ISIS talked a good game about its capacity for state-building as it was rolling through western Iraq, posting videos of construction workers with bulldozers and cranes following militants into occupied cities to quickly restore basic services. It turns out, however, that it was more talk than walk. The Washington Post:
Services are collapsing, prices are soaring, and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the “caliphate” proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims.
Slick Islamic State videos depicting functioning government offices and the distribution of aid do not match the reality of growing deprivation and disorganized, erratic leadership, the residents say. A trumpeted Islamic State currency has not materialized, nor have the passports the group promised. Schools barely function, doctors are few, and disease is on the rise.
Nothing makes a people hate jihadis as much as the acute experience of being ruled by them.But we shouldn’t get complacent. Jihad 1.0 was scattered and not very effective bands in Afghanistan. 2.0 was Al Qaeda. Isis is 3.0 and it clearly has more capacity than the 2.0 model. Coming next to an unhappy country somewhere in the Middle East: 4.0, with better state building capabilities?