What ISIS Really Wants
What is the Islamic State? Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. 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. But Adnani was not merely talking trash. I.
Related: Terrorisme / Intégrisme
• Islam and Politics