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Who Is Islamic State?

A video grab that allegedly shows members of the so-called Islamic State, including military leader and Georgian native Umar al-Shishani (Tarkhan Batirashvili), Nineveh province, Iraq.

The brutality of the militant group Islamic State (IS) was on horrific display over the weekend, with the release of a video showing the beheading of American aid worker Peter Kassig and a dozen or more Syrian pilots and military officers. As the violence continues, questions are mounting about who controls the group, whether it functions under a unified command, and whether its leading personalities are indeed the masterminds they appear to be.

This edition of RFE/RLive will feature Joanna Paraszczuk, the author of RFE/RL's Under The Black Flag blog, which provides daily news and analysis about IS in Iraq and Syria, and examines the response to the group in the Arab world, Iran, and across the former Soviet Union. Ms. Paraszczuk will be joined by RFE/RL Regional Broadcasting Director for Iran and Iraq, Mardo Soghom.

RFE/RLive: Who Is Islamic State?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Washington - 11:00 AM / Prague - 5:00 PM

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Joanna Paraszczuk is a British blogger and journalist who has lived and worked in Russia and the Middle East. Her research and reporting focuses on Russian-speaking militants in Syria and Iraq. Ms. Paraszczuk writes and curates Under The Black Flag, RFE/RL's new blog tracking Islamic State, and also runs the Chechens in Syria blog.

Mardo Soghom is RFE/RL Regional Broadcasting Director for Iran and Iraq. Mr. Soghom joined RFE/RL in 1989 as a special correspondent in New York, later becoming the Director of RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. In 2002, he helped launch Radio Farda, RFE/RL’s Persian- language service. Mr. Soghom was born in Iran, completed his undergraduate studies in Lebanon, and has an M.A. and M.Phil in Political Science from Columbia University.