Why do groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda continue use terrorism attacks, which only do temporary physical damage. It seems to have the primary effect of aggravating huge military entities such as N.A.T.O or the U.S.

The swift downfall of Al Qaeda's power after the 9/11 attacks is an example of such a thing happening, and considering that ISIS started as a small branch of Al Qaeda they have seen this kind of thing happen firsthand.

So I am confused why they continue to do the same thing instead of any alternative ways to achieve their goals?


10 Answers 10


The stated goal of ISIS is to eliminate "the grey area". Today there is a sizeable minority of Muslims living in western society. ISIS wants to show that it's not possible for Muslims to live in the western world. Their method is to perform terrorist attacks in the hope it will cause a backlash against Muslims living in the western world.

ISIS states this very clearly:

“the time had come for another event to … bring division to the world and destroy the grey zone”


“the world today is divided into two camps”: that of kufr, or unbelief, and that of their own warped interpretation of Islam. In between these lies the “grey zone”, inhabited by those who call themselves Muslims yet fail to join Daesh.”

  • 19
    Well, this is sinister. I much preferred just assuming they didn't like the white devils of the west
    – Sidney
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:30
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    Also they want the west to get involved in multiple conflicts that they can not win. The hope is that this will bankrupt countries involved overtime just as the prolonged Russian invasion of Afghanistan helped in the collapse of the USSR. Commented May 24, 2017 at 15:43
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    @Sidney Don't think of them as evil crazy people. Their brains aren't damaged - they just have a different set of values and goals. The same strategy was applied over and over in history, and some of the ISIS leaders may have even had personal experience with it back from the Cold War. And don't think they have one goal, and one strategy - in any asymmetric conflict, you're basically trying to cause an auto-immune response in the target - make them expend huge amounts of resources and damage themselves, wildly out of proportion to the actual threat (and more importantly, your own costs).
    – Luaan
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 8:51
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    Post hoc self rationalizations and stated goals are not explanations.
    – Sentinel
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 12:43
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    @EpicKip If it took brain damage for humans to do bad things, the world would look quite a bit different. It's sad, and we need to change that, but claiming that The Enemy is brain-damaged isn't helping - it's the exact same attitude The Enemy has against you (that is, "they're not really human, so it's okay to kill them/force them to do what you want"). It usually takes that kind of framing for a human to willingly kill another human, but that's all it takes, as history shows and evolutionary "behaviorology" explains.
    – Luaan
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 12:52

This question seems a little like why do terrorists commit terror?

The aim of a terrorist group isn't usually to be left alone, but more to provoke conflict, or as a form of violent protest against what they believe is a wrong.

You are mistaken when you claim terrorism

only do temporary physical damage

The value in a terrorist attack isn't really the attack itself, but the reaction that accompanies it. People and governments react to terrorism by becoming more fearful of certain subsections of the population, fearful to carry out actions they may previously have no problem in doing (e.g. going to a concert, boarding a plane etc.) or fearful of the group itself i.e ISIS/ Al-Qaeda. All three of these things benefit terrorist organizations:

  • Fear of a certain subsection of the population (e.g. Muslims) - Leads to oppressive laws and environments for them to live in for example racial profiling, watch-lists/registry, a rise in hate crime and other generally discriminatory things.. When people are oppressed they are more susceptible to an extremist ideology - so more recruitment for the organization.
  • Fear of carrying out normal actions - one of the major ways to win a war or any form of war is to disrupt normal life in your enemy state.
  • Fear of the group - the ultimate macho objective, if people think your group can go head to head against the country with the most powerful military on earth and cause significant damage (9/11) - then suddenly they want to negotiate with you, join you etc. you gain a lot of soft power, and ability to blackmail e.g Give me X or I will bomb the whitehouse

Another point you seem to misunderstand is that you think they are thinking about western retaliation to their attack. Most terrorism is usually in retaliation to something the west did in the first place. From the terrorists perspective they are the ones committing the retaliation or "evening things out". For example the 2013 attack on Lee Rigby was committed in retaliation to the Invasion of Iraq and atrocities committed by coalition forces. Edit in request for more examples: The November 2015 Paris attacks were claimed as a response to French Airstrikes in Syria, Stated motives for the 9/11 attacks include US military presence in Saudia Arabia and UN Resolution 661, a friend of one of the 7/7 attackers claims that he often watched "videos of Muslim suffering around the world inc Palestine and Chechnya" and this may have motivated the attack in the BBC Documentary "Biography of a Bomber", the Boston Marathon bombings were allegedly done in response to U.S. wars in Iraq and Syria. Edit thanks to bain for pointing out that the 7/7 attackers left pre-recorded videos, where they claimed there motivation to be "Your democratically-elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible". Source.

