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You can’t understand the Islamic State until you know its past

While ISIS only became known to Americans in the past year or so, the group has actually been around for years, and its roots are deeper than you think.

“This is a long term campaign,” President Obama said this week while giving an update on the U.S. campaign against the group. “ISIL is opportunistic, and it is nimble. It is dug in in many places in Syria and Iraq, in many cases in civilian populations.”

For this week’s Shortwave, we look at just where the Islamic State comes from, and where it might be going. And we talk to Cole Bunzel, one of the world’s foremost experts on the Islamic State and a postdoctoral candidate at Princeton University, who has translated hundreds of pages of Islamic State’s founding documents from the original Arabic.

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