If some remain unconvinced that ISIS wants to actually put the "State" in Islamic State, a leaked document obtained by the Guardian lends further proof that is indeed the case. The paper notes that it got its hands on an internal ISIS manual entitled "Principles in the Administration of the Islamic State," a 24-page master plan that not only spells out the group's propaganda strategy and scheme to centralize control of oil, gas, and other critical infrastructures in Iraq and Syria, but also details what the Guardian calls "more mundane matters" such as health care, education, and jobs. The document—believed to have been crafted sometime between July and September 2014 and originating from an unnamed businessman who's reportedly infiltrated ISIS—also delves into organizing and administering the group's military camps and promoting "self-sufficiency" via its own military and food-production factories.
Perhaps the most chilling inclusion in the manual is confirmation that ISIS is actively recruiting children, noting that kids will receive "training on bearing light arms" and "outstanding individuals" will be picked "for security portfolio assignments, including checkpoints [and] patrols." If this manual is for real, it could help the US and its allies in its fight against ISIS. First, it shows that, "far from being an army of irrational, bloodthirsty fanatics, [ISIS] is a deeply calculating political organization with an extremely complex, well-planned infrastructure behind it," a Georgia State researcher tells the Guardian. The document also underscores the need for Sunni forces to lead the drive against ISIS, as the militant group considers itself the only true Sunni Muslims in the region, the ex-head of the UK's Special Forces notes. "It is not currently how we are shaping the present counter-ISIS campaign, thereby setting ourselves up for potential failure," Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb says. (And the airstrikes continue.)