You also mention

do the same thing instead of any alternative ways to achieve their goals

This is a false premise, terrorist organizations do several other things to achieve their goals including capturing territory, enforcing laws and spreading propaganda.

Another thing you claim is:

The swift downfall of Al Qaeda's power after the 9/11 attacks is an example of such a thing happening, and considering that ISIS started as a small branch of Al Qaeda they have seen this kind of thing happen firsthand.

It could be argued that this isn't really true since a vast number of ISIS recruits were originally members of Al-Qaeda and they share a very similar ideology. In fact ISIS is much bigger and stronger than Al - Qaeda ever was and at their peak controlled upwards of 100,000 sq km of land and has tens of thousands of foreign fighters. In their eyes they've gotten a lot stronger.

In conclusion terrorism is part of the eternal cycle of "he hit me first" or to quote Exodus 21:24 "An eye for an eye", and generally has worked to provoke a response from the west, which has further aggravated an oppressed population who are then more likely to support a terrorist group who then commit another attack who then ..... cycle goes on.

So to be incredibly cynical in a terrorists eyes: the question isn't why it's why not.

Further Reading

  • Why do terrorists commit terror? - Peter Bergen (NY Times)
  • What motivates terrorists? - Simon Cottee (Atlantic)
  • Causes of terrorism - Amy Zalman PHD (ThoughtCo)

Just to be clear I abhor terrorism but if we really want to get to the bottom of why someone does something we have to examine our actions also

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    Can you cite the "most terrorism is usually in retaliation to something the west did in the first place" a little more fully, one example doesn't really define a majority.
    – J Sargent
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 16:15
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    @SleepingGod It's better, the meaning of Exodus 21:24 is more or less what you say. The context is the opposite, though: the idea there is that you need to limit your retribution to no more than an eye for an eye, etc., so as to not escalate conflicts. (Note: I'm not easymoden00b)
    – Charles
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 18:49
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    An excellent example of that reaction is the recent car crash in Times Square. There was almost an audible sigh of relief from the nation when it was found that "Oh, it's just another DUI. No terrorism here folks!" This despite the fact that DUIs kill orders of magnitudes more than terrorists. We simply respond so strongly to terrorism.
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 19:09
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    This is also a cycle, as the west continues to bomb terrorists(in retaliation to attacks) but harm civilians, the civilians are more likely to join or support organizations like ISIS.
    – Reed
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 13:22
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    While this may be true for Islamist terrorism, it isn't quite true for all terrorism. The IRA was notable for trying to avoid civilian casualties during its campaigns, preferring to target economic and military targets, such as the 1996 manchester bombing which killed zero people, but is still the largest bomb detonated in england since WW2 and which caused nearly $1bn in today's dollars of damage. Or perhaps the Weather Underground who (for most of their attacks) made sure they hit symbolic and unoccupied targets. These groups do not fit the characterization given in this answer.
    – Knetic
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 6:35

Many answers here are attempting to answer your question in a similar perspective, and they are all extremely interesting and most of them seem very well documented.

What I'll offer you is an attempt to destabilize some "absolutes" that emerge from both your question and most of the answers that I do not find so obvious. Forgive me if this is a rebuttal-question by itself more than an answer, I can see the shower of downvotes coming but I think it's still worth it if at least a little bit of reflecting will follow from my answer.

("racist stereotypical elements" are used on purpose, and if someone thinks I'm condoning terrorism... You're missing my point by quite a lot)

Imagine a person your age and gender sitting on their carpet somewhere in the Middle East (it is well known middle-easterns don't have chairs), typing on their keyboard full of weird wiggly symbols we don't really understand. They're writing on the Middle-eastern equivalent of politics.stackexchange and their question is:

Why does Western Governments continue to do things to make their "enemy" even more determined to go attack them?

