The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, is getting closer to becoming a fully functioning state. The group has implemented a number of measures associated with governing, including creating guidelines for fishing that preserve stocks and issuing identification cards for residents.
Over the past few years, the militant group has captured wide swaths of Syria and Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. The group governs its territory using terror to force obedience and frighten its enemies. However, those who live under the rule of ISIS say that the group is filling a vacuum left by failing and corrupt governments in the region.
The Islamic State has provided relative stability in a region troubled by war and chaos. Under the rule of the militant group, life can be brutal, but at least it seems more stable for those who can avoid crossing the group’s leaders.
Islamic State officials are apparently resistant to bribes. Robberies are way down in the territory held by the group. In a report from the New York Times, a Syrian named Bilal stated, “You can travel from Raqqa to Mosul, and no one will dare to stop you even if you carry $1 million. No one would dare to take even one dollar.”
The military-first approach to combating the group may not be the best method of weakening the group’s influence. Because a military strategy alone does not have any political reconciliation to offer alienated Sunnis, it will not be sufficient to defeat ISIS. After nearly a year of American airstrikes on the group, it is more clear than ever that only a large-scale foreign intervention is likely defeat the Islamic State.