If Russian and Western airstrikes are “degrading and defeating” Islamic State, someone forgot to tell al-Hayat Media Center, the brain trust for a sprawling network of discrete propaganda production units that are spread across nearly a dozen countries.
While the group’s operational capabilities may be dwindling, its propaganda arm is apparently no worse for wear having released dozens of clips this month, including a brand new video out Sunday featuring the Paris attackers.
Over the course of 17 minutes, the group celebrates the November attacks with a montage of clips taken from the Western media’s coverage of the massacre. The video also shows each attacker including alleged ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud whose voice is can be heard throughout. “It allegedly features one of the Bataclan theater attackers and a suicide bomber Omar Ismail Mostefai, named in the video as Abu Rayyan Al-Faransi,” RT notes.
Of course there's the obligatory execution footage including beheadings and firing squads and near the end, French President Francois Hollande’s face is superimposed over the severed head of a prisoner.
The group also threatens British PM David Cameron who appears with a red bullseye on his face.
"We are in the process of examining this latest propaganda video which is another move from an appalling terrorist group that's clearly in decline and in retreat," Cameron's spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday.
"The following are the final messages of the nine lions of the khilafah who were mobilized from their dens to bring an entire country -- France -- to her knees," the video reads, after which each attacker records their "final message" to the world prior to the suicide mission.
Hours after the video was released, Europol said ISIS is planning "large scale attacks" in Europe.
#BREAKING IS planning 'large scale' attacks focused on Europe: Europol— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 25, 2016
"A report coinciding with the opening of a new counterterror centre in the Hague shows how the so-called Islamic State had developed a new combat style capability to carry out a campaign of large-scale terrorist attacks on a global stage -- with a particular focus in Europe," the chief of the EU police agency told reporters today.
What shouldn't get lost here is that ISIS conducts near daily attacks across the globe, but those tragedies are generally relegated to the back pages because they occur outside of the "civilized" world. If and when the group does strike Europe again, you can bet that will be the last straw for voters exasperated with the flood of asylum seekers flooding across the bloc's porous borders. In other words, Schengen is one suicide bomb away from being officially dismantled, which means that the next time someone dies in a suicide attack in Europe, Europe itself will die with them.