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U.S. President Barack Obama has labeled the jihadist juggernaut that calls itself the Islamic State a “cancer,” while his defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, has called it more dangerous than al-Qaida ever was, claiming its threat is “beyond anything we’ve seen.” No monster has ever been born on its own. So the question is: Which forces helped create this new Frankenstein?

The Islamic State is a brutal organization whose members take pride in carrying out beheadings and flaunting the heads of their victims as trophies. This cannot obscure a fundamental reality: The Islamic State represents a Sunni Islamist insurrection against non-Sunni rulers in disintegrating Syria and Iraq.

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