IS’ cowardice

August 21, 2014 - 12:24:10 am

The beheading of an American journalist by Islamic State should not deter US air strikes in Iraq.

The Islamic State’s beheading of a captured American journalist on video is an abhorrent display of cruelty showing the militant group as promoting an ideology that seeks destruction and bloodshed as an end in itself. 

James Foley was captured in Syria in 2012. The video has caused alarm and consternation in the West. After lashing out at the US, the militant goes on to behead Foley. 

The orange jumpsuit in which Foley is dressed points to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who are always dressed in orange overhauls. The Islamic State has been successful in sending out a strong statement through the video. However, what doesn’t escape one’s notice is the British accent of the militant. This proves right fears that many fighters in the group are being recruited from the West. There has been growing concern in mainland Europe and the United Kingdom that gullible youth are being radicalised to join fighters in the Middle East. Most of them are citizens of Western nations, which are known for their liberal and democratic values that are aimed at promoting tolerance and freedom. 

The video mirrors the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl by Al Qaeda militants in Pakistan in 2002.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been crying out for the need of concerted action to prevent British youth being radicalised. He has often pointed out the direct danger unrest in the Middle East posed to the United Kingdom and has hinted that fighters for the Middle East may have been recruited from Britain. 

Voicing earlier fears, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said yesterday. “We are absolutely aware that there are significant numbers of British nationals involved in terrible crimes, probably in the commission of atrocities, making Jihad with (IS) and other extremist organisations,” Hammond said.

Not only have westerners joined Jihadis in Iraq, there have been reports from other Asian nations of people fleeing the country to join the fighters. Four educated youth from western India recently left home to join the Jihadis in Iraq. 

Austria yesterday arrested nine people suspected of intending to join Islamists fighting in Syria. 

Besides the cruelty of the killing video, the arrogance and hubris of the Islamic State is visible in the declaration that they would kill another American journalist Steven Sotloff, who was captured in Syria an year ago. The shock and depravity of Foley’s killing video should not take away from the fact that US air strikes in Iraq are meant to protect innocent civilians — like the Yazidis — from persecution and death. The world has seen how thousands of families were threatened with starvation because IS wanted to eliminate them. Washington should intensify air strikes and kill more IS militants so that no one dare act in the same way in future•