamic acts like posing for selfies during battle, and burning
a hostage alive.

But as William Shakespeare scoffed, “the Devil can cite scripture for
his purpose.”

—Richard Engel
December 23, 2015

Table of Contents

Foreword Richard Engel ix

Acknowledgments xi

Common Islamic Terms xiii

Introduction xix

Part I Who They Are 3

Chapter 1 The Old History of the New Caliphate 3

Chapter 2 The ISIS Caliphate's Leadership and Members 23

Chapter 3 The Caliphate Organizational Structure 49

Part II Where They Are 69

Chapter 4 ISIS in the Levant 71

Chapter 5 ISIS in North Africa 83

Chapter 6 ISIS in West Africa: Boko Haram 121

Chapter 7 ISIS in Europe, North America, and Australia 137

Chapter 8 ISIS in Afghanistan, the Gulf States, Arabian Peninsula, and Asia 161

Part III What They Believe 183

Chapter 9 Shade of Swords: The ISIS War to Destroy Islam 185

Chapter 10 A Cult of Jihad: The Context of the ISIS War to Destroy Islam 199

Chapter 11 Life and Death in the "Islamic State" 219

Chapter 12 Punishments, Violence, and Police State Controls 245

Chapter 13 Paying for the Apocalypse: ISIS Financial Mechanisms 259

Chapter 14 ISIS Cultural Cleansing: The Precursor to Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide 277

Part IV How They Fight 299

Chapter 15 Global Strategy of ISIS 301

Chapter 16 The Weapons of ISIS 319

Chapter 17 ISIS in Battle and Terror 343

Chapter 18 Abduction, Hostage Environment, and Rescue 367

Chapter 19 ISIS Social Media: "Our Life in the Thrill Kill Cult" 379

Chapter 20 Defeating ISIS 405

Endnotes 442

Index 506

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Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
Excellent outline on the history of ISIS and its rise to power. The reason why it wasn't an excellent book, in general, for me was because it read more like an encyclopedia of who's who and what's what than a novel. It's more of a reference guide. Nicely researched.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just ordered it, I will after I do my paper. Read by Felix Gregorian