Jihadists terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have begun disseminating images of a parade organized in Raqqa, Syria, the “capital” of their new Caliphate spanning Iraq and northern Syria. Among the weapons they have captured appears to be a Scud missile, though one experts say is most likely long inoperable.
The parade in Raqqa appears to have been organized explicitly for the jihadists to display the weapons they have captured from cities that they have overrun. The crown jewel of this parade, according to images ISIS sympathizers have posted on Twitter, is a massive scud missile. ISIS itself is confirming that the image is indeed of a scud missile.
— Rami (@RamiAlLolah) June 30, 2014
— Syed Arfeen (@ArfeenSyyed) June 30, 2014
Un vieux Missile Scud irakien capturé par ISIS pendant les conquêtes dans le nord de l’Irak. pic.twitter.com/ympnIPKl3y
— ??? ??????? (@Al_Jazairy) June 11, 2014
In addition to the images of this missile, the Telegraph reports that T-55 tanks can be seen in other footage that has surfaced of the parade. In one video that was uploaded to YouTube, jihadists are seen driving the tanks erratically in celebration.
Despite the clear atmosphere of triumph in the video and the effort to publicize the image of the missiles– a menacing one, indeed– few experts believe that the missile may actually be used. As The Telegraph notes, many have already dismissed the missile as a useless relic:
The only danger that Islamic State scud is to anyone at the moment is if they accidentally run over a pedestrian showing it off.
— Brown Moses (@Brown_Moses) June 30, 2014
Another expert, Charles Lister of the Brookings Doha Center, told the newspaper the missile was “99pc useless.” Reports in the Daily Mail also back this claim, explaining that the weapon likely fell in the hands of ISIS through a battle with the Free Syria Army. The weapon is believed to have been built by the Soviet Union and captured by the Free Syria Army during an attack on the Syrian government, which has received munitions from Russia and continues to rely on President Vladimir Putin’s support in that nation’s civil war.
Should the missile be functional, it poses a serious threat to enemies in the region, particularly Israel, which the Daily Mail notes jihadists and sympathizers on Twitter have already threatened with the missile. Even if it is not, the parade and the speed with which footage appeared of it on the internet for the world to see once again highlights the threat that ISIS poses as a propaganda organization, not just as a terrorist group, and how able it is to propagate threatening images when necessary– even if the props are more bark than bite.
Photo Credit: Twitter/@RamiAlLolah