Free Markets, Free People

Is ISIS transforming into a “functioning state?”

According to some, that’s exactly what is happening:

While no one is predicting that the Islamic State will become the steward of an accountable, functioning state anytime soon, the group is putting in place the kinds of measures associated with governing: issuing identification cards for residents, promulgating fishing guidelines to preserve stocks, requiring that cars carry tool kits for emergencies. That transition may demand that the West rethink its military-first approach to combating the group.

“I think that there is no question that the way to look at it is as a revolutionary state-building organization,” said Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is one of a small but growing group of experts who are challenging the conventional wisdom about the Islamic State: that its evil ensures its eventual destruction.

Granted, the tools it uses to establish and maintain control are terror and violence, however that’s not much different than hundreds of totalitarian regimes throughout history. And, at this point, it is in its first generation of “rulers”, which means they’re likely to be the most true to their warped “principles”. So corruption, pre se, isn’t yet a problem (they’re too frightened of their own organization to accept bribes, for instance).

Remember history, say the experts:

Drawing on parallels from history, experts say, the group’s violence can be seen in a different light. Mr. Walt mentioned the guillotine of the French Revolution, and the atrocities of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the Communist one in China — imperfect analogies, to be sure, but ones that underscored the violence and oppression that can precede creation of a revolutionary state.

Then there’s Pol Pot’s Cambodia. It finally failed, but the same formula was applied there.

The problem, of course, is this isn’t the way it had to be. Certainly the left will say “if that evil Bush hadn’t invaded Iraq, it wouldn’t be that way”. Well with people often disappearing into wood chippers in Saddam’s day, Iraq was already that way.

The problem, as we face it now, really comes down to ideology and neglect – squarely placed in this administration’s lap. Gen. Ray Odeirno, outgoing Army Chief of Staff, said as much in an interview:

But Odierno had pointed words on the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria – suggesting it didn’t have to be this way.

“It’s frustrating to watch it,” Odierno said. “I go back to the work we did in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 and we got it to a place that was really good. Violence was low, the economy was growing, politics looked like it was heading in the right direction.”

Odierno said the fall of large parts of Iraq was not inevitable, reiterating concerns about the pace of the U.S. troop withdrawal there.

“If we had stayed a little more engaged, I think maybe it might have been prevented,” he said. “I’ve always believed the United States played the role of honest broker between all the groups and when we pulled ourselves out, we lost that role.”

But this administration wasn’t interested in staying longer regardless of the possible negative outcome of pulling troops from Iraq early. It had a campaign promise to fulfill, one of the few it ever has fulfilled. So it made routine SOFA negotiations impossible for Iraq to agree with, then blamed the lack of an agreement on Iraq and pulled our troops out before the job was done – giving ISIS the opportunity to rise.

Odierno made it clear that wasn’t the only problem we’ve let ‘rise’:

“Two years ago, we didn’t think we had a problem in Europe. … [Now] Russia is reasserting themselves. We didn’t think we’d have a problem again in Iraq and ISIS has emerged.

“So, with Russia becoming more of a threat, with ISIS becoming more of a threat, in my mind, we are on a dangerous balancing act right now with capability.”

The answer to these problems?  Cut the end strength of the Army so we’re even less capable.

Can’t you just feel it?

We’re in good hands.

~McQ

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12 Responses to Is ISIS transforming into a “functioning state?”

  • Bush only postponed, while Obama accelerated, the inevitable: the coalescing of a great Sunni caliphate that will (probably) go to war with Iran sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    This could create some very strange bedfellows for WWIII…

    • I’ll believe that when Obama says that Joe Biden was right when he said it should be divided up into 3 separate states.

  • “That transition may demand that the West rethink its military-first approach to combating the group.”

    Jeez, ya think? About effin’ time somebody thought that something more than drones, airstrikes, and other high tech toys would solve the problem. About 14 years late, but better late than never, I guess.

    If all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. We have a great and powerful military. Political savvy? Not so much.

  • Of-FLUCKING-course ISIS is becoming a “functional state”.

    THAT is what they set about doing all along. And NOT JUST a “state”. A CALIPHATE. They already have a code of law. And they are VERY strong “law and order” types.

    Remember when the Erp idiot assured us how easily ISIS could be defeated? Ah, yes…good times…

    • You know those JV teams are always easy to beat.

      But what were people expecting? – that all these fierce warriors of glorious Islam were going to sit around and groove on the mass graves?
      You can’t kill thousands every day, you have to take a break now and again, give time for more trenches to be dug, come up with new and novel ways to kill infidels to demonstrate to the West that you’re a collection of thoroughly barbaric whackjobs.
      You’re going to need more ammo & food for the brave fighters who commit the massacres, places for them to sleep, an occasional clean pair of skivvies, maybe some new head scarves.
      You’re going to need orange jumpsuits to dress your victims in, and, clean, neat black ninja outfits for their executioners.
      You going to need wifi connectivity to broadcast your awesome atrocity videos, not to mention the facilities to spif them up so they’re the polished techno wizardy envy of those lame ass slackers in Yemen and Nigeria.
      Gas for your bulldozers and backhoes and to carry you around from place to place to pillage, burn, murder, rape and destroy.

      There’s a logistical trail here to be considered!
      It’s inevitable that some of the more pencil pushing REMF whackjobs would get around to actually creating a supply system, killing and massacring is for the young and ambitious.
      You know what the say, amateurs talk jihad and massacre, professionals talk sharia law and logistics.

    • Frankly, this story has a air of deja vu to it.
      I mean, we say the same stories a year or so ago. … ISIS sweeps in .. they organize everything including garbage collection .. yada yada yada .. they could give Rahm some lessons to, no doubt.

      • You won’t find any Crips OR Bloods in their jurisdiction, either.

        MS-13…??? Nola vida.

    • I am certain you will find that ISIS becoming a functional state will be counted by his Erpianness as a “defeat” for the conservative hardliners in the organization and that the policy of the Obama administration has led to this wonderful outcome. Of course they need to work on some of their social policies but our soft bigotry of low expectations means that we can sweep their 21st century thinking under the rug for a while.

  • “While no one is predicting that the Islamic State will become the steward of an accountable, functioning state anytime soon,…”

    Ah, once again the soft bigotry of low expectations rears its ugly head. Everyone knows those melanin-enhanced folks just can’t build an “accountable (to whom?), functioning state” without the guidance and leadership of Western (i.e. white) academic and political guidance. Left-wing, of course.

    In re. accountability, I would like to misquote the Hebrew National commercial; the Islamic State answers to a higher authority.

  • Now that they’re a functioning state, when do they legalize gay marriage?

    • I hear there is a special “honeymoon” package deal that’s a steal, with 4 star accommodations in Ramadi.

      • Special on silk ropes for your noose, or a clean landing area at the foot of the tallest building in town.