Much has been written juxtaposing the rise of the Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS) to the rise of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, with emphasis on how both are outdated and will eventually crumble as representations of two failed models — hypernationalism and radical Islamism. The “modern” military-led nationalist Arab state model may be decayed and likely to fall eventually, but the IS model will survive far longer than anyone expects.
It has been less than two months since the rise to power of IS, which some cheekily refer to as SIC (State of the Islamic Caliphate), but its significance should not be ignored. The group's emergence and continued existence is an impressive feat in today’s world order. IS now controls territory that stretches from the eastern edge of Aleppo, Syria, to Fallujah, in western Iraq, and the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. It has already established a judicial system, provides security, runs schools and offers social services.