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Islamic State works to win hearts, minds with bread

The Islamic State is investing heavily in social services in a bid to legitimize and consolidate its rule.
Bread are baked in a bakery in Old Aleppo March 29, 2014. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail (SYRIA - Tags: SOCIETY FOOD) - RTR3J4I9
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The Islamic State (IS) has captured headlines recently with its military victories, bank robberies and brutal executions. However, equally if not more important is how IS governs the territories it now controls.

Before its dramatic rise to fame, IS had long wielded the rhetoric of Islamic state-building, but few took the organization seriously. Perhaps, then, it is unsurprising that most coverage of IS’ rise has focused on attention-grabbing details like its surprising military prowess and antiquated punishments, rather than the programmatic aspects of its politics. This coverage has left one central and pressing question open: How could an underground extremist group turn into the new face of global jihad? The answer lies not just in ample illicit funding, well-trained soldiers and clever use of social media. IS is also serious about social services.

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