Chilling New ISIS Video: “I Await My Turn,” Captive Says
As the United States and its allies continue a campaign of targeted bombings in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State, the online propaganda war between the two sides continues to rage.
The latest: On Sunday, the jihadist group, which is commonly know as ISIS, released the third “episode” of its web video series hosted by John Cantlie, a British journalist and photographer who has been an ISIS prisoner for two years.
Looking calm and composed in his orange, prison-style jumpsuit, Cantlie—speaking on behalf of his captors—blames the British government for a series of gruesome beheadings by ISIS and warns the U.S.-led coalition of getting involved in another ground war in the Middle East.
“War only makes the jihadists stronger,” Cantlie says in the video, which seems to have been scripted by his captors. “And they are dug in for the fight. Anyone looking for a nice, neat surgical operation is in for a horrible surprise.”
The episode is part of a seven-part web video program called “Lend Me Your Ears.” Since it began, the series has cast a spotlight on ISIS’s sophisticated propaganda efforts, which appear to have made the group the world’s most well-known jihadi organization.
The program follows the release of a video over the weekend showcasing ISIS’s military training and the latest issue of IS Magazine, which features a long article by Cantlie and a letter purportedly written by Steven Sotloff, a journalist whom ISIS recently beheaded.
The latest Cantlie video comes as the U.S. continues airstrikes against ISIS in Kobane, Syria, a Kurdish town along the Turkish border. There have also been reports that ISIS is marching towards Baghdad for a long-awaited battle with the Iraqi military and a variety of Shiite militias.
It’s still unclear when the latest episode of Cantlie’s series was filmed. But his monologue makes no mention of any events that occurred after early September, including the beheading of Alan Henning, a fellow prisoner whom ISIS murdered earlier this month.
Using Cantlie as its messenger, the jihadist group seems intent on projecting a message of fearlessness in the face of the American-led military campaign. It also appears to be trying to sway public opinion by pressuring British Prime Minister David Cameron to pay ransom for its prisoners.
Both the U.S. and the U.K. have thus far refused to negotiate with ISIS, a policy that stands in stark contrast to that of other European nations, who have paid and negotiated with various jihadist groups for the release of hostages.
In August, ISIS beheaded journalist James Foley then distributed the video of his killing on forums and social media—the first of a several snuff films that the group has used for propaganda and recruitment.
As in his previous videos, Cantlie says that if the U.S. and its allies continue to wage war in parts of the Muslim world, ISIS will continue to execute its prisoners, including Abdul-Rahman Kassig, an aid worker and former American soldier who converted to Islam while in captivity.
As Cantlie put it in the latest video: “I await my turn.”