Within a few weeks of its bloody foray into northern and central Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which was rebranded by its top management as the Islamic State (IS), has built a global reputation for unbridled savagery and ruthlessness. The group’s ongoing use of social media channels and of professional video imagery have given it significant online presence. With its shadowy leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has no mercy for anyone who is not a Sunni, the group’s recent announcement in establishing a caliphate has sent chills throughout the region about the group’s future prospects and its impact on the stability of U.S. allies in the Arab world.
Now as the United States orders limited strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq this week, this summer VICE News reporter, award-winning journalist, and filmmaker Medyan Dairieh was given access to the group to produce a five-part documentary The Islamic State. The documentary offers an inside look into the self-proclaimed caliphate, its members, and their way of life. Dairieh spent three weeks filming and interviewing the Islamic State members as they trained new recruits, methodically indoctrinated children, and established Sharia police, courts, and prisons. The documentary was released on Thursday, August 7.
Whether or not President Obama’s order yesterday to strike against ISIS targets in Iraq is indicative of a change in U.S. policy or of an intent to turn the tide against ISIS’ bloody onslaught remain to be seen. The release of this timely documentary will certainly influence the public opinion on whether the U.S. and its allies should pursue a more robust policy against ISIS and stop the bloodshed against Iraqi Shiites and the country’s religious and ethnic minorities.
You can watch the five-part documentary here.