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In a speech in September 2014, United States President Barack Obama said that ISIL is neither "Islamic" (on the basis that no religion condones the killing of innocents) nor is it a "state" (in that no government recognises the group as a state), and other countries generally call the group "ISIL", while much of the Arab world uses the Arabic acronym "Dāʻish" (or "Daesh").
France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said "This is a terrorist group and not a state. Army Lieutenant General James Terry, head of operations against the group; and Secretary of State John Kerry had all shifted towards use of the term DAESH by December 2014.
ISIL believes that it will defeat the army of "Rome" at the town of Dabiq, in fulfilment of prophecy.
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".
Following this surveillance and espionage would come murder and kidnapping – "the elimination of every person who might have been a potential leader or opponent".
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.