A leaked Islamic State manual detailing the terrorist organization's plans to build a caliphate was published on Monday by the Guardian newspaper in Britain.
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One of several documents obtained by the newspaper, the manual "builds up a picture of a group that, although sworn to a founding principle of brutal violence, is equally set on more mundane matters such as health, education, commerce, communications and jobs."
In short, the Guardian says, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) "is building a state."
Titled "Principles in the administration of the Islamic State," the manual was written two years ago as a training text for “cadres of administrators” in the caliphate. Among other things, it provides guidelines for the organization of government departments, including those dealing with education, natural resources, industry, foreign relations, public relations and the military.
It reveals for the first time that ISIS has intended from the start to give military training to children, a fact that has become clear from propaganda videos released over the past two years.
The text stresses the need for ISIS to achieve a unified culture encompassing foreigners and natives and sets out the need for self-sufficiency by establishing its own independent “factories for local military and food production” and creating “isolated safe zones” for providing for local needs.
Authored by an Egyptian named Abu Abdullah, the manual reached the Guardian via a businessman working with ISIS and Aymenn al-Tamimi, an academic researcher who is compiling a log of ISIS documents available to the public.
“[ISIS] is a project that strives to govern," Al-Tamimi is quoted as saying. "It’s not just a case of their sole end being endless battle." The central aim of the group, he added, is to build a viable country rooted in fundamentalist theology.
The Guardian quotes Gen. Stanley McChrystal (res,) who led the military units that helped destroy an ISIS predecessor in Iraq between 2006 and 2008, as saying: "If the West sees ISIS as an almost stereotypical band of psychopathic killers, we risk dramatically underestimating them.
“In the Principles in the administration of the Islamic State, you see a focus on education (really indoctrination) beginning with children but progressing through their ranks, a recognition that effective governance is essential, thoughts on their use of technology to master information (propaganda), and a willingness to learn from the mistakes of earlier movements."