Observations on the Islamic State’s Strategy in the Wake of the Attacks in Paris and Brussels

David C Rapoport


Initially, the main efforts of the Islamic State in the Syrian civil war aimed to gain territories in Syria and Iraq for the establishment of the Caliphate, but after very striking early successes which attracted enormous numbers of foreign fighters, it lost a significant portion of the conquered territory. Instead of focusing on efforts to keep and regain the lands lost, it launched a series of attacks abroad in Paris and Brussels which intensified Western involvement in the Syrian Civil War. This change at first seems unreasonable. However, if one considers the nature of the Islamic State’s apocalyptic commitment the decision makes more sense. A difference between al-Qaeda and the Islamic State on the timing of the apocalypse helped break up their relationship and has produced several violent battles between them resulting in many casualties.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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