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The evolution of terrorism throughout the 20th and 21st century has led to the increasing involvement of children in terrorism. Traditionally, children have been treated as expendables and signal desperation on behalf of the terrorist organization, thereby commonly participating in suicide operations.
The Islamic State, while reinforcing this trend, has begun to change the nature of child participation in terrorism: they play an active role in ISIS’s strategies and the fulfillment of their goals in both the long-term and the short-term. The perspective of longevity ISIS has adopted in equipping a future generation of fighters is unparalleled by terror organizations. ISIS has thus acquired via psychological and material means a cadre of fighters.
The terror organization seeks to indoctrinate the children at young ages, exposing them to violence and isolating them from unacceptable values in order to create the perfect fighters who love to fight for the sake of building the Islamic State and see violence as a way of life. In creating a future generation, ISIS seeks to solidify and expand the Caliphate.
ISIS also uses its brutality against children to gain worldwide attention and display its extensive power and influence beyond the Middle East. The terrorist group will likely expand its recruitment and use of children, paving a future in which ISIS becomes an interminable force.