“We could call the type of war implied by the Islamic State and its Khilafah’s Weltanschauung and related actions “total”, if this adjective had not already been taken, including to characterize World War I (e.g. Roger Chickering & Stig Forster, ed. The Shadows of Total War, 2009). Indeed, the type of war against Russia, which is currently (2014-2015) risked, was aptly labelled as “total” by French President Hollande and does not at all correspond to what we face with the Islamic State (e.g. Colin Freeman et al. “Merkel and Hollande on mission to avert ‘total war’“, The Telegraph, 5 February 2015).

We shall thus settle for “ultimate war”, as covering all the characteristics we identified, as well as the ideas of “most extreme”,  and “fundamental”, while also including dynamics, more specifically what happens at the end of a process, as aimed by the Islamic State (Merriam Webster; Oxford Dictionary).

More important than the language chosen are the multiple impacts of the ultimate warfare being waged, as we shall need to respond appropriately, not only with our armies but also with the whole of our societies, indeed our system. The idea of timeliness, crucial to strategic foresight and warning we previously developed, is also primordial here, because the changed framework for understanding that is brought about by the Islamic State implies that societies and systems will need time to apprehend it and accept its consequences. Creating the vision that will allow us winning this ultimate war, designing its strategies and then operationalizing them is a huge task that we are only starting to apprehend.” Read all