ISIS Struggles With Governance, But Retains Hold on Territory

Hunger, Disease Mount Amid Ongoing US Strikes

Recent reports out of ISIS territory are declaring the region a “failed state,” with shortages of medicine and rising food prices. The major city of Mosul has run out of chlorine, making its drinking water dangerous.

The ISIS capital of Raqqa isn’t much better, with electricity available only a few hours a day, and ISIS struggling to provide food aid to the many people in need.

Though being spun as a failure of leadership by ISIS, such sights are pretty common in war zones, and all of ISIS territory is undergoing regular bombardment by the US and its allies, while US sanctions aim to prevent commerce from the oil-rich Syrian territory ISIS holds.

ISIS is attempting to managing this abroad with propaganda videos claiming the situation inside its territory is much better than it actually is. This, far from being a sign of a “failed state,” is pretty standard for governments in the region, especially when times are tough.

Perhaps the bigger concern for the US and other nations at war with ISIS is how little territory they’ve managed to wrest from them in the past few months of attacks. ISIS has lost some villages and seized others, but it seems more durable than anyone expected.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of