Well sort of, although with a very nasty plot twist in the end.
Why would a group, any group, decide to wage a war against the entire world? What could be their rational? They can’t possibly hope to outgun the opposition. They don’t have the logistical resources, nor do they have the money to purchase a war machine capable of winning. So what could be their end-game? Do they simply hope to die in some forsaken desert, some kind of bizarre death by cop strategy? In a word – yes.
ISIS members do not envision the world the way most sentient, logical beings do. While most humans believe their own actions create a direct cause and effect, they believe their actions are only the catalyst for a miraculous redemption by a higher power. By declaring to be the creators of an Islamic Caliphate, they believe that they have become the spearhead for the coming Islamic redemption. To us, our lives matter. To them, their deaths entice global rebirth.
To entice this supernatural redemption to occur, they believe they need to antagonize the rest of the world into retribution against them. Much like the carjacker will wave his arms in the air and dare the cop to shoot, ISIS will push and poke the West with every form of depravity it can muster in an effort to cause a retaliation. Their goal is to find a trigger point that causes the West to retaliate with all its resources. In that very day, when the Western world unleashes its wrath, they will have reached their goal of martyrdom for the cause. But more importantly, they believe that their martyrdom will unleash a Divine final retribution against the West’s transgressors and that the Caliphate will then rise in all its glory.
How could it be possible for their actions, no matter how savage or depraved, to incite the world to respond with such an unabashed war against the Caliphate? If cutting off the heads of innocents, you-tubing mass executions, and doing unspeakable things to women cannot provoke such a response from the West, what possibly could?
Well, what if ISIS becomes a catalysts for a Sunni Shia conflagration? What if it was possible for them to exacerbate the increasingly cracking fault lines between these two basic regimes? Could it be possible for them to fan the flames of division to the point where an all-out war between the regions big players, Iran and Saudi Arabia were to take place? When one Jordanian pilot was desecrated on video, it enraged the Jordanians and they unleashed its Air Force. Could some act generate a similar reprisal by the Saudi’s or Iranians? The Saudis already feel pressure by Iran’s new influence and nuclear aspirations. The Iranians have new resolve to expand their influence even more as the west increasingly lifts its sanctions. With just a little push at the right time and place, ISIS could indeed help unleash a Middle East war unlike nothing ever seen in the modern era.
How could a comparatively small group such as ISIS, no matter how depraved, create a Sunni Shia divide of such proportions? One method at their disposal is their increasingly capable use of the internet and social media to spread hate and distrust. The tools exists that allow a few of them to illicit a response from millions if the message hits the right note. A well-constructed propaganda campaign, coupled with the demolition of a few well-chosen Islamic symbols of faith, could potentially generate a societal rift unlike nothing the world has seen. Such an act would draw swift and sure retribution. Which would then trigger an even wider response of retaliation. Martyrdom may indeed unleash social change.
But could such a war between Shia and Sunni draw in the western countries? Oil in the deserts is like a honeysuckle to the bee. Naturally, we would claim our participation was to protect our allies and to preserve the stability of the region. Likewise of course, the only reason we need them stable, or as allies in the first place, is to keep their oil fields flowing the sweet nectar from underground those deserts. Be involved we would. But how would we even fight such a war and who would our allies truly be. In a Sunni Shia war, a war with no geographical borders or political sides, the bombs will have no targets. Who are our allies in Syria today and who are our enemies?
And what of the wild card in such a situation. Would we expect our more traditional enemies to also not be involved? Would not Russia and China use the situation to attempt to gain more influence in the region and in doing so up the stakes exponentially? For example, what if Russia were to agree to supply Iran with the latest ground to air defenses in exchange for oil rights. What if China stirred the pot by supplying IRAN with advanced nuclear techniques in exchange for future considerations? What if we supplied the Saudis with advanced missiles threatening everyone? A circling of the drain for all involved could begin in very short order.
ISIS may be right about its ability to generate a conflagration in the Middle East?
But could that actually elicit a supernatural response? One that could potentially end mankind’s dominion over the earth and remove the wicked beast from among us. Would in fact the meek then inherit the earth as promised? This all sounds reminiscent of a place I read about called Megiddo and the wrath unleashed on humans during Armageddon. How ironic would it be if the Divine intervention that ISIS is so diligently striving for to bless the Caliphate, instead ushers in a redemption of the innocent and the removal of the wicked?