'Deviant and Pathological': What Do ISIS Extremists Really Want?

September 3, 2014 11:18 PM

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'Deviant and Pathological': What Do ISIS Extremists Really Want?

Public beheadings like those of American journalists Steven Joel Sotloff and James Foley are part of ISIS' sophisticated video and social media strategy meant to sow terror in the Western world, U.S. officials and scholars say. But the Islamist extremists have larger goals than spreading fear with barbaric violence, they say, forcing Western governments to ask: What does ISIS really want?

ISIS' stated goal is to restore the "caliphate" — an Islamic state under the rule of a community of religious scholars guided by a supreme leader, the caliph or khalifah, which is generally taken to mean the successor to the Prophet Muhammad.

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