Much has been written about the response of the international community to the recent terrorist attacks by Islamic State against international targets, but less on the reasons why ISIS changed its strategy and picked a fight with world powers such as France and Russia.
One would have expected that Daesh, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry now suddenly calls the Jihadist organization, had concentrated on defending its self-proclaimed Caliphate, or on the expansion of the territory of its ‘state’.
Instead of responding to the recent loss of the strategically important region of Sinjar in Iraq that was lost to Kurdish Peshmerga forces two weeks ago – with a counteroffensive or a new push elsewhere in Iraq or Syria- Islamic State opted for widening the conflict outside the territory of the Middle East.
First, a Russian civilian airplane with 224 people on board was downed in Egypt by a bomb that was detonated by Islamic State affiliate Wilayat Sinai; and two weeks later, ISIS attacked France when members of the group murdered 129 people in Paris.
At first sight, it seemed that ISIS had decided to avenge the Russian and French intervention in the war in Syria. Russia entered the fray in September, and France started to bomb ISIS positions in Syria the same month.
But there is more than meets the eye.
As Western Journalism has reported in the past, Islamic State operates according to a plan that is based on an apocalyptic end-times vision. This plan envisions several major battles between Muslim armies and infidel forces in Syria, Israel (both are part of what is called Sham in Arabic) and in Europe. To create these desired battles, Islamic State needs chaos, and it needs to draw more nations into the battle.
Analyst Jonathan Spyer explained in the Jerusalem Post this weekend that Islamic State “does not, like some other manifestations of political Islam in the region, combine vast strategic goals with a certain tactical patience and pragmatism. Rather, existing at the most extreme point of the Sunni Islamist continuum, it is a genuine apocalyptic cult. It has little interest in being left alone to create a model of Islamic governance according to its own lights, as its Western opponents had apparently hoped.”
“Its slogan is ‘baqiya wa tatamaddad’ (remaining and expanding). The latter is as important an imperative as the former. Islamic State must constantly remain in motion and in kinetic action,” Spyer wrote.
So consolidation of its holdings in the Middle East or slowly expanding them is no option for the Jihadist group. The organization needs more chaos and wants the world to mobilize and unite forces to create the right circumstances for the major battle that will eventually bring the world under the dominance of Islam.
Israeli Islam and Middle East expert Tzvi Yechezkeli brought evidence that this vision was behind the attacks in Paris–and…