[ by Charles Cameron — wondering how close we are to deep recognition of the millenarian nature of IS ]
I sense a “change of direction” coming in discussions of terrorism — and IS / Daesh specifically — in the wake of Dempsey‘s declaration “This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision”, Graeme Wood‘s Atlantic article, What ISIS Really Wants, and Jessica Stern and JM Berger‘s forthcoming book, ISIS: The State of Terror — and once the Stern / Berger book is out in a week or so, I’ll be posting about that change as I see it, and as it affects my writing here on Zenpundit.
In the meantime…
The Atlantic Council posted (above) the video of their recent discussion of last month’s war game in which “Eed Team” representing IS / Daesh took on “Blue Team” representing the US. I wasn’t at either that event or the war game itself — the second in their series — but while I was waiting for the feed to be permanently uploaded, I found time to read an account of the first game in the series in October 2014, and ran across this paragraph:
Despite its profound interest in waging holy war against Blue and the enormous symbolism of such a campaign, Red members agreed that it would be prudent to delay the launching of spectacular terrorist attacks against the US homeland. Attacking the United States on its own soil now would bring considerable symbolic and material advantages, but it would also come at the high risk of unleashing the fury of the most powerful military on earth. Washington’s most likely response, Red assumed, would be to escalate militarily and deploy US ground troops to completely root out Red. And once Blue goes “all in,” according to Red, it would most likely be the beginning of the end for Red (that does not mean, however, that Red would not put up a fight and incur heavy losses on Blue before its elimination).
Who were these Red members, and what was their level of understanding of IS / Daesh’s end times thinking, as manifested in the various issues of Dabiq magazine — and recently, since that first war game, noted by Wood in his Atlantic article?
The thing is, Dabiq makes it very clear that IS, by reason of its eschatology, both desires US involvement and envisions that its own caliphal troops will be severely reduced in numbers before God grants them the final victory. This is in accord with one of IS / Daesh’s favorite hadiths, quoted more than once in Dabiq:
The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them). When they will arrange themselves in ranks, the Romans would say: Do not stand between us and those (Muslims) who took prisoners from amongst us. Let us fight with them; and the Muslims would say: Nay, by Allah, we would never get aside from you and from our brethren that you may fight them. They will then fight and a third (part) of the army would run away, whom Allah will never forgive. A third (part of the army). which would be constituted of excellent martyrs in Allah’s eye, would be killed ani the third who would never be put to trial would win and they would be conquerors of Constantinople.
Did anyone on the Red Team quote that hadith in either game?
I ask, because I’m wondering — in terms of that “change of direction” I mentioned above — whether discussion of the apocalyptic driver has reached “critical mass” yet.