Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Syria | War on Terrorism | ISIS | armageddon-style | battle

ISIS Wants Armageddon-Style Battle in Syria

ISIS Wants Armageddon-Style Battle in Syria
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters pose for a photo holding an Islamic State (IS) group flag in the village of Sultan Mari, west of the city of Kirkuk on March 9, 2015, after they reportedly re-took the area from IS jihadists. (Photo credit Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 November 2015 10:00 AM

The Islamic State believes it's on a "divine mission" to lure unbelievers into Syria for an Armageddon-like battle — and it'd be a mistake to interpret its brutality through the "lens of Western rationality," analysts believe.

"They don't see being way too brutal as a bad thing," Matthew Levitt, head of the counterterrorism program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tells The Washington Post.

"Brutality is working for them. They don't see taking over the world as overstretching. This is part of the divine mission."

According to Matthew Henman of IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center, the more the West strikes in Syria, "it only builds into the narrative that the end is coming," the Post reports.

With the suspected downing of a Russian commercial plane earlier this month and the deadly attacks on innocents in Paris last week, it's as if ISIS leaders are chiding Western powers that, "you can carry out all these cowardly airstrikes in the air, but we'll come to your capital cities and we'll kill large numbers of your civilians on the ground. And you cannot stop us from doing it," Henman tells the Post.

William McCants, an analyst at the Brookings Institution and author of "The ISIS Apocalypse," tells the newspaper the horrific attacks may be an ISIS decision to frighten France and Russia from further involvement in the Mideast — or an attempt to lure them further into the fight.

"It's one of the hardest questions to answer," McCants tells the Post. "It's totally unclear. We don't know their motivation or what is motivating the decision-making at the top of the organization."

But what ISIS believes, according to its online propaganda magazine, "Dabiq," is that the caliphate will eventually claim victory in a war against the infidels, culminating in a final end-of-days battle in Dabiq, near the northern city of Aleppo, the Post reports.

According to the Post, each edition features the same prophetic quote about how things will unfold: "The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify — by Allah's permission — until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq."

President Barack Obama
says he wants to avoid any moves to "play into the narrative."

And U.S. officials, including CIA Director John Brennan, believe the loss of territory in Syria and Iraq has undermined the Islamic State's legitimacy and is pressuring it to prove its power in other ways.

"It has not had that type of momentum inside of those two countries," Brennan said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Post reports. "Which is why I think they are looking abroad now to have these spectacular attacks."

ISIS will  try to exploit the Paris bombings as a recruiting tool, Daniel Byman, a Georgetown University professor and terrorism expert, tells the Post.

"If you are a young Muslim who is angered by the attacks on Sunnis in Syria, this is a group that is showing it's fighting back by hitting [your] enemies," he tells the Post.

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The Islamic State believes it's on a "divine mission" to lure unbelievers into Syria for an Armageddon-like battle - and it'd be a mistake to interpret its brutality through the "lens of Western rationality, analysts believe."
ISIS, armageddon-style, battle, syria
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 10:00 AM
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