Maybe they're asking this question after the thousandth drone strike killed tens of civilians out of the blue in a crowded market. Except for the fact that they could almost have gotten used to it (I can't even imagine what it means to get used to such stuff), probably the first time they saw children and women torn into pieces it felt not too different from what those people in Manchester have experienced.

What would then be the Middle-eastern versions of the answers we are getting here? Would they sound similar, modulo switching a couple words?

I won't dig deeper into the topic, as I think this first taste is enough to provoke some thought (and possibly get me on a few kill-lists. Oh, well.)

What I can add is the simple but interesting statement that maybe, in the end, everyone actually thinks they're the good guys

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    Exactly my thoughts. It is any surprise that people get pissed when a western power bombs a children's hospital, killing hundreds, then says "Whoops, collateral damage. By the way, you can't actually hold us accountable for this and if you do we'll kill you".
    – SGR
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 8:59
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    @Stefano "Why does Western Governments continue to do things to make their "enemy" even more determined to go attack them?" oh that's easy: OIL
    – warsong
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:20
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    @warsong sadly that is true
    – preston
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 15:03
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    Not quite oil. Petrodollars. Without USD settlement of OPEC trades, there would not be a USD as a reserve currency
    – Sentinel
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 12:49
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    @SleepingGod: I cite myself from a few lines above, where I say "racist stereotypical elements" are used on purpose . From the same part one also finds keyboard full of weird wiggly symbols , and I would have talked about the person's mud house not too far from the loud bazaar too but I guess the intent of depicting the "unknown and stereotypicized middle-eastern" to add to the fictional narration had already been reached... or maybe not.
    – Stefano
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 12:17

A short answer is the last paragraph.

Born and raised as a Muslim, though I am more inclined to defend my lifestyle choices with progressist politics, rather than entities with extra-political world views, like ISIS, I shall attempt to answer your question.

First, ISIS doesn't do all the attacks (it just claims to do so) and not mainly for inflicting fear on its targets or anything because, as your question presumes well, against NATO-like military organisations, no movement - no matter how well equipped it is - can resist and though it is unreasonable, ISIS knows this for a fact and thus it tries to become a symbol. ISIS promotes two different images to different societies.

In my opinion, what ISIS does is to try to appear as a "hope zone" to those who are marginalised by the very society in which they live. They openly target the second generation of immigrant families and prisoners for recruitment into wealthy societies. The first generation of immigrants, those that arrive, most of the time are just grateful to be alive, maybe not in the conditions, they had hoped for but also in no position to be attacking the very fabric of the society in which they have been received. I am a first generation immigrant, and that is how I see the people around me, I can clearly weigh my options and see that my prospects of living here are more reasonable than my home country.

The second generation, though, for the most part, has a severe identity crisis. This identity crisis for some cases results in major isolation from the society. That's where a search for something starts. For some that something results in Isis. A poor choice in all prospects, but some go along with it. The possibility of being part of something, like anything, especially something that is condemned by the society from which you feel isolated, must be thrilling for some people. Even the thought probably gives excitement to some. One also has to admit that ISIS acknowledges this, that is you do your part, go explode somewhere, kill a lot of people, then ISIS does its part and acknowledges your "achievements" by declaring you as part of them, and their cause.

It plays a totally different game in near-east countries though. It also attacks those countries too, by the way. Turkey alone had seen 23 ISIS related bombings in 2014-2016, or Iraq had seen 15 of them in the first 6 months of 2015 or 2014, I don't remember the year really well, but media in here doesn't talk about it if it is not European among the dead. In near-east, it uses the misery of the life conditions of the people. Think of it this way: you are in your early 20s, you have no money, you barely survive by working in long shifts in poor conditions, with no money or a decent job, you have a very poor chance at marriage if you are an average looking guy or woman, and let's say you have been raised with conservative values, though not being necessarily very well versed with the interiors of the religion that is supposed to be the basis of those values. In all that misery, some colleague says one day: "hey I have this friend who is organising an event for discussing such theme in some locale, would you like to come?" As time passes on, this friend proposes you the following option, become a soldier of ISIS, have a wife from their captured sexual slaves, have a steady income, live in the designated houses either for very cheap prices or free. You are promised to die as a martyr of Islam, which is a very high status for some.

