A resident of Tabqa city touring the streets on a motorcycle waves an Islamist flag in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city August 24, 2014. I
A resident of Tabqa city touring the streets on a motorcycle waves an Islamist flag in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city August 24, 2014. IReuters

Islamic State Runs Full-Fledged Government in Caliphate

Ever since the Islamic State declared a Caliphate in the seized regions of Iraq and Syria three months ago, self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been exhorting Muslims across the world to join the Islamic State, now estimated to be the size of Britain.

The IS has been functioning an 'efficient' government in acquired towns and cities, especially in Raqqa, the city in Syria that first fell to the Islamic State militants last year, also called the 'Bride of the Revolution' by the group.

They have reportedly converted the city from the typical war-torn town to a fully-functioning city complete with schools, courts, banks, mosques and even bakeries, reported Reuters.

Residents feel that the Islamic State has been able to put in place a fully functioning government akin to any modern government in less than a year, and the success lies in the IS' ability to attract professionals and experts from all fields to come and contribute to the state.

In fact, as the report suggests, Islamic State has also willingly employed professional from Assad's own government in Syria to run administration in Raqqa.

Former Assad employees are now in charge of supply of electricity and water in Raqqa and also in providing flour to bakeries.

IS' Call to Muslims to join Caliphate

But the Islamic State's biggest success could be seen in pressing professionals such as engineers and software experts to leave their jobs and countries to come and 'serve the state'.

Baghdadi has reportedly appointed a Tunisian man with a PhD in telecom to run the telecom sector in Raqqa, and several other professionals run respective sectors of the administration.

The Islamic State has thus used the call of religion and ideology to invite jihadists from across the world to join the state, and several supporters are also pouring in money to the group from all over the world.

The response to the call seems to be overwhelming. "Every three days we receive at least 1,000 fighters. The guest houses are flooding with mujahideen. We are running out of places to receive them," an Arab jihadi told Reuters.

Similar to Israel's Formation, Zionism?

This entire exercise of state-building and a call for community members to come to the state brings back similar stories from decades ago, when the Land of Israel was formed in 1948 in the midst of Islamic countries in the Middle East, as Jews believed that they had a 'right' to the land based on Biblical narratives.

While the state of Israel was built in the face of neighbourhood hostilities, it has now gone on to become one of the most developed nations armed with nuclear power.

While the formation of Israel was a Western-sanctioned process, it is still often termed as "being born of terrible violence against an Arab population that had historically no hand in anti-Semitism," according to a history professor writing for The Hill.

"The partition vote of 1947 gave a Jewish minority a majority of the land and transformed an Arab majority into a minority in its own country," the author writes, citing that Muslim and Christian Palestinians were deliberately evicted from their homeland. The Islamic State's brutal atrocities against minorities in its captured territory could also draw parallels with recorded atrocities by Israeli forces against Palestinians.

The population of Palestine at the end of 1946, a year before partition, was estimated to be almost 1,846,000, with 1,203,000 Arabs (65 percent) and 608,000 Jews (33 percent). Despite that, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine had proposed that the "Arab state be constituted from only 45.5 percent of the whole of Palestine, while the Jews would be awarded 55.5 percent of the total area for their state," according to the Foreign Policy Journal.

The Islamic State's call to all Muslims is also similar to the Zionist ideology of Jews - that all Jews must return to their homeland, Israel.

Point of Difference

The most significant difference here would obviously be the Western attitudes towards these distinct states. While several European countries, led by Britain, were instrumental in Israel's creation, the formation of the Islamic State is being seen as a 'cancerous' threat and the US and UK have vowed to eliminate the jihadists' movement.

The Islamic State, which has built a self-proclaimed Caliphate, does not seem to have concrete boundaries, and its leader's vision is expansionist, as has been evident from his call to bring 'the whole world' under the IS' rule.

While Israel's aggression could be seen as virtually expansionist by Palestinians, especially its land-grabbing practices in West Bank, the Israeli vision do not include ruling over other countries and bringing more regions under its control.

More importantly, while Israel is a nation recognized by the international community, much to the anger of Islamic nations, the self-proclaimed Caliphate of the Islamic State is still to attain the status.