The Assad Regime’s Business Model for Supporting the Islamic State

Editor’s Note: The rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) had many sources, ranging from the Iraqi government’s increased discrimination against Sunnis to the collapse of Syria into civil war. One vital factor, however, was the tolerance, and at times connivance, of the Syrian regime itself. The Washington Institute’s Matthew Levitt details how the Syrian regime cynically supported ISIS, using its rise as a way to discredit the broader Syrian opposition. Here he draws on a