With US-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces advancing on Mosul and the recent loss of Dabiq, Syria, leaders of ISIL have found it necessary to rephrase their ideology.
Dabiq, a small town in the Aleppo province of Syria, was not only another tac on the map of ISIL-held settlements. It also holds great symbolism in the ISIL version of Islam as the location of their last great battle against the enemies of Allah. In other words, it is the site of Armageddon.
As the self-proclaimed modern incarnation of the Caliphate, or the rightful Islamic government, ISIL fighters believe that they will fulfill prophecy as put forth in Islamic tradition that they will win the battle of Armageddon at the end of days. This battle, meant to take place in Dabiq, Syria was thought to take place in the near future, seeing as it was in the hands of ISIL. However, having lost the town, ISIL leaders have come forth to say that it was not the right time for Armageddon, that the right coalition of enemies had not gathered and other events have not yet transpired. So do not lose hope, claim the leaders. There will be Armageddon soon enough.
Yet this feels all too much like any one of the many so called end-of-days prophecies that we have heard in just recent history. A claim is made, the time passes or other signs are not fulfilled, and the false prophets of doom recant their statements or revise them. Such seems to be the case with ISIL.
This is not to discount the danger this group has, does, and can continue to pose, however. Indeed, as the writer of the NY Times says, “the shift in language could be just the latest example of the group’s pragmatic flexibility, propaganda savvy and staying power.” If a group can give a good enough reason why something has not transpired, its followers will continue to believe. Such is the case with ISIL.
Though victories have been made, the ideological and physical warfare against ISIL continues. After all, it ain’t over till it’s over.
Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/world/middleeast/islamic-state-syria-iraq.html