Why Does ISIS Keep Beheading Americans?

Why Does ISIS Keep Beheading Americans?

What would ISIS gain by continuing to behead hostages? The purpose of the Foley video was fairly clear—to demonstrate its ruthlessness to potential supporters and make clear to the United States that there would be consequences for its military intervention in Iraq. (The method of execution also may have been a nod to ISIS’s founding father, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and an implicit rebuke to its former partners in al-Qaida.)

But if the first video made these points, what strategic objectives will its sequels accomplish?

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