FT (registration required) has a fascinating look at the inner workings of Caliphate/IS in formerly (?) Syrian territory east of Aleppo. The Assad regime still holds the city of Aleppo, but the Caliphate/IS has established a new “state” with that name in lands they hold in the outskirts:
According to the report, the proto-state of Aleppo contains 1.2m people in five cities and 450 villages in a territory of 10,000 square km of territory that stretches from the outskirts of Syrian regime-held Aleppo city, to the Turkish border and the neighbouring Isis-held Syrian province of Raqqa.
The document includes a map [ABOVE] showing what it says is a 130km front line with the regime of Bashar al-Assad, western-allied Syrian rebels and Kurdish forces.
The graphics and photographs seek to project an image of security and the rule of law. Included are images of courts and police stations painted with the distinctive black-and-white livery of the al-Qaeda breakaway.
Pictures of Isis-badged workers and buildings punctuate the reports pages amid claims that Isis’s nascent bureaucracy is delivering basic services, such as food and water distribution, traffic control and street cleaning. Electricity is generated at power stations linked to Syria’s Tishreen dam on the Euphrates river, renamed al-Farouq by Isis after Islam’s second caliph. A labour office has also been created to place volunteers to run and repair these facilities.
The report even claims that the area has achieved self-sufficiency, and even a surplus, in bread production from its flour mills and bakeries.
We have no way of knowing what the actual conditions on the ground are in the Caliphate’s new province, and that last sentence has the same air about it as any one of Stalin’s claims about the latest Five Year Plan. And yet there is Caliphate/IS, making bold and serene pronouncements about good governance, the likes of which probably hasn’t been seen around there since Ottoman times — if then.
Clearly Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri means to stick around a while, unless the Iraqis and/or Saudis and Iranians can stop him.