Many of the recent moves by ISIS don’t seem to make much military sense. The organization is baiting additional countries from Jordan to Egypt into joining the coalition against them. But as Graeme Wood explains in his Atlantic piece, What ISIS Really Wants, “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.” Wood begins his article with a question few Western leaders have been able to answer: What is the Islamic State?

+ Peter Bergen in CNN: “For many of us the idea that the end of times will come with a battle between ‘Rome’ and Islam at the obscure Syrian town of Dabiq is as absurd as the belief that the Mayans had that their human sacrifices could influence future events. But for ISIS, the Dabiq prophecy is deadly serious.