In the past five years, millions of people have lost their homes, loved ones, and lives. The Syrian territory is now a battlefield, contested by multiple actors. The rise of the Islamic State underscores the hopeless nature of this bloody quagmire. The speed at which the Islamic State has captured and held territory, as well as the degree to which it has dominated the Western psyche and monopolized Western fears, has been met with both shock and panic. Newspapers headlines scream about the unique and terrifying threat of the Islamic State and the imminent destruction of the West at its hands. But at its core the Islamic State is, like any other organization, dependent on manpower and materials. Control of large population centers and the constant recruitment of new members are essential for the Islamic State's continued success and the expansion of its caliphate, especially in the face of increased military opposition from its adversaries and the on-going drain of its resources from the use of suicide bombings and military campaigns.
Canaan, Isabelle. 2016. "Lasting and Expanding: An Analysis of the Islamic State's Incentive System." Cornell International Affairs Review 10 (December): 50-100. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56739457a12f44b15d83034a/t/5843360c20099e10cb6f43d0/1480799764869/CIAR+Fall+2016.pdf