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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid