Islamic State opens new anti-U.S.

front with
beheading video
File photo of U.S. journalist James Foley (! with fellow reporter "lare #illis (not pictured!$ after being released by the %ibyan
government$ at i&os hotel in 'ripoli$ (ay )*$ +,)).
-rec.age of a car belonging to Islamic State militants after it was targeted by an
/merican air stri.e near (osul 0am in (osul in northern Ira1 /ugust )2$ +,)3.
Object1
BY MICHAEL GEORGY AND MARIAM KAROUNY-BAGHDAD/BEIRUT Wed Aug
20, 2014
(Reuters) - Islamic States !e"ea#i$% &' a U(S( )&ur$alist a$# its t"reat t& *#estr&+ t"e
America$ cr&ss* su%%ests it "as %ai$e# e$&u%" c&$'i#e$ce sei,i$% lar%e areas &' Ira-
a$# S+ria t& ta.e aim at America$ tar%ets #es/ite t"e ris.s(
4n 'uesday night$ Islamic State released a video of its fighters beheading James Foley$
who was .idnapped in Syria nearly two years ago.
'he blac.-clad e&ecutioner$ who spo.e 5nglish with a 6ritish accent$ also produced
another /merican journalist and said his fate depends on 7resident 6arac. 4bama8s
ne&t move.
Islamic State had previously seemed focused on proclaiming a caliphate in the parts of
Ira1 and Syria it controls$ marching on 6aghdad and redrawing the map of the (iddle
5ast.
6ut in several telephone conversations with a euters reporter over the past few
months$ Islamic State fighters had indicated that their leader$ Ira1i /bu 6a.r al-
6aghdadi$ had several surprises in store for the -est.
'hey hinted that attac.s on /merican interests or even U.S. soil were possible through
sleeper cells in 5urope and the United States.
“'he -est are idiots and fools. 'hey thin. we are waiting for them to give us visas to
go and attac. them or that we will attac. with our beards or even Islamic outfits$9 said
one.
9'hey thin. they can distinguish us these days : they are fools$ and$ more than that$
they don;t .now we can play their game in intelligence. 'hey infiltrated us with those
who pretend to be (uslims and we have also penetrated them with those who loo. li.e
them.9
<5SI'/=' 64'<5S
/nother Islamic State militant said the group had practical reasons for ta.ing on the
United States.
“'he stronger the war against the States gets$ the better this will help hesitant brothers
to join us. /merica will send its roc.ets$ and we will send our bombs. 4ur land will not
be attac.ed while their land is safe.>
Unli.e al ?aeda$ Islamic State did not at first seem bent on spectacular attac.s on the
-est@ it used fear to tighten its grip on the towns it seiAed in northern Ira1 after facing
little resistance from the U.S.-trained Ira1i army and Burdish peshmerga fighters who
held parts of the area.
6ut a series of videos it released recently$ culminating with the one that showed Foley8s
death$ resembled footage that al-?aeda produced while .illing U.S. soldiers$ beheading
/mericans and slaughtering Shi8ites during the U.S. occupation.
'he videos followed the first U.S. air stri.es in Ira1 - targeting Islamic State militants -
since /merican forces withdrew from the country in +,)).
It seems clear that Islamic State is raising the sta.es$ aware that the gruesome death of
an /merican and the image of another one at the mercy of an e&ecutioner who is
taunting a U.S. president could invite retaliation - heavier air stri.es at least.
esponding to the .illing$ U.S. 7resident 6arac. 4bama condemned Islamic State as a
9cancer9 and said 9their ideology is ban.rupt9.
<e said the United States would continue to do 9what we must do to protect our
people9.
'he Islamic State8s new front may be a way of improving its jihad credentials and
attracting more followers and prestige in an Islamist militant world where ta.ing on
the 9infidel9 United States is almost an article of faith.
7erhaps the most telling video was one released just before Foley was shown in an
orange jumpsuit to remind /mericans that Islamic militants are still angry at the
treatment of (uslims at #uantanamo 6ay$ where detainees had to wear the same
outfit.
'he earlier video suggested Islamic State was gearing up for an e&istential holy war
between the caliphate and the crusader /merica$ with the threat to destroy 9'he
/merican "ross9.
-5S'5= 7/SS74'S
In one scene an /merican soldier weeps after losing a comrade and the "hristian hymn
9/maAing #race9 can be heard. In another$ there is heavy breathing from the Star
-ars movie character 0arth Cader.
eacting to the video$ Ira1i Foreign (inister <oshiyar Debari called on the
international community to help his country battle the 9savage9 Islamic State.
6ut the United States and other -estern powers may now be diverting their attention
away from the Sunni insurgents in northern Ira1 to what they are capable of doing
overseas.
'he group can draw on hundreds if not thousands of foreigners with -estern
passports that can .eep them below the radar$ li.e the 6ritish-sounding man who
appeared to have .illed Foley$ to carry out its threats.
(asrour 6arAani$ head of the Burdish region8s =ational Security "ouncil$ recently told
euters he was concerned about Islamic State sleeper cells in the semi-autonomous
Burdish region in the north.
6ut he seemed e1ually an&ious about a broader problem.
“(any of the members of (Islamic State! that have come from abroad have come from
5urope$ from the U.S.$ from the (iddle 5ast and =orth /frica - all over the world$9
said 6arAani.
9'hese are people that are not going to die in battles in Ira1 and Syria. (any of these
people will go bac. to their countries of origin$ becoming potential leaders or terrorist
operatives$ which could really become a bigger threat to their own countries.9
#/C5 SI'U/'I4=
-estern countries are well aware of the issue - nine people suspected of planning to
join Islamist militants in Syria were detained in /ustria on -ednesday.
9-e are absolutely aware that there are significant numbers of 6ritish nationals
involved in terrible crimes$ probably in the commission of atrocities$ ma.ing Jihad
with (Islamic State! and other e&tremist organisations$9 6ritish Foreign Secretary
7hilip <ammond told the 66".
9I don8t thin. this video changes anything. It just heightens awareness of a situation
which is very grave and which we8ve been wor.ing on for several months.9
Jamal Bhashoggi$ a long-time e&pert on al ?aeda who interviewed 4sama bin %aden$
said caution and concerns over security may have .ept Islamic State from carrying out
attac.s on -estern targets so far$ but they would not hesitate under the right
conditions.
9If they can blow up a suicide bomber in 'imes S1uare this afternoon they;ll do it.
-hat is .eeping them from doing that is vigilance and security$9 he said.
96ut we have to admit that they are targeting all of us. If they can launch a terrorist
attac. in iyadh$ =ew Eor. or %ondon$ they8ll do that.9
(/dditional reporting by Eara 6ayoumy in 0ubai$ "ostas 7itas in %ondon and Isabel
"oles in /rbilF -riting by (ichael #eorgyF 5diting by #iles 5lgood and -ill
-aterman!
7osted by 'havam

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful