Following a draft U.N. Security Council resolution forwarded by the French in the wake of the heinous terrorist crime leveled against Paris, the major powers on that world body voted unanimously in its favour. The resolution describes the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group as “a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security” and consequently “calls upon member states that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures … on the territory under the control of ISIL … in Syria and Iraq.”
This, dare I say, historic resolution was passed after France began stepping up its air strikes aimed at hurting ISIS in whatever way it can. Russia too has upped the ante: After concluding an ISIS bomb brought down the Metrojet airliner over the Sinai recently the Russians have fired additional ship and air-launched cruise missiles at various targets. France, Russia and the United States have also begun hitting trucks and other targets they believe to be connected to the terror group’s black market oil smuggling network, which indicates they seek to cripple, perhaps completely destroy, the Islamist entity’s economy and general infrastructure also.
But the underlying question pertains to why ISIS would seek to bring arguably the most advanced and powerful militaries on the planet to the lands upon which it declared its terror state over a year ago. Surely it knows the might of these military powers could pulverize them if it did come to an all out, no holds barred, total war. Yet ISIS’s actions indicate that this is exactly the outcome it desires. It knew blowing up that Russian airliner killing all 224 aboard would incur the wrath of Moscow (which, while it had bombed ISIS before the Sinai attack, had been more focused on other Islamist groups which posed more of an immediate threat to the Syrian regime it is helping to keep propped-up) and it knew perpetrating the largest terrorist mass-murder in Paris since the end of the Second World War would see a much more ferocious French campaign leveled against it.
Its blowing up and killing of more than 100 Kurdish peace activists in the centre of the Turkish capital Ankara last October 10 was also likely aimed at incurring the wrath of Turkey. However the government in Ankara hasn’t taken any additional action against ISIS but has instead focused on continuing its war against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) into the winter. In addition ISIS also claimed responsibility for the gunning down of 38, mostly British, tourists in Tunisia over the summer and the recent bombing that killed 43 Shia Muslims in the Lebanese capital Beirut.)
The U.N. has essentially encouraged an international war against them. The scary thing is: ISIS more likely than not welcomes this development. After all, from now on, everyday it continues to survive it can claim to be standing against a new Crusade. It sought to suck in the world powers to fight them on their land wherein, it believes, it will eventually reign supreme over them. They seem to believe that by doing so they are acting in accordance with an ancient Hadith which proclaimed, among other things, that: “The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. Any army consisting of the best [soldiers] of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina [to confront them].”
Dabiq is a small town in Syria that ISIS did takeover. Its lurid flagship propaganda magazine is named after that town. More generally Islamists like them also see the West as simply a modern day incarnation of that ancient empire. Having their enemy powers converge on their land to fight them would, in their millenarian mindset, set the stage for the Last Hour.
And now they have a formal declaration through that vote at the Security Council. As their final hour approaches they will likely try to exceed their current level of violence by constantly trying to top their prior terror attacks in the number of deaths to the sensitivity of the areas they strike. Conveying to their followers that despite the fact the world has declared war on their caliphate they still nevertheless endure despite all odds stacked up against them. Proving, in their perverse world view, that they are in fact stronger and will ultimately prevail over all their many enemies. It’s up to international community, if there is such a thing, to thoroughly disprove that notion.