The most intensive state-building project currently in operation is run by ISIS

The Guardian reports: John Kerry has branded its members psychopathic monsters, François Hollande calls them barbarians, and David Cameron describes them as a death cult. But Islamic State is much more than that.

As newly obtained documents demonstrate, Isis is also made up of bureaucrats, civil servants and jobsworths. Hundreds if not thousands of cadres have set themselves to work creating rules and regulations on everything from fishing and dress codes to the sale of counterfeit brands and university admission systems.

About 340 official documents, notices, receipts, and internal memos seen by the Guardian show that they have been trying to rebuild everything from roads to nurseries to hotels to marketplaces, from the Euphrates to the Tigris. They have also established 16 centralised departments including one for public health and a natural resources department that oversees oil and antiquities.

This has been the plan all along. A 24-page statecraft blueprint obtained by the Guardian, written in the months after Isis’s declaration of a caliphate, shows how deliberate the state-building exercise has been, and how central it is to its overall aims. [Continue reading…]

The researcher, Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, who translated the document and gave it to The Guardian, asks to what extent ISIS is following its own plan and among several observations says this:

The text calls for breaking down the differences between muhajireen (foreign fighters) and ansar (local Iraqis and Syrians) by integrating them together in the military ranks, uniformly accepting a fundamentally Arabic and Islamic character to their identity of affiliation with the Caliphate alone. In the pre-Caliphate era, one will have noted the existence of foreign fighter battalions for what was then ISIS fundamentally based around single nationalities and ethnicities, such as Katiba al-Battar al-Libi (Libyan while attracting some Europeans of Maghrebi and north African origin) and the Abu al-Nur al-Maqdisi Battalion (Gazan). However, since the Caliphate declaration, these battalions have generally dropped off the radar of social media, and as colleague Michael Weiss was able to establish in an interview with an Islamic State defector, the Katiba al-Battar al-Libi was in fact disbanded for precisely these reasons of discouraging affiliations on ethncity, which of course may give rise to loyalties beyond those owed to the Caliph.

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