I have undertaken developing this blog as a resource for all interested in the events overtaking this region as we speak. ISIS/IS/ داعش whatever one calls them has had a huge impact in a short time, and many people have questions. Where did this group come from? Where can I find reliable news about them and what is happening there? What are some resources I could access to give me, the uninitiated person curious about all of this, a better understanding?
To reach these goals, I am starting several different pages that will collate articles about IS centered around different topics. From time to time I will write a blog or two about current events related to ISIS, but for the most part I want this to be a resource for students, journalists, and anyone else looking for a repository of information about this group and their actions
A bit about me- My name is Michael Degerald, I am a PhD Candidate in Interdisciplinary Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. I have been a Teaching Assistant in the Jackson School of International Studies for the last three years where I help teach classes about 20th century history focusing on economic/political structures and globalization for undergraduate students. Presently I am a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden. I am a skilled Arabic speaker who also reads Arabic texts and newspapers to inform my research about 20th century history in the area known in Arabic as bilad al-sham. This includes Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and I add Iraq into that as well. I have lived in both Lebanon and Jordan, having spent 3 years in the latter. My PhD dissertation studies Ba’thist propaganda campaigns in 1970s and 1980s Iraq, seeking to better understand a part of Iraqi history that has so far gotten very little serious attention. I hypothesize that these programs were instrumental in exacerbating sectarian tensions already present in Iraqi society which burst into the open after the invasion of Iraq by US and coalition forces in 2003. You can find my academia.edu page here.