Final ISIS Email To Foley's Parents: Intel Experts See Warning - And Recruitment Effort

By @Charress on
  • ISIS news
    A page from ISIS magazine Dabiq AlHayat Media Center
  • ISIS
    Members loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) wave ISIL flags as they drive around Raqqa June 29, 2014. The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic "Caliphate" and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on jihadist websites said on Sunday. The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, has renamed itself "Islamic State" and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi as "Caliph" - the head of the state, the statement said. REUTERS/Stringer
  • James Foley In Libya
    U.S. journalist James Foley (R) arrives with fellow reporter Clare Gillis (not pictured), after being released by the Libyan government, at Rixos hotel in Tripoli, in this picture taken May 18, 2011. Islamic State militants have posted a video that purported to show the beheading of American journalist Foley in revenge for U.S. air strikes in Iraq, prompting widespread revulsion that could push Western powers into further action against the group. Foley, 40, was kidnapped on November 22, 2012, in northern Syria, according to GlobalPost. The video was posted after the U.S. resumed air strikes in Iraq in August 2014 for the first time since the end of the U.S. occupation in 2011. He had earlier been kidnapped and released in Libya. Picture taken May 18, 2011. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
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The email sent to Global Post from ISIS explaining why the militants were killing reporter James Foley isn’t just a warning to U.S. leaders, it’s a statement of intent and a smart piece of PR, say foreign policy and national security affairs experts. “It’s not an entirely primitive document,” said Abraham Sofaer, the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy and National Security Affairs at the Hoover Institute, Stanford University. “I would say it’s far more PR orientated than the public statements that are coming from the field about indiscriminate killing and no mercy. The letter shows they are willing to talk and negotiate, but it also shows that they feel the moral need to justify their actions.”

The email, which implied Foley was to be imminently executed, was sent to GlobalPost one week before the video of his beheading was released on Tuesday. The group calls itself the Islamic State; it's also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL). The letter is littered with spelling mistakes and, according to Sofaer, clues that will intrigue intelligence experts.

Sofaer noted a line that says, “You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours!” Sofaer reads it as expressing protectiveness of people in the newly created Islamic State and said it also “resonates with Muslims all around the world that are feeling ostracized, displaced, angry and suppressed by their Western surroundings.” That line is “a great piece of recruitment PR,” he said.

Not all analysts agreed. ISIS is just “trying to appeal to our humanitarian side” as “a diplomatic tactic,” said Ariel Cohen, principal of International Market Analysis, Ltd and director at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. “Overall, this is a warning for terror attacks in the United States, taking up from where Osama Bin Laden left off,” he said. “But there’s also an element of mocking there too because they ask for face-to-face confrontation when they know the U.S. will not and cannot do that right now. It’s a cheap shot.” 

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