The Islamic state last night released another propaganda film featuring British journalist John Cantlie, who in a scripted address warned the West of an impending “Gulf War 3”, and implied that American President Obama had made a failed bid to improve his approval ratings by launching air strikes against the Islamic State.
Cantlie was first taken prisoner by ISIS in 2012, and despite being freed and returned to the UK went back to Syria again later that year has subsequently been a captive for nearly two years. The short films in which he features have caused significant interest due to his calm, if forced delivery of ISIS propaganda and their clear imitation of interview-style chat shows. At the end of each of the three installments so far, Cantlie signs off by saying: “join me for the next programme”, in a clear homage to Western television, reports the Daily Telegraph.
In the latest five-minute long video the script sticks to attacking American-led airstrikes on ISIS, and the futility of providing aid to ISIS’s enemies. Speaking about gifts of military equipment to forces in Iraq and Syria, Cantlie says “giving the FSA [Free Syrian Army] $500 million now is a completely pointless exercise, nevermind the fact that the FSA sells the weapons the West gives them to arms dealers and smugglers, and much of it then ends up with the Islamic State”.
The message also denied allegations that ISIS had engaged in the killing of women and children, saying of the slaughter of Christian and Yazidis it was an “undeniable fact” that ISIS was not involved. Reacting to recent assertions by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama that ISIS “has nothing to do with Islam” or is “not Islamic”, ISIS used Cantlie to claim they represent true Islam, and that others are pretenders. Cantlie justified the killing by ISIS of fellow Muslims, which is banned in the Koran by saying: “in fact, according to them [ISIS] the Shia are considered worse than Americans because they are apostates claiming to be Muslims while worshipping the dead”.
As the Cantlie videos appear to now be a regular fixture of ISIS’s propagandistic output, there could be another coming within two weeks. The previous video was released during the last moments of the Scottish referendum campaign and hijacked Scottish independence hashtags to bring it to a broader audience by twitter.