Islamic State, Syria's civil war and the reshaping of the Middle East : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Defence and Security Studies at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
The Islamic State grew out of the ashes of a defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq. The
continued conflicts in Iraq and Syria have provided the catalyst for a resurgent Islamic
State. Syria’s civil war has allowed the Islamic State to remerge like a terrorist phoenix,
reborn from its own ashes. This thesis analyses the origins of the Islamic State, and the
geo-political conditions and on-going conflicts in Iraq and Syria which have permitted
the growth and expansion of the Islamic State. It also analyses how the fight against the
Islamic State is changing the security environment within the Middle East.