The Islamic State wasted no time in turning the territories it conquered into an actual state, especially Raqqa, Syria, it’s de facto capital. Writes Michael Weiss at the Daily Beast:

ISIS likes a tidy state and maintains one courtesy of the Diwan al-Khadamat, or Office of Services. … Here, too, the bureaucracy is impressive. Diwan al-Khadamat includes a sanitation department, a parks department, a building licensing department, and an electric utility.

Not to mention healthcare that shames the Affordable Care Act:

ISIS members are entitled to free medical treatment and pharmaceuticals, and anyone living in the caliphate can apply for free health care, provided need can be established.

Hey, where do I sign up? (Kidding, kidding.)

But while a state — or should I say uber-state: a self-proclaimed caliphate — the Islamic State also comports itself like a terrorist organization. But terrorists can’t put roots down for too long, en masse at least, lest they be targeted and wiped out. Thus does the Islamic State, via its ever-expanding resume of terror, threaten the existence of the state it’s created, as well as the Caliphate.

At Politico Magazine, Jessica Stern explains.

The problem is that, as the Paris killings and the French counterattack indicate, the Islamic State is partly a totalitarian state and partly a transnational terrorist organization … a millenarian cult with global terrorist ambitions.

… Carrying out such attacks invites a devastating counterattack on the Islamic State. These attacks do not further the interests of the totalitarian state. But again, they do further the interests of the millenarian cult, the goal of which is to goad the West into a final battle in Syria.

So which is it, Islamic State? Are you a caliphate or a millenarian cult? Cause if you’re the latter, the Caliphate will have turned out to be but a passing moment in time. But maybe, to the Islamic State, the Caliphate is only a means to the end times — to which, at the rate they’re going, they may well be on their way.