Terrorist organization releases video that purports to show another massacre
Islamic State militants released a video Sunday that purported to show the killing of 30 Christian Ethopians in Libya. Although the Associated Press could not verify if IS fighters killed the Christians, the video follows the release of previous demonstrations in which IS beheads or shoots male soldiers. According to The Guardian,
It follows a video released in February that showed the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts on the shores of the Mediterranean, a move that prompted air strikes by the government of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi against the group’s stronghold in a Libya torn by civil strife.
The footage, released on Sunday, depicts the brutal beheading of 15 Ethiopian Christians by masked Isis militants, their blood staining the surf on a strip of beach, as well as another scene in a desert landscape where masked gunmen shoot another 15 Ethiopians with rifles in the back of the head.
“To the nation of the cross, we’re back again,” says a masked militant in the video before the execution. “Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap.”
“We swear to Allah … you will not have safety even in your dreams until you embrace Islam,” he added.
Islamic State captured the world’s attention last June after it captured the key Iraqi town of Mosul. It has tried to expand its reach in the Middle East and North Africa. But the military response and economic sanctions from the United States and other nations, including Egypt, have pushed the terrorist organization back. According to The Economist, the Islamic State has suffered militarily and financially:
IS’s funds are dwindling, too. America and its allies have bombed lucrative oil facilities. Most of the hostages have been sold or murdered in video-recorded beheadings. Now that IS’s forces are retreating, the loot of conquest has dried up. Some analysts reckon it may have lost up to 75% of its revenues. That makes it harder for IS to keep fighting and to provide services to the roughly 8m people living under its rule.
That may help explain signs of internal tension. The movement has started to kill its own followers, sometimes for fleeing before the enemy and on at least one occasion supposedly for zealously beheading too many people. Residents complain of extortion, violent repression and declining public services. There are reports of tensions between local and foreign members over disparities in pay.
Judged by its own standard, then, the caliphate is failing as an all-conquering state and model for society. That matters because a proto-state with a large territory and population to defend is also more vulnerable to setbacks than terrorist groups that are not rooted to a patch of land. Precisely because IS claims to be running a model Islamic state, its visible failure exposes the bankruptcy of its ideology and the hollowness of its claims to would-be recruits. If, as some say, the secret of IS’s success is success itself; then failure will gain momentum, too.