DUBAI (Reuters) – Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria released a video on Tuesday that appears to show British journalist John Cantlie criticising preparations for US-led attacks on the militant group, the SITE monitoring service reported.
Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq, has already executed two US journalists and one British aid worker in recent weeks in what it said was reprisal for US air strikes against it in Iraq.
In the five-minute video, the man identified as Cantlie suggests President Barack Obama, long careful to avoid the sort of conflicts his predecessor George Bush pursued, was being sucked into a war he could not win, SITE reported.
“The president once called George Bush’s Iraq conflict a ‘dumb war’, and couldn’t wait to distance America from it when he came into power. Now he’s being inextricably drawn back in,” the man identified as Cantlie says.
The man, wearing an orange shirt and his hair closely cropped, describes Islamic State as the “most powerful extremist movement seen in recent history”, adding it could not be greatly harmed by US politicians calling it “awful” or “vile”.
The video appeared to have been recorded before strikes overnight launched by US warplanes and partners on Islamic State targets in Syria.
The United States has been building a coalition to combat Islamic State, a hardline Sunni force that has seized large expanses of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate erasing borders in the heart of the Middle East.
The United States resumed air strikes in neighbouring Iraq in August for the first time since the pullout of US troops in 2011.