What does ISIS want to happen?
A seemingly small detail that goes largely undiscussed is that ISIS believes that they are in the battle for end times. ISIS is a doomsday-driven movement, consisting of the prophetic belief that they are the central focus of a foreign invasion of infidels to end the world as we know it. These end-times prophesies behold a strategy outlining their path to Judgement Day, that could prove valuable to the West in navigating their behavior. According to The Atlantic journalist Graeme Wood, who spent a considerable amount of time with ISIS defenders, describes the belief in detail, "During the last years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Islamic State’s immediate founding fathers, by contrast (to al-Qaeda leadership), saw signs of the end times everywhere….The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam. An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters, until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem. Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam—will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory."