Hivos International


To understand the recent advances and gains by the Islamic State (IS, formerly Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS) in both Iraq and Syria and to explore future prospects, we need to go back to the origins of Al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon between 2000 and 2013. After 9/11 and 2003, both the Syrian and Iranian regimes saw and used Al-Qaeda as a ‘potential ally’ in their conflict with the United States but, simultaneously, viewed it as a dangerous enemy. But Damascus and Teheran were not the only capitals that used Al-Qaeda franchises as a political instrument to advance strategic interests.