In the few short years since the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria formed, it has done the seemingly impossible, seizing vast areas of the Middle East to form a mini-state it calls a reincarnation of the ancient Caliphate. It is at war with all its neighbours and virtually the entire world, yet someone remains, and is launching increasingly deadly terror attacks abroad.
To understand how this terrible group came about and how it has grown so powerful, you need to understand the story behind its rise. And that is a story that goes back decades, to long before ISIS existed
Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app. *Greg