Why is the ISIS so successful? The success lies in the fact that the supreme commander of the outfit Abu Bakr al Bhagdadi does not put a finger into every detail or operation that the ISIS carries out. The administration of the ISIS is controlled by several persons and people at the lowest level too are given a big responsibility in running the outfit.
The al-Qaeda is an example of how an outfit can collapse with the death of its leader. Bhagdadi has very carefully planned the organizational structure and wants the ISIS to continue as strong as ever even if he were to die.
Bhagdadi conveys the intent while the others execute
Bhagdadi has ensured that the work is evenly distributed. Each one is made to feel important in the outfit and this has kept at bay disgruntlement among the leaders. The ISIS has several units which look after a range of issues and there is a commander for each of these.
For instance, the Paris attack would not have been overseen completely by Bhagdadi. He would have had his dedicated commanders in Syria plan and execute the strike. What the commanders are supposed to follow is the intent of Bhagdadi.
He issues sermons regularly and it is for the commanders to understand his intent and execute an attack. Bhagdadi conveys his intent and sets the agenda rolling. It is for his commanders to execute the rest.
Bhagdadi has carefully set up the ISIS command and realizes that with the battle getting bloodier with each passing day, there is a need to nurture more persons who can carry the flag even if he were to die.
The ISIS works as a government
When the ISIS was launched it was decided that the end goal would be to run a country. Unlike the al-Qaeda which restricted itself to being a terror group, the ISIS had a more ambitious plan.
The ISIS began by taking over territory and controlling it. It set up leaders specific to each territory and framed laws to govern the area. It controls offices, the education system in these areas. In addition to this it has also launched its own currency. This is a well thought out strategy by the ISIS and aimed at governance rather than just attack.