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The extremist group ISIS has blasted into the international consciousness over the past year with its stunning seizure of cities and towns across a vast swath of Iraq and Syria, enslaving minority sects, staging filmed pageants of mass slaughter, acts of brutality and violence that have left much of the world horrified and alarmed.They will be with us for a while," said Aimen Dean, a Saudi-born former member of Al-Qaeda who switched sides to work for British intelligence for eight years.From his days as a confederate of former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, Dean, who today runs a consultancy in the UAE, has a sharp insight into the strategic calculus that underpins ISIS.Al-Qaeda, from which ISIS emerged, was a "fragmented organization," Dean said, with branches across the Muslim world.According to Dean, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became leader of ISIS in May 2010 following the death of his predecessor, he distributed $120 million to some 100 underground cells in Iraq and instructed them to buy businesses that interact with local people, such as cafes, restaurants, butchers and grocery shops.
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