Monday, February 23, 2015

From Inside Aleppo - An Inside Look at ISIS

Updated September 2015

In mid-February, ISIS released another 12 minute-long instalment in its "From Inside Halab" (aka Aleppo), hosted by British hostage John Cantlie and produced by Al Hayat Media Center.  The very professionally produced video tours the city of Aleppo, showing the destruction of the marketplace, the schooling of children and an overflight by a drone.  It also shows how, despite the ongoing military threats against it, the people of Aleppo are still thriving; building homes and getting on with everyday life.  As well, he notes that the Mujahideen are not threatened at all by the bombing. 

As a bit of background, John Cantlie is an experienced British journalist who has spent a career covering some of the most dangerous regions of the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia.  He was kidnapped twice, first in July 2012 in Syria and was released after one week and then again in November 2012 when he returned to Syria to continue covering the Syrian conflict.  He has been used by the Islamic State in a multi-part video series, "Lend Me Your Ears" and additional videos in which he takes on the role of a journalist rather than a hostage.

As additional background, here is a map from the Institute for the Study of War showing the substantial region that ISIS now controls in northern Syria from Coalition for a Democratic Syria:


Here is the ISIS video, hosted by John Cantlie: 


video

Viewers are informed that the children currently being educated by ISIS "will form the Mujahideen of the next generation".  We are also informed that the drone used was not Syrian, rather, it was an American drone which led to the bombing and destruction of a civilian marketplace by Assad's aircraft (i.e. the Americans and Bashir Assad are colluding to defeat ISIS).

John Cantlie goes on to attend a sharia court, stating that the imposition of sharia law is one of the reasons why ISIS continues to fight.  He states that:

"...it is a very different rule of law to that which went before.  It is 1400 years old and it is the rule of God, the rule of Allah, and therefore, it cannot be changed.  Unlike the laws of democratic countries which change, to fit every circumstance or to fit every different week, the rules of Sharia are remarkably simple.  For example, if you are convicted of robbery with the correct number of witnesses and such forth, you have your hand cut off.  It sounds harsh, but you're not going to commit that same crime again and it will dissuade others from doing the same."  

John Cantlie goes on to note that while people are in the waiting room at the sharia court, they can watch videos on a wall-mounted television.  Of course, these videos are produced by ISIS and apparently they are much more interesting than watching the "news at six".  

John Cantlie interviews a mujahideen who states that for every ISIS leader that is killed, "...tens or rather hundreds will succeed him and replace him as leaders upon this path.  This is the religion of Allah.  It is not affected by the death of any person.".

The video closes with a few words from a French mujahideen who refers to the Charlie Hebdo attacks.  He states (in French) that: 

"...these three attacks only made us happy.  And every time we hear about one or more brothers defending their religion in the West, we only feel delighted.  We learned a few days ago about these attacks and this is what delighted us.  And we heard about other brothers who did the same and carried out attacks....Defend your religion where you are.  Kill them with knives.  At the very least, strike them in the face.  For the religion of Allah needs you more than you think.  You are sitting on your couches while today Muslims are being slaughtered in every corner of the world.  What will be your excuse before Allah/  What is your excuse when this orphan loses her family and you did not get up to defend her.  So I call you to either come here or defend your religion where you are.  To all my brothers in France, I say to them; start carrying out individual attacks.  Be wolves on the earth, for each man amongst you can be equivalent to an entire army.  And I say to all the nations of the West that have resolved to attack us, we have also come to strike you and we are already there to attack you.  The Muslims in the West number in the millions, and they are capable of inflicting mass carnage.  So I call on them to move forward and do what is obligatory on them in support of their religion."


It should be of concern to the Western intelligence network that both ISIS and al-Qaeda are now  advocating the use of lone wolf terrorists.  These terrorists can easily fly "below the radar", and by remaining low key, are practically undetectable by even the most invasive technology.  As well, the fact that these terrorists think nothing of sacrificing themselves for their cause is the most frightening part of Islamic-based terrorism.

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