Terrorists in the Abu Musab Zarqawi network in Iraq are specifically trying to kidnap an American female service member to further horrify the U.S. public
I can’t decide what the motivation for this is. There are two candidates:
Immanetize the Eschaton
A global religious war of the Dar al Harb vs the Dar al Islam is the explicit goal. Presumably the Ummah would unite to fight against the infidels and select the current Caliphascists as leadership. Failing that, given the difference in military might, Allah would have to intervene in order to prevent the disappearance of Islam from the planet.
In this view, the Caliphascists are continually searching for some greater outrage that will finally goad the USA in to massive, unrestrained violence, sparking the global conflict that will bring about the end times and the final triumph of Islam over the world.
Just one more push
Western society is weak and decadent and will accept dhimmitude once their pathetic wills are broken. Most of Europe is already on the way to this state, but the USA is a bit more resistant. With the right terror, however, even the USA will fold like the failed society they are, allowing the global Islamic state to form. It is outside the realm of possibility that the USA is a resilent culture / nation that will rise to the challenge and beat the Caliphascists.
In both cases, the net effect is for the Caliphascists to continually “up the ante” in terms of terror attacks until the USA either lets loose the dogs of war or surrenders so to some extent it doesn’t matter which one is accurate.
It’s clear to me that the Caliphascists are counting on the Ummah siding with them regardless of what they do, so that the conflict will divide on sectarian lines. So far this seems to be a valid presumption. I will have a hard time gettting the sympathy meter off zero if the “moderate” Muslims continue to hold to that. In this regard, Iraq will be an excellent test of whether some outcome other than global war is possible.