Hoshang Waziri is a researcher at Artis International. He is the author of a collection of essays, Between Two Iraqs (2014), and several plays, and was the executive producer of the documentary A Syrian Love Story (2015). (October 2017)

NYR DAILY

ISIS After the Caliphate

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga detaining ISIS militants, southwest of Kirkuk, Iraq, October 5, 2017

Our research team has been working on the front lines of the fight with ISIS since the beginning of 2015 to enhance policymakers’ access to field-based social science. We found that although ISIS has lost control of almost all majority-Sunni territory in Iraq, the group has imbued a generation of young Sunni Arabs with a strict belief in Sharia law as the only way to govern society; and this is a value they are willing to fight and die for. The people we interviewed and tested almost invariably associated democracy with human weakness and perfidy.