The following is an envisioning of what might eventually unfold if the Islamic State is left to flourish. Although it is only one of several scenarios, due to its ostensibly implausible nature, it deserves some delineation.
The Islamic State (IS) continues expanding its territory and influence through jihad. Religious minorities that fall under its sway—at least the fortunate ones—continue to flee in droves, helping make the Islamic State what it strives to be: purely Islamic.
Left unfettered, with only cosmetic airstrikes by an indecisive Obama administration to deal with, IS continues growing in strength and confidence, as Western powers again stand idly by.
More and more Muslims around the world, impressed and inspired by what they see, become convinced that the Islamic State is in fact the new caliphate deserving of their allegiance. Such Muslims—the most "radical" kind, who delight in the slaughter and subjugation of "infidels"—continue leaving Western nations and migrating to the Islamic State to wage jihad and live under Sharia.
In other words, a sizable chunk of the world's most radicalized/pious Muslims all become localized in one region. There they openly and proudly display their anti-infidel supremacism.
Throughout, Western media have no choice but to report objectively—so thoroughly exposed for its barbarity has IS become that it is an insurmountable task to whitewash its atrocities. The world has seen enough about IS to know that this is a savage, hostile, and supremacist state without excuse. Even Obama, after originally citing "grievances" as propelling the Islamic State's successes, recently made an about face, saying "No grievance justifies these actions."
Put differently, the "Palestinian card" will not work here. Western media, apologists, and talking heads cannot portray IS terror—including crucifying, beheading, and raping humans simply because they are "infidels"—as a product of "grievances" or "land disputes."
Indeed, the Islamic State itself, which is largely composed of foreigners, is the one invading other territories (Iraq, Syria), massacring and driving out their most indigenous inhabitants, from Christians to Yazidis.
In time, the Islamic State's borders are fully consolidated and the "caliphate" is a fact of reality. Its war on fellow Muslim "apostates"—its current excuse for not engaging the greatest of all "infidels" in the region, Israel—eventually comes to a close or stalemate.
Then the inevitable happens: another conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas; Muslims around the word, including those under IS authority, drunk with power and feelings of superiority, demand that the time to wipe out the Jewish infidel has finally come; that the second phase of the caliphate is now or never—conquest of "original infidels."
As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu recently declared during his U.N. speech, "ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control."
The Islamic State will eventually be compelled to start saber rattling and worse against Israel.
Thus the Islamic State will eventually be compelled to start saber rattling and worse against Israel. After all, its entire legitimacy is founded on its namesake—that it is the "Islamic state," the state that magnifies and protects Islam and Muslims. It must eventually confront Israel or else be proven the greatest of all hypocrites or munafiqun—a term of great rebuke in the Koran, which some Muslim authorities are already applying to IS for not confronting Israel now.
Conflicts inevitably ensue between Israel and its neighboring Islamic State. But unlike the Jewish state's war on Hamas—which the mainstream media can manipulate and portray as a war on innocent Palestinian women and children—world governments and media will find it exceedingly difficult to criticize Israel should any conflict between it and IS arise.
Unlike sympathy for the Palestinians, non-Muslims around the world vacillate between hate for and fear of the Islamic State; even Karen Armstrong, John Esposito and their ilk cannot apologize for this particular group of Islamic savages—other than to insist that theirs is not true Islam (an irrelevant point for the purposes of this scenario).
Moreover, the argument habitually used against Israel—that its war on Hamas creates innocent Palestinian casualties—loses all legitimacy in any war on the Islamic State.
After all, IS, the state itself—not some terrorist organization ensconced within the state—is beheading, massacring, and enslaving humans solely on the basis of their religious identity. Its citizens—who went there of their own accord, unlike "displaced" and "trapped" Palestinians—are fanatical, extremist Muslims, whose greatest aspiration is to decapitate an infidel.
No one can apologize for this. The best that can be said is that this is not "true" Islam, which is neither here nor there.
This is why, even now, the pro-Islamic Obama administration is forced to condemn IS and even (if perfunctorily) militarily engage it.
In short, conventional war becomes very justifiable against IS—especially because there is no longer any worry of accidentally killing this or that moderate or non-Muslim, as they have all been driven away, replaced by Islamic terrorists from around the world.
And conventional war has traditionally been the bane of Islamists, who prefer terrorism, hiding among civilians, using them as shields, and playing the victim.
Safe from international censure and pushed to the edge, Israel eventually obliterates the Islamic State, while even Islam's greatest apologists in the West must hold their tongue or else be seen as defenders of the state responsible for the greatest atrocities—crucifixions, beheadings, rapes, slavery, and wholesale massacres—so far committed in the 21st century.
Three positive consequences emerge from all this:
- Not only is the Islamic State destroyed, but with it, some of the world's most supremacist and hate-filled Muslims—those who quit their home countries, including from the West, to persecute and kill the "infidels."
- The rest of the world's Muslims get a major and much needed wake up call. Some may start to rethink the notion of "jihad" and eternal enmity for the rest of the world. Some may start to rethink Islam altogether.
- The non-Muslim world also gets a much needed wake up call, another lesson to add to the major wars and conflicts of the 20th century, this time about Islamic fascism, which, finally, becomes catalogued as the danger it is.
Note: I am not advocating for this scenario—admittedly, one of many different kinds of scenarios that can develop if the Islamic State is left to flourish—and would prefer to see IS made extinct now. For even if this scenario comes to pass, matters must first get significantly worse before they can begin to get better.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007).