How ISIS Fights: New Books in National Security

In this great interview from New Books in National Security, Omar Ashour, author of How ISIS Fights: Military Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt, talks to host Jeffrey Bristol about his work.

They discuss the origin of Ashour’s study and how ISIS franchises spread. The interview also explores the potential threats of ISIS as an international terrorist organisation and why it grew as quickly as it did. They also look ahead to what the future might hold for ISIS.

Find out more about the interview over on New Books Network, or listen below:

Paul Scharre, "Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence" (Norton, 2023) New Books in National Security

An award-winning defense expert tells the story of today’s great power rivalry―the struggle to control artificial intelligence. A new industrial revolution has begun. Like mechanization or electricity before it, artificial intelligence will touch every aspect of our lives―and cause profound disruptions in the balance of global power, especially among the AI superpowers: China, the United States, and Europe. Autonomous weapons expert Paul Scharre takes readers inside the fierce competition to develop and implement this game-changing technology and dominate the future. Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (Norton, 2023) argues that four key elements define this struggle: data, computing power, talent, and institutions. Data is a vital resource like coal or oil, but it must be collected and refined. Advanced computer chips are the essence of computing power―control over chip supply chains grants leverage over rivals. Talent is about people: which country attracts the best researchers and most advanced technology companies? The fourth “battlefield” is maybe the most critical: the ultimate global leader in AI will have institutions that effectively incorporate AI into their economy, society, and especially their military. Scharre’s account surges with futuristic technology. He explores the ways AI systems are already discovering new strategies via millions of war-game simulations, developing combat tactics better than any human, tracking billions of people using biometrics, and subtly controlling information with secret algorithms. He visits China’s “National Team” of leading AI companies to show the chilling synergy between China’s government, private sector, and surveillance state. He interviews Pentagon leadership and tours U.S. Defense Department offices in Silicon Valley, revealing deep tensions between the military and tech giants who control data, chips, and talent. Yet he concludes that those tensions, inherent to our democratic system, create resilience and resistance to autocracy in the face of overwhelmingly powerful technology. Engaging and direct, Four Battlegrounds offers a vivid picture of how AI is transforming warfare, global security, and the future of human freedom―and what it will take for democracies to remain at the forefront of the world order. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/national-security
  1. Paul Scharre, "Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence" (Norton, 2023)
  2. The Future of the Chinese Military: A Discussion with James A. Siebens
  3. How to Stage a Coup and Ten Other Lessons from the World of Secret Statecraft
  4. Timothy A. Sayle, "Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order" (Cornell UP, 2019)
  5. Florence Mok, "Covert Colonialism: Governance, Surveillance and Political Culture in British Hong Kong, c.1966-97" (Manchester UP, 2023)

About the Author

Cover Image of How ISIS Fights

Omar Ashour is an Associate Professor of Security and Military Studies and the Founding Chair of the Critical Security Studies Programme at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. He is the author of How ISIS Fights: Military Tactics in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt (Edinburgh University Press, 2021) as well as the editor of Bullets to Ballots: Collective De-Radicalisation of Armed Movements (Edinburgh University Press, 2021).

Helena Heald
Helena Heald
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