A new English-language propaganda video released on Tuesday, purportedly from the Islamic State’s Al-Hayat Media Center, claims that for all their military skill and superior technology, Western troops are weaker than jihadis.
America is portrayed as exhausted and demoralized from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while ISIS fighters “haunt the mind of your soldiers and sew fear into their hearts.”
The video, which employs flashy graphics and a voice-over that sounds like the ranting of a video game super-villain, boasts about the size of the Islamic State’s khilafah (caliphate), which is already larger than Britain.
The “prophetic methodology” of this caliphate, “striving to follow the Koran and sura,” is supposedly far superior to Western states “built on man-made rules,” with armies that fight for “the interests of legislators, liars, fornicators, and corporations, and for the freedoms of sodomites.” The camera pans to various presidents during this rant, lingering on George W. Bush for the word “liars” and Bill Clinton for “fornicators.”
“We are men honored with Islam, who climb its peaks to perform jihad, answering the call to unite under one flag. This is the source of our glory: our obedience to our Lord,” declares the narrator.
The video portrays ISIS’ mania for destroying ancient historical sites and artifacts as a noble crusade to “stomp the idols of nationalism,” because “there is no honor to be found in the remnants of shirk and nationalism.” Shirk is the Islamic term for idolatry.
The presentation goes on to portray strict adherence to Islamic law as the cure for racial divisions. “Justice is served with the establishment of the Islamic courts,” says the narrator, while the screen displays a book of sharia law. He boasts about the large number of schools ISIS has established so its children – “cubs and pearls” – can study sharia and “share in the great rewards of expanding this khilafah.”
“America, you claim to have the greatest army history has known,” the narrator taunts. “You may have the numbers and weapons, but your soldiers lack the will and resolve, still scarred from their defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq. They return dead, or suicidal, with over 6.500 of them killing themselves each year.”
The video then alludes to the scandal over cooked intelligence reports currently rocking the Obama White House, which has been accused of falsifying intelligence to make Obama’s anti-ISIS strategy look more successful.
There are also taunts about the Americans being too cowardly to fight them on the ground, instead attacking from the safety of the skies with extremely expensive missiles. Jihadis, on the other hand, are said to prefer “fifty-cent bullets.”
The international alliance against ISIS is described as a “coalition of devils” that now includes Iran, Turkey, and Russia. This might not have been the best moment to assert that Turkey and Russia are partners in a coalition.
The video says this coalition formed because the kufat (infidels) will “always unite to fight the truth.”
“So bring it on, all of you,” the narrator sneers, expressing the hope that the number of nations aligned against ISIS will reach the magic number foretold in Islamic prophecy, at which point “the flames of war will finally burn you on the hills of Dabiq.” Dabiq is also the name of the Islamic State’s magazine. The notion of an apocalyptic battle between infidels and Muslims in that region of Syria is a major component of their ideology.
The video ends with the assertion that Allah is the ally of ISIS, and a quote from the Koran that boils down to “come at me, bro.” The video makers do not seem to agree that Islam is a religion of total peace and serene tolerance, or that jihad is basically a vigorous form of yoga.