Before I explain the theory on why ISIS/Islamic State might actually just win let me outline ‘how I came to this theory’.
So my study is like any other student-practitioner of foreign politics, security and military affairs, in other words tend to be filled wall to wall with maps of various types and ancient artefacts etc.
My main study desk faces outside and overlooking the big meditative park (which I enjoy its view in almost complete entirety; one-sixth obscured from vision, namely, the far end corner), and now and again – in between thoughts and my readings or work researching, writings etc – I turn [in a meditative state of mind] to a wall on my left which I have a sizeable wall map of the world [political]; it is a Michelin’s Van Der Gritten 1:28 500 000. At the top and bottom of this map is of course flags of the nations; it is these flags of the nations that I have been looking at for a while that will take me to the theory of why ISIS might just win.
You see for students of history there is an appreciation of how states came into being but it is also by comprehending various others fields of studies theories and arguments that one can start to piece things together – even by reading the usual ”amateurish” travel guides book ”history of the state” – the picture starts forming in front of oneself.
For me it was the flags. The Flags observations and specialist readings and experiences of political, military, anthropological, psychological and sociological activities concerning wars and societies and so forth especially the excellent readings of the works of the prominent sociologist prof. Charles Tilly (‘War-Making and State-Making as Organized Crime’, the essay is freely available online) I came to the simple conclusion:
ISIS appears to have decoded the secrets of state-making [and it’s natural relation to war-making: monopolization of absolute brutal violence] and as such since the art and practice of creating a state is similar to organized crime and transnational gangs, Islamic State is applying this model with ruthlessness that might just bear unexpected and grave results: victory for the cartel known as Islamic State.
In short, the ‘theory of Flags’ shows how [when observed critically] states symbols of flags are actually ‘symbols of victorious gangs or ”families”’; remembers the wars of the roses of England or Roman wars between Guelphs and Ghibellines and so forth. In other words, how one criminal syndicate out-violence another either forcing merger and acquisition of the weak by the strong or cause complete annihilation of equally stronger and their dependent weaker allied gangs and so forth is the art of state-making and the raising of the victorious flags. In other words, the flags tell us a lot and just might tell us why ISIS might win!
UPDATED: I forgot to mention the need of cartels/gangs to control most productive territories and communities [in ”GDP output’, for example]; this approach ensures ‘big coffers’ for war-making and expansion. Watch and study ISIS ‘allegiance-seeking’ from mainly bigger and prosperous local Iraqi-Syrian clans and tribes, and of course Oil-rich bases.