The Relative Strength Of The Islamic State 's ( Is ) System Of Governance

782 Words Nov 4th, 2016 4 Pages
SUMMARY: The relative strength of the Islamic State’s (IS) system of governance has been essential to the organization’s perceived legitimacy in Syria and Iraq. Over time, however, IS has proven increasingly unable to maintain this initial success and efficacy of rule. Accordingly, popular resistance to IS governance has surfaced in areas where the cost of services outpaces their benefits.

DISCUSSION: Although much of IS’s dogged resilience in the Iraq and Syria can be attributed to their military capabilities and aptitude for terror, reports emanating from residents of territory under IS control reveal that their most important strategy is not military, but rather political in nature. These reports indicate that the organization’s legitimacy in the region hinges upon the relative strength of its governance system and effectiveness in providing services.

First, it must be noted that no rational individual would view IS’s brutal system of governance as legitimate on an objective level. According to the reference-dependent theory, however, individuals make decisions not on an objective basis, but rather by comparing the marginal benefit associated with maintaining the status quo to that of choosing a new alternative. Consequently, individuals are prone to making decisions that are not necessarily objectively good, but are better than the viable alternatives. Through this perverse logic, it is possible to understand how IS might initially be deemed a legitimate governing…

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