To answer your title question directly, ISIS doesn't really care about presenting itself as the enemy, as long as it can appear as a community, to those who are marginalised by the targeted countries, which destabilises the society of the targeted countries. And let's face it as long as the Syrian civil war exist, they will continue to exist, and probably even after that, since the civil wars in Libya and Sudan also are going on in the region, they have high chances of continuing their organisation there as they feed on the misery of the people for their staff.

As for the question of why reproduce the Al-Qaeda methods, well... They are not reproducing it. Al-Qaeda was strictly against non-Muslims, so countries like Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, didn't really suffer from that organisation. According to Al-Qaeda, the enemies were and still are the non-Muslim countries. For ISIS, the definition of the infidel includes different sections of Islam, you might find it hard to believe, but in Turkey, the most ardent attackers against ISIS came from extreme right and radical Islam, since they refused to be branded as infidels, just because some new kid decided for them to be so. Plus accepting ISIS would mean a loss of control in their communities, etc.

Regarding the use of terrorism by both organisations, my personal belief is that both of the organisations are a disgrace to Islam that I have been raised with, but their attacks don't necessarily appear as such to their relative communities. Think of it this way, bombing ISIS for saving Yezidis was an incredibly human gesture of US that would be remembered for a long time among Kurdish community, but the bombing of Iraq would not be considered so. The action is the same, but its perception differs among the people. The same goes for the community that might be willing to associate themselves with that movement, those actions are not perceived as terrorism. They differ considerably by the way. Al-Qaeda is still against the attacks in regions like Pakistan, Egypt, etc. For Al-Qaeda, the attacks in those regions are what you would call terrorism. Though this doesn't change much as far as the non-Muslim societies, I am just trying to say that they do differ in their perception of the enemy, but not in the choice of action. Why choose terrorism at all you might say, well that is quite easy. It is the only course of conceivable hostile action that would put you into the headlines if you are an organisation from the Middle East.

  • This is a really interesting read. I'm curious what country you originated from and where you live now.
    – adelphus
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 11:37
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    @adelphus I was born and raised in Turkey, and now currently live in France
    – Kaan E.
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 14:24

One reason for provoking powerful opponents is to establish in the eyes of potential recruits that you are a powerful organization that can accomplish what other organizations cannot.

Doing this may cause recruits or financing sources to support your cause because they think highly of your group relative to others that "play it safe" by comparison. Generally, establishing yourself as the most extreme player is a good strategy for securing the time and treasure of people who want to support an extremist cause.

Less cynically, the leaders of ISIS may sincerely think that the Western way of life exemplified in rock concerts, large scale commercial banking activity contrary to Islamic law, and government institutions of countries that advance a way of life contrary to Islamic law in the world, is evil and that it is their duty to take action, on behalf of God, to punish this evil in a public way that discourages others.

To use an example familiar with Christian readers, Jesus violently disrupted the activities of the money changers in one episode depicted in the Bible, because it was contrary to Jewish law and his ideals. Obviously, that one act of low grade terrorism did not end the money changing business in the Levant. But, it did clearly establish his credentials as a force opposed to this conduct widely viewed in the Jewish community at the time as immoral, and this may have helped him win converts to his movement.

Launching a terrorist attack aimed of rock concerts or frolicing mostly naked beach goers, for example, both of which may be viewed from the ISIS perspective as exemplary of the depravity of the West, may serve a similar purpose.

So I am confused why they continue to do the same thing instead of any alternative ways to achieve their goals?

This question also contains a false premise.

Yes, they do the same thing, but they also employ alternative ways to achieve their objectives (e.g. seeking to militarily control territory in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Northern Pakistan, Northern Nigeria, Somolia, etc.). Taking one approach does not prevent them from simultaneously taking other approaches.

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    Just remember it was the "sin" of square dancing in 1950s in the US that set the Islamists ball rolling in Egypt. This later birthed al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi extremism and other terrorists movements.
    – user9790
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:41
  • What is the military objective of the suppression of rock concerts? Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:41
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    @easymoden00b It doesn't have to be a "military objective". It is more of a public relations and moral objective.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:43
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    The implication of an economic benefit is very insightful, I think! e.g. if your organization is fighting against X, by highly visibly terrorizing X, you can get more funding from others who oppose X economically, but do not want to jeopardize themselves by overly using violence themselves.
    – Kzqai
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 23:17
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    @TheDarkLord You are employing unauthorized violence against people conducting business with official approval for the relevant authorities in charge of the Temple, in pursuit of a religious or political agenda. It sounds like terrorism to me. Surely, not all terrorism needs to result in death.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 0:45

Why does ISIL attempt to provoke a fight they cannot win? The answer is simple.

much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

This summary comes from a widely circulated and sometimes critiqued article published by The Atlantic: "What ISIS Really Wants". I'd recommend reading it. What's particularly interesting is that the author, Graeme Wood, went out to try and find what ISIL and their ilk thought of his conclusions. They approved.

It is incorrect to assume that jihadi ideology is monolithic. Al-Qaeda was very much of the old school of jihadi thinking that emerged in the 90s; that horrific acts of violence would be shocking enough to awaken the Muslim world to the injustices against it. This would summon the umma together to overthrow those attempting to enslave and destroy them: Jews, crusaders, dictators, etc. This would allow Islam to unite and return to a romantic and idealised past where Muslims were united, powerful, and free to govern themselves... or so the theory went.

Incidentally, Al-Qaeda didn't fall from power after 9/11 - they never had much power to begin with. They were always a small organisation, and though America hunted for them in Afghanistan they never found the capabilities they presumed Al-Qaeda had. In the end it was the instability in Iraq which allowed Al-Qaeda to spread and mutate.

ISIL emerged as a virulent offshoot of Al-Qaeda Iraq, and began to believe that the end of times was fast approaching. It was thus their duty to make sure this happened. Al-Qaeda's strategy was to use attacks to lure west and east into a clash of civilisations; which of course would result in a united and victorious Muslim world. ISIL's strategy was to use attacks to lure the west into triggering the apocalypse.

This seems comparable to America's Evangelical Christians supporting Israel in the hope that when all the Jews are in Israel it will trigger the second coming of Christ. Both groups seek to utilise outside forces to achieve their preferred prophecy.

other parts are based on mainstream Sunni sources and appear all over the Islamic State’s propaganda. These include the belief that there will be only 12 legitimate caliphs, and Baghdadi is the eighth; that the armies of Rome will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islam’s final showdown with an anti-Messiah will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest.

The Islamic State has attached great importance to the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo. It named its propaganda magazine after the town, and celebrated madly when (at great cost) it conquered Dabiq’s strategically unimportant plains. It is here, the Prophet reportedly said, that the armies of Rome will set up their camp. The armies of Islam will meet them, and Dabiq will be Rome’s Waterloo or its Antietam.

“Dabiq is basically all farmland,” one Islamic State supporter recently tweeted. “You could imagine large battles taking place there.” The Islamic State’s propagandists drool with anticipation of this event, and constantly imply that it will come soon. The state’s magazine quotes Zarqawi as saying, “The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify … until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.” A recent propaganda video shows clips from Hollywood war movies set in medieval times—perhaps because many of the prophecies specify that the armies will be on horseback or carrying ancient weapons.

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    This. People somehow keep thinking people pledged to strap themselves to a bomb and blow up a market still think exactly like them, in terms of political goals. But what does politics matter when 'Allah is on your side'? Commented May 25, 2017 at 7:23
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    Well-spoken and well referenced! Commented May 25, 2017 at 12:43
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    This is 100x better than the answer that has 100 upvotes currently.
    – user4012
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 13:04
  • ^^ this. shows you the depth of delusion in which the West wallows right now.
    – Genli Ai
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 23:58
  • @someguy Come again?
    – user8398
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 6:51

Terrorist groups such as ISIS seek to disrupt life in Western society. Since they don't have an air force or any advanced milatary capabilities, they use the weapon most readily available to them: fear.

