The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) issues corporate-like annual reports, according to a study by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War
The annual reports offer insight into the strategy of the group which sees its mission as setting up an Islamic caliphate on territory it controls, The Economist
"They produce [annual reports] almost like a company, with details of martyrdom operations and targets. You have a clear overlay of structure, planning, and strategy to the organization," said Nigel Inkster, a former assistant chief of Britain's intelligence service MI6, The Financial Times reported.
The Arabic-language annual reports show that for the past two years ISIS has had a sufficiently efficient command structure to collect statistical data on its Iraqi operations. The organization's inventory of assassinations, house demolitions, and checkpoints allows researchers to anticipate its territorial ambitions, according to the study.
ISIS shows understanding of local battlefield conditions and of the different types of regional enemies they are likely to encounter.
With the fall of Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul and its lunge for the country's biggest oil refinery at Baiji, north of Baghdad, Institute for the Study of War analysts appear to have correctly forecast that ISIS was pursuing a classic insurgency strategy known as "clear, hold, and build."
Another "takeaway" from the institute's study is that ISIS is functioning more like a military than a terrorist network. The group has some 15,000 men under arms. "A counter-terrorism strategy that does not take these characteristics into consideration will underestimate and fail to defeat this enemy," institute analyst Alex Bilger wrote.
ISIS annual reports inventory various kinds of attacks by province and well as yearly sum totals – such as 1,083 assassinations in 2013 and 48 murders by knife in 2012. There is even a category for "apostates run over." But even the ISIS numbers crunchers couldn't tally the figure for sniping attacks, except to say they ran into the hundreds.
All told, there were 9,540 operations launched and 4,465 improvised explosive devices planted.
Until now, ISIS received important financial backing from donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, according to Deutsche Welle
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