References to the End Times fill Islamic State propaganda.
According to German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer, who spent ten days embedded with ISIL in Mosul, the view he kept hearing was that ISIL wants to "conquer the world", and that all who do not believe in the group's interpretation of the Quran will be killed.
Todenhöfer was struck by the ISIL fighters' belief that "all religions who agree with democracy have to die", When the caliphate was proclaimed, ISIL stated: "The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organisations becomes null by the expansion of the khilafah's [caliphate's] authority and arrival of its troops to their areas." Documents found after the death of Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, a former colonel in the intelligence service of the Iraqi Air Force before the US invasion who had been described as "the strategic head" of ISIL, detailed planning for the ISIL takeover of northern Syria which made possible "the group's later advances into Iraq".
Participant in Iraq War (2003–2011), Iraqi insurgency, Syrian Civil War, Iraqi Civil War, Second Libyan Civil War, Boko Haram insurgency, War in North-West Pakistan, War in Afghanistan, Yemeni Civil War, and other conflicts ISIL originated as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and participated in the Iraqi insurgency following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces.
The group proclaimed itself a worldwide caliphate In Syria, the group conducted ground attacks on both government forces and opposition factions and by December 2015 it held a large area in western Iraq and eastern Syria, containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people, interpretation of sharia law.
ISIL is believed to be operational in 18 countries across the world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, with "aspiring branches" in Mali, Egypt, Somalia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.
On 10 December 2017, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that Iraqi forces had driven the last remnants of Islamic State from the country, three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq's territory.
In Raqqa, after rebel forces drove out the Assad regime and ISIL infiltrated the town, "first dozens and then hundreds of people disappeared".
Security and intelligence expert Martin Reardon has described ISIL's purpose as being to psychologically "break" those under its control, "[...] so as to ensure their absolute allegiance through fear and intimidation," while generating, "[...]outright hate and vengeance" among its enemies.
The civil wars raging in those countries today [Iraq and Syria] lend credibility to the prophecies. [...] For Bin Laden's generation, the apocalypse wasn't a great recruiting pitch.
Governments in the Middle East two decades ago were more stable, and sectarianism was more subdued.
Al-Khlifawi called for the infiltration of areas to be conquered with spies who would find out "as much as possible about the target towns: Who lived there, who was in charge, which families were religious, which Islamic school of religious jurisprudence they belonged to, how many mosques there were, who the imam was, how many wives and children he had and how old they were".