By carrying out violent attacks in public places, they create heightened tensions around the world, forcing governments to ramp up security and limit the freedoms of citizens in an effort to make the public feel safe. This has proven to be an incredibly effective tactic.

After the U.S. invaded Iraq in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks, it left a power vacuum that allowed ISIS to grow throughout the region. So, while the countries that have fallen victim to terrorist attacks might be more "determined" to go after the perpetrators, this tactic can potentially play right into their hands.

  • Why was this answer down voted?
    – preston
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 18:06
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    I up-voted it to counter at least one of the down votes. This answer is actually spot-on, at least from the perspective of a former US military person who was trained on terrorism. The first paragraph of this answer is pretty much the definition of terrorism, and the two paragraphs that follow give good examples of how terrorism is used in the modern day. Commented May 23, 2017 at 21:07
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    Al Qaida the group responsible for 9/11 was based in Afghanistan not Iraq.
    – Rolen Koh
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 8:28
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    I downvoted because this answer should include a way for readers to know that it is true. If you are some kind of expert or professional in a field that deals with terrorism, you can cite your own experience. Otherwise this should be backed up with a reference to some source that shows this is what ISIS is doing. Commented May 24, 2017 at 13:09
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    @adelphus In a free society, shouldn't I have the freedom to fly to Denver without having my genitals grabbed and my naked body observed through a body scanner by a government employee? In what world are such policies "just laws"?
    – Jon Letko
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 14:44

They want to create a culture of conflict between the Ummah and Western Society. You see, because of western benevolence there are tens of millions of Muslims now living across the west (and thousands more each day). If they increase the tension between Westerners and Muslims the result will be conflict predominating within western society and a fracturing of the very fabric of these societies. The Ummah, being a monoculture, does not have this problem and would be a united front in a cultural conflict between the two sides.

The swift downfall of Al Qaeda's power after the 9/11 attacks is an example of such a thing happening

The taliban is still a thing. The "crusaders" are a potent recruiting tool. When the US finally leaves the current afghan government will likely collapse.

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    Could you elaborate in "The Ummah, being a monoculture"? Not only because of the tensions between countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the like, but also because of data showing that most victims of Daesh and AlQaeda are Muslim (independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/…, globalresearch.ca/…)
    – SJuan76
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:57
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    @SJuan76 Right, so the end goal is to unite Islam into a Caliphate. That caliphate will be governed by Shariah. Under Sharia the dictates of the Quran are the sole dictates that govern society. One of these dictates is to fight non-believers until they either no longer exist, or they exist in subjugation (dhimmitude). The Ummah is the worldwide body of Muslims. "Daesh", Al-Qaeda, the Wahhabis, etc. are a manifestation of the will of the politic, defeat individually does nothing. Current violence in the Middle East is a side show. End-game is cultural conflict between Islam and the West. Commented May 23, 2017 at 15:12
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    Right, but what about the reality of the Muslim world?
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 21:50
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    @Relaxed This is about ideology. The reality of the Muslim world is in pursuit of this ideological goal by it's very nature. That is the reality. Who is what or where is doing to whom is a footnote. It doesn't matter. They'll be replaced. The ideological foundation that is the driving force behind these groups will remain unchanged and the conflict will continue unabated as it has for the past 1300 years. These groups act as a manifestation of the ideology. Just as the marxists did in Cambodia. Commented May 23, 2017 at 22:11
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    @easymoden00b Except it's demonstrably not the case and when faced with that reality, you declare that a “side-show”…
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 4:34

If you want to know why just check what happen to the families and children in Afghanistan Iraq Syria and many other countries after the NATO strike.

I think maybe it's the same answer of the question why Japanese did the horrible attack of pearl harbor

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    What is the similarity of Pearl Harbour and let's say 9/11 from the attacker's perspective? Commented May 29, 2017 at 19:06
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    Answers need to be able to explain and justify points, preferably with references. The answer needs far more effort.
    – user8398
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 8:34

You say "do things to make ... determined": these things are for media attention. ISIS's funding and recruiting depends on this. ISIS is very good at teasing the media by providing sensational video and promoting it on social internet.

  • 3
    This answer is very terse, to be honest I don't really see how it expands on the existing answers that elaborate on the same point much more.
    – user11249
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 13:20

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