Since its emergence, the Islamic State militant group has continued to evolve and improvise in ways that have left analysts at a loss to predict its next move. While most have compared it to such groups as Boko Haram, al-Qaida and even the Taliban, the most apt comparison would be to the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah.
The Islamic State is very quickly proving themselves to be an extreme Wahhabi version of Hezbollah. Wahhabism is a very strict and extremist sect of Sunni Islam. The most recent kidnapping and demand of ransom for two Japanese hostages has raised questions about how the Islamic State is funding its activities. This, in turn, poses the more important question of what drives the group.
Experience in the shadows
To understand the Islamic State and how they are financing themselves, one must first look at their evolution.
In the 2010 American film "Green Zone," a fictional scene depicts Saddam Hussein's top Republican Guards and Iraqi generals meeting in a Baghdad safe house to chart out the next course for Iraq. This scene was based on the factual attempt by Saddam's generals to reach out to the invading American forces to preserve the Iraqi state and army, thereby guaranteeing a transition into a post-Saddam era.
But once the Americans rejected this hand of support, Iraq took a turn for the worse at an alarming speed that has not been arrested since. The main reason for this has been the eruption of violence after the disbanding of the Iraqi army.
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