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Terror and the Islamic State
David Kilcullen Blood Year
Last year was a “blood year” in the Middle East – massacres and fallen cities, collapsed and collapsing states, the unravelling of a decade of Western strategy. We saw the rise of ISIS, the splintering of government in Iraq, and foreign fighters – many from Europe, Australia and Africa – flowing into Syria at a rate ten times that during the height of the Iraq War. What went wrong?
In Blood Year, David Kilcullen calls on twenty-five years’ experience to answer that question. This is a vivid, urgent account of the War on Terror by someone who helped shape its strategy, as well as witnessing its evolution on the ground. Kilcullen looks to strategy and history to make sense of the crisis. What are the roots and causes of the global jihad movement? What is ISIS? What threats does it pose to Australia? What does its rise say about the effectiveness of the War on Terror since 9/11, and what does a coherent strategy look like after a disastrous year?
Winner of the 2015 Walkley Award for best long feature writing.
Correspondence discussing Quarterly Essay 58, Blood Year:
READ AN EXTRACT
part history, part enlightened analysis, part commentary, part provocation and part mea culpa
expansive and ambitious … [Kilcullen] is a deft storyteller. The artful combination of his professional experience, insightful analysis and strategic recommendations makes for enthralling reading.
This brilliant, sober essay has the breathtaking compression of Helen Garner’s writing.
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