Last time the ISIS crowd were occupying territory in Iraq – when they were ISI – the result was out of Heart of Darkness. That particular horrorshow drove tribally based insurgents into the arms of the Americans, paving the way for establishing the decent interval for everyone to leave while saving a little face.
This time, in what is an actually disturbing development since it implies that they're going to be around for longer, they seem to be a bit better at this whole governance thing. At any rate they've got something going on that veers between Baron Ungern von Sternberg and Esther Rantzen:
The group also has a surprisingly sophisticated bureaucracy, which typically includes an Islamic court system and a roving police force. In the Syrian town of Manbij, for example, ISIS officials cut off the hands of four robbers. In Raqqa, they forced shops to close for selling poor products in the suq (market) as well as regular supermarkets and kebab stands—a move that was likely the work of itsConsumer Protection Authority office. ISIS has also whipped individuals forinsulting their neighbors, confiscated and destroyed counterfeit medicine, and on multiple occasions summarily executed and crucified individuals for apostasy.
One peculiar and somewhat grotesque outcome of the clash between a viciously restrictive religious ideology and a strategy for popular governance is the ISIS family fun day, complete with bouncy castles and a in this instance a tug of war between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. Good clean fun, there. And cakes. Always the cakes.