Last edited by upsideguy; 02-04-15 at 11:32 PM.
...To carry out this strategy, ISIL needs a serious injection of recruits to build upon its current fighting force of about 30,000 at most, which is significantly fewer fighters than each of its opponent forces: the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Iraqi and Syrian government forces and even potential Sunni tribal rivals. Simply put, ISIL is surrounded by enemies with greater fighting power, and needs to grow its military strength to create an Islamic—and Sunni—state inside Iraq and Syria.
So why the beheadings? In a word, publicity: They increase the group’s profile as the biggest challenger to the supposed greatest enemy of Islam. This allows ISIL to draw from a significantly larger pool of recruits, many with strong anti-American sentiment, which ISIL desperately needs to fight local battles as the group tries to carve out a de facto state. Yes, the beheadings are meant to challenge and intimidate the Western public, but that is only a secondary benefit for ISIL, whose focus remains on defeating enemies in immediate proximity.
Read more: Why ISIL Beheads Its Victims - Robert A. Pape and Michael Rowley and Sarah Morell - POLITICO Magazine
Like I have been saying, the media needs to carefully consider to what extent they report the details of these executions.