ISIS is currently led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi together with Abu Muslim al-Turkmani and Abu Ali al-Anbari, the deputy leaders for Iraq and Syria, respectively. Beneath them are 12 local governors in Syria and Iraq as well as councils on finance, media, leadership, intelligence, military matters, assistance for foreign fighters, security and legal matters. The group also has its own shura council to ensure that all decisions made by the councils and governors adhere to their interpretations of the sharia.
The city of Al-Raqqah in Syria currently serves as the group?s capital. After subduing its inhabitants, ISIS has created a system of governance in the city. Government employees were allowed to retain their positions after pledging their allegiance to the group. Institutions were restructured, welfare services were provided, roads were repaired and prices were controlled. The group has also imposed taxes on the affluent and conducts religious lectures and proselytising for the local people. The electrical and water supply were both maintained through the Al-Raqqah dam.
ISIS is comprised mostly of Iraqis and Syrians but foreign fighters are also present within the group. There are more than 500 fighters each from countries like Tunisia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Indonesia, Jordan, United Kingdom, Morocco, Libya, France, Germany, Turkey and Lebanon.
A small portion of the fighters in the group are from Belgium, Philippines, Turkmenistan, Portugal, Egypt, India, Serbia, Georgia, Bosnia, Switzerland, China, Ireland, Kosovo, Israel, Sweden, Ukraine, Australia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Palestine, Austria, Italy, Algeria, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Yemen, the United States, Canada, Norway, Spain, Denmark, and Albania. Only Syrian and Iraqi fighters are paid; foreign fighters receive only food, housing, and petrol.
In addition, not all recruits become combatants. Some of them end up doing everyday tasks such as cleaning toilets or drawing water from wells. Use of mobile phones is also strictly prohibited especially during military training sessions.
ISIS?s primary source of revenue comes from the proceeds of the occupied territory such as taxation, robbery of economic assets, extortions and control of banks, gas and oil reservoirs. About 300 oil wells in Iraq and 60% of Syria?s total production capacity have fallen under control of the group. They also sell electric power from Syrian power plants that they have captured as a way to generate money.
They also sell antiques and artifacts from important historical sites that are under their control such as the 9th century BC palace of the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. In addition, the group requires Christians and foreigners in places under their rule to pay taxes called jiyza. They also extort money from businesses. They participate in the illegal drug trade and rob gold shops and banks.
They also get funds through kidnapping for ransom, donations from sympathetic countries such as Saudi Arabia, material support given by foreign fighters and fundraising programs conducted through modern communication networks.
ISIS declared its intentions to establish its own monetary system in November 2014. Designs of the proposed gold, bronze and silver coins accompanied the announcement which consisted of images of the map of the world, Jerusalem?s Al-Aqsa Mosque, a sword and a shield as well as a crescent moon. After this declaration, the group proceeded to purchase precious metals from traders in the area. However, the coins that were released were reported to be worth less than their value in precious metal.
ISIS has proclaimed itself to be a worldwide caliphate which supposedly gives them political, military and religious authority over all Muslims. In addition, their group claims to have precedence over any existing emirate, state, group or organization in a place that has fallen under their rule. They reject political systems that were established by Western powers and require pre-existing militant groups to submit to their rule.
The militant group has also established provinces in several countries. However, before they can formally a certain region as one of their provinces, existing jihadist movements operating in the same area should become a unified body and pledge their allegiance to ISIS. Afterwards, they would have to nominate a governor, establish a shura council and create a military strategy to gain control over the territory. Once done, they would have to propagate the ISIS?s interpretation of the Sharia law.
Syria and Iraq
ISIS claims authority over 9 Syrian provinces namely Al Barakah, Ladhikiyah, Al Khayr, Damascus, Raqqah, Hamah, Homs, Idlib and Halab as well as over the Iraqi provinces of Baghdad, Babil, Al Anbar, Ninawa, Sala al-Din, Diyala and Kirkuk. The group has also established new provinces such as al-Furat, Dijla, Fallujah and al-Jazeera in the region.
The group also asserts their command over three major historical provinces in Libya namely Fezzan, Cyrenaica or Barqa and Tripolitania or Tarabalus. They previously held control over the city of Derna but they were overthrown by rival militants. ISIS then captured the city of Sirte and used it as a stronghold to capture nearby towns such as Nofaliya and Harawa.
Egypt and Algeria
A militant group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis that operates in Egypt has sworn allegiance to ISIS. The group has then established the Sinai province in the country and conducted a series of bombings.
ISIS has also laid claim on Algeria since they gained the allegiance of the Algerian Militant group named Jund al-Khilafah. They became infamous in 2014 when they beheaded Herve Gourdel who was a French tourist. The group?s activities in the region have lessened which led to reports that their leader perished in a skirmish with Algerian forces in December 2014.
ISIS has declared Saudi Arabia as a province in November 2014. In addition, the group has condemned the reigning royal family for participating in a coalition against ISIS and called on the populace to oust them. The activities of the group in the country were carried out under the names of Hejaz and Najd Province.
The group has also claimed authority over Yemen but this was rejected by a rival militant group in the country called Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP. As the Yemeni Civil War progressed, seven ISIS branches such as Hadhramaut Province, Sana?a Province and Shabwah Province attacked Houthis.
Shi?a Houthis are the primary enemies of the ISIS in the country. The group has been relatively successful in its campaigns against the militant group in Yemen.
ISIS has grouped Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other adjacent lands into one province which was called Khorasan. The group appointed Hafiz Saeed Khan as the region?s governor whereas Abdul Rauf took the position as deputy. Although there were reports stating that both men were killed in different offensives against the group, there were also stories stating otherwise.
The leader of the militant group Boko haram named Abubakar Shekau gave his allegiance to the ISIS. He was enthusiastically welcomed by Abu Mohammad al-Adnani who viewed it as a means to expand the caliphate to West Africa.
ISIS has claimed authority over the entire Caucasus, particularly on Dagestan and Chechnya. Commanders of Caucasus Emirate, a militant group in the region, has sworn their allegiance to ISIS and Rustam Asildarov, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Qadari became the governor.
ISIS has also expressed their intention to conquer Spain, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Starting mid 2015, columnist Mary Anne Weaver evaluates that half of ISIL warriors are comprised of nonnatives. An UN report evaluated a sum of 15,000 warriors from more than 80 nations in ISIL’s positions as of November 2014. US insight assessed an expansion to around 20,000 outside warriors in February 2015, including 3,400 from Western nations. Now the current estimation total is minimum 53000 and maximum 260 000. Most of their militants are reported to be from Tunisia followed by Saudi Arabia.