That there is a method to the madness of the Islamic State (IS) has been well captured in a long article in The Atlantic by Graeme Wood.
Islamic countries are going through a soul searching period about what they really are and should be: moderates like Egypt, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia or orthodox countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Into the vacuum of failed states produced by the ferment of the Arab Spring have stepped in violent extremist groups with apocalyptic visions such as IS.
Prophecies could come true. Dabiq in Syria – a small agrarian town whose name is used by IS’s English language magazine for its title because it could be the prophetic battlefield between the Muslims and the “Romans” – has come under the control of IS as a result of the conflict in Syria perhaps as a signal of the apocalypse to come (unexpected by the West) that emerged out of a confluence of events since the beginning of the crisis in Syria. The provocations of IS all point to embroiling the West in a battle with the Muslims in Dabiq. It is best if these provocations are ignored by the West to prove the prophecy wrong.
IS is not a matter for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the US or Russia which would be better off dealing with the IS threat domestically on their soils.
IS is best left to the Muslims to deal with.