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The debate over how to best deal with the Islamic State (IS) only continues to intensify, and IS has at least made it clear what they think United States (and Western) strategy should be. They want the US and friends dragged into a ground war. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 one of the most vocal proponents of it was major IS leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Why do they want this? Scripture prophesies an apocalyptic battle fought at the Syrian town of Dabiq. The name of the IS online magazine? Dabiq. Eager to see their ranks flush with more recruits, IS keeps poking the West trying to force it into a ground war. However, just because IS wants this to happen doesn’t mean it will actually happen; the Islamic State is far from a rational actor. Western leaders seem very quick to continue air strikes of quite frankly lukewarm strength of intensity, and readily admit that this will not solve neither IS nor the Middle East’s deeper problems. Largely ambiguous discussions of changes to social and political structure are frequently discussed. Some, mainly in the US, are beginning to call for a total ground war against IS. Ted Cruz famously said that he didn’t know if sand glows, but we would find out after bombing the Islamic State into oblivion. I will ask the question on everyone’s minds which it seems no one has an answer to. How do we get rid of the Islamic State? And how do we prevent the rise of similar groups afterwards?

*P.S. Please spare me answers centering around climate change.

Based on the article by Rukmini Callimachi in the Dec 8 2015 edition of The New York Times, which can be found by clicking HERE.