What Do the Terrorists Really Want?

What Do the Terrorists Really Want? March 22, 2016

terror.001Rational, sane, compassionate people who come face to face with the unthinkable violence of Muslim extremist terrorists have to be asking themselves what are these people after? What do they want? What can they possibly think they are accomplishing?

The very best answer I’ve found to these questions, at least as they relate to ISIS sponsored terrorism, comes from an article that ran in The Atlantic earlier this year called “What ISIS Really Wants.” The first premise of the article seems spot on: from top to bottom, American ignorance about Islamic extremism, ISIS in particular, is a problem:

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (isis), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

What do they want?

The Islamic State awaits the army of “Rome,” whose defeat at Dabiq, Syria, will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse.

What ISIS wants to do is create a world-wide backlash against themselves. They are trying to be as bloody, violent, outlandish, and cruel as they can possibly be in order to lure the west into all out war. Their belief is that Allah will then intervene on their behalf & they will win this apocalyptic war with supernatural aid. This will usher in a new era of Islamic dominance and independence.

What to do about it? The worst thing western powers can do is to overreact and take the bait. Great nations call terror what it is: cold blooded murder. Terrorists are not warriors, they are cold blooded murderers. The article recommends an attempt to counter & contain ISIS for the simple reason that, unless the west bites and engages in a holy war, ISIS is unsustainable.

Properly contained, the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing. No country is its ally, and its ideology ensures that this will remain the case. The land it controls, while expansive, is mostly uninhabited and poor. As it stagnates or slowly shrinks, its claim that it is the engine of God’s will and the agent of apocalypse will weaken, and fewer believers will arrive. And as more reports of misery within it leak out, radical Islamist movements elsewhere will be discredited: No one has tried harder to implement strict Sharia by violence. This is what it looks like.

The full article is well worth your time…

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