October 16, 2019

Wait Just a Minute: Graeme Wood

Journalist Graeme Wood, author of The Way of the Strangers: Encounters With the Islamic State, takes a minute to discuss the difference between ISIS and Al Qaeda, and if ISIS has truly been defeated.

Wait Just a Minute: Graeme Wood

What is the difference between ISIS and Al Qaeda?

ISIS and Al Qaeda were originally the same thing. Al Qaeda was kind of the stream from which ISIS parted. There are figures in ISIS's past who are claimed by ISIS as their forefathers like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Zarqawi was distinguished by being much more sectarian and much more violent actually than Al Qaeda was. ISIS took some of those sectarian ideological differences and said that it was obligatory to act on them. So ISIS is much less forgiving about many things.

Has ISIS been defeated?

ISIS has always been more than one thing. It's been a territorial entity, a caliphate with territory, and it's also been an idea in people's minds. And in the latter form it certainly has not been defeated. What people took away from the success of ISIS in the last few years was that if you have this idea it can cause many, many people to rally together and they can get further than almost any jihadist group has gotten before. And in that sense it still lives on in people's hearts and minds.


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.


| By Ian Klaus

Did the UNSG Say “Revolution”?

While there is nothing convenient about 2020, the upcoming Pritzker Forum on Global Cities has been helpfully anticipated by a series of publications that speak to the high stakes currently in play in cities around the world and the urgent need - from the perspective of both efficacy and equity - to adapt governance practices.

| By Laurence Ralph, Thomas Abt, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Police Reform Lessons from Around the World

Princeton University’s Laurence Ralph and the Council on Criminal Justice’s Thomas Abt join Deep Dish to explain why police brutality is not a uniquely American phenomenon and argue the strongest examples of successful police reform come from outside the United States.