News / Middle East

Islamic State Video Wages Psychological War on Iraqi Soldiers

FILE - This image appears to show militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading captured Iraqi soldiers after taking over a base near Tikrit, Iraq. The photo was posted on a militant website June 14, 2014.
FILE - This image appears to show militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading captured Iraqi soldiers after taking over a base near Tikrit, Iraq. The photo was posted on a militant website June 14, 2014.
Reuters

Islamic State, the al-Qaida spin-off that seized wide swaths of Iraq almost unopposed last month, has released a video warning Iraqi soldiers who may still have some fight in them that they risk being rounded up en masse and executed.

Iraq's army unraveled when the Sunni insurgents staged a lightning advance through northern towns and cities, building on territory their comrades captured earlier in the west of the country, a major OPEC oil producer.

Thousands of soldiers fled, prompting Iraq's top cleric to call on compatriots to take up arms against the radical faction that has declared a medieval-style caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria and aims to march on the capital Baghdad.

The 30-minute video clip, circulated during the holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, sheds light on what tactics the Islamic State is likely to employ as it presses ahead with its campaign.

After sweeping through a town with quick-hit raids, the militants are filmed standing over dozens of terrified, handcuffed Iraqi soldiers.

One fighter mocks a soldier for wearing civilian clothes over his uniform out of fear of being identified and killed. He pleads for mercy, to no avail.

Then dozens of soldiers are led to a sandy desert pit. They are executed one by one - bullets from AK-47 assault rifles pumped into their heads.

Not satisfied that all are dead, an Islamic State fighter makes one last round, opening fire again, one by one.

Others are led to the edge of a river. Each one is shot in the head with a pistol and then shoved in, the executioner standing in a large pool of blood.

Promises of paradise

The mission begins with an Islamic State commander firing up militants with promises that paradise in heaven awaits them if they take the city of Samarra, which is 100 km (62 miles) north of Baghdad and would be their next target in a southward push.

He tells them that God “made us proud when he permitted us to go to jihad.” It was not clear where or when the video was filmed.

The footage features night-vision sequences, then shows fighters moving into a city in flat-bed trucks, and U.S-made Humvees seized during their surge through the north last month.

The Islamic State convoys filmed include small tanks and heavy machine guns transported on trailers.

Some fighters are on foot, darting towards government buildings on sandy roads. As the Islamic State gains ground small units in trucks pull up beside vehicles during daytime and open fire on passengers who lose control of their vehicles.

Several militants walk up to a van and empty their AK-47s through the windows, to make sure the job is done.

Then the camera focuses on Iraqi security forces in watchtowers. One by one they are picked off by Islamic State snipers, who seem to avoid heavy clashes and rely instead on quick, small operations combined with psychological warfare.

An insurgent can be heard weeping in joy as he declares that Samarra now belongs to the group.

Residents and security sources say Baghdad Shi'ite Muslim-led government remains in control of Samarra so this footage may have come from another city or town seized by the Islamic State.

Nevertheless, it illustrates the thinking of the Islamic State, which aims to redraw the Middle East map although it appears to have paused its territorial thrust for now in favor of consolidating recent gains north of Samarra.

On Tuesday, Islamic State militants blew up a strategic bridge connecting Samarra to the town of Tikrit to the north, severing the main route and a tunnel beneath it that was used by Iraqi military forces, a senior local police official said.

Iraqi government troops have tried but failed to recapture Tikrit from the insurgents.

Islamic State's sudden rise has worsened Sunni-Shi'ite sectarian tensions in Iraq, raising fears that the country will relapse into the dark days of civil war that peaked in 2006-2007.

Shi'ite militias now rival the government army in their ability to confront the Sunni insurgents.

After the soldiers are executed, the Islamic State video shows fighters blowing up Shi'ite shrines or bulldozing mosques, as well as residents of the town welcoming fighters.  

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid