ISIS: Making the Trains Run on Time (Apparently)

ISISThe Independent

In the cities and towns across the desert plains of north-east Syria, the ultra-hardline al-Qa’ida offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has insinuated itself into nearly every aspect of daily life.

The ‘Islamic State’ group, infamous for its beheadings, crucifixions and mass executions, provides electricity and water, pays salaries, controls traffic, and runs nearly everything from bakeries and banks to schools, courts and mosques. While its merciless battlefield tactics and the imposition of its austere vision of Islamic law made headlines, residents say much of its power lies in its efficient and often deeply pragmatic ability to govern…

The Independent’s jokey headline: Life under Isis: For residents of Raqqa is this really a caliphate worse than death?

The idea that fanatacism and a certain degree of efficiency are incompatible is nonsene, and this report is not a bad reminder of that, but there’s something about the language in which it is written…

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1 Response to ISIS: Making the Trains Run on Time (Apparently)

  1. Tom says:

    Fascinating, but I confess I’m really skeptical. All the pictures of ISIS fighters I’ve seen — and perhaps I’m missing something — show irregulars: no one’s in formation or showing any kind of tactics.

    It’s just hard to believe that an ideology *expressly* based on a reactionary interpretation of Islam can be efficient. I found this encouraging:

    At the heart of the Isis system lies Baghdadi, who in June declared himself “caliph”, or ruler of all the world’s Muslims, after breaking with al-Qa’ida.

    He is heavily involved in Raqqa’s administration, and has the final word on all decisions. Even prices set for local goods go back to him, locals say. Residents say he also approves executions and punishments for criminals.

    Because theologians are such notoriously good micromanagers.

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