Isil’s latest propaganda video shows confessions purporting to link the victims to British and western intelligence agencies
The men are shown ‘confessing’ to their alleged crimes before being shot, each with a single bullet to the head, by their five killers, led by an English-speaking jihadi.
The video goes on to accuse Isil’s internal opposition of being a front for British and western intelligence.
The so-called “caliphate” has been targeting a group called Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), an alliance of journalists and activists from the Syrian town that is the jihadists’ de facto capital.
The five men “admit” providing information to men who take it to Turkey where it is released to the western media, including the BBC.
It names a man called Manal Abdul Razzak as being both a fighter for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and an “an agent of the Crusader alliance”. His brother, Marwan Abdul Razzak, is one of the men who confesses to providing information to RBSS and is then shown being shot.
RBSS is not named but some of its members are, including Hamoud al-Mousa, one of its founders.
“I started to work with Hamoud al-Mousa and he asked me to work inside Raqqa,” says another of the men, Oubai Mohammed Abdul Ghani, whose age is given as just 17.
“He asked me to take various videos inside Raqqa and videos about women in Raqqa to produce a documentary against the Islamic State.”
He says that he was then asked to provide information on a series of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) headquarter buildings and on individuals, including one Australian jihadi and two Britons.
They are not named, but he refers to a subsequent air strike which struck a car in the city, near the state security building. Mohammed Emwazi, the British Isil spokesman and executioner known as “Jihadi John”, was killed in a strike on the city as he was getting into a car.
Mr Abdul Ghani makes the most important single confession of the video, saying that he was sent by Hamoud al-Mousa a photograph of “Abu Muslim al-Turkmani” and asked to monitor him.
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani – real name, Fadel Ahmed Abdullah al-Hiyali, and at one time a colonel in the army of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein – was deputy leader of Isil and in charge of its Iraqi operations until he was killed in an American drone strike in August.
The success of the coalition in hitting and killing two of its “most wanted” in quick succession – Emwazi was killed in November – suggested that western intelligence on Isil had improved and had even managed to penetrate the group sufficiently to monitor individuals.
The video released by Isil yesterday would indicate that this success has sent some panic through the group.
It has suffered on three fronts in the last six months. On the battle-front, it has been forced out of the key cities of Ramadi and Sinjar in Iraq and has been on the retreat in northern Syria, where a route from Raqqa to the border is under threat.
Internally, a number of its leaders like al-Turkmani and – perhaps just as important – middle management have been killed in targeted strikes, including last week its British-educated chief hacker, Siful Haque Sujan.
Thirdly, it has suffered on the propaganda front, with some indications that the recruitment appeal of spectacular attacks such as in Paris in November is being outweighed by the increased determination among Isil’s opponents to unite to fight it.
RBSS has also damaged Isil’s reputation among Muslims who might have been tempted to join it, portraying life inside the “caliphate” as less glamorous than those who initially glorified it as “five-star jihad” would have them believe.
Its videos and leaks showed a world of severe social restrictions, diminishing resources, and both military and civilian casualties from bombing raids.
For Isil, trying to demonstrate RBSS as a front for western intelligence is a natural response.
The evidence provided in the video is weak, however. The other confessions, from Marwan Abdul Razzak and three men named as Faisal Hamoud al-Jafar, Ammar Hamoud al-Jafar, and Mehyar Mahmoud al-Othman, also say they were given video and other equipment by men from RBSS.
But they do not seem to be accused of much more than opening internet cafes and using them to distribute information out of the country.
Even with Mr Abdul Ghani there is no direct link alleged between specific information that he is said to have revealed to his “contacts” and specific coalition strikes.
The best explanation for the video may perhaps be Isil’s annoyance at Mr al-Mousa.
A brother and fellow RBSS activist, Ahmed al-Mousa, who was said to have been the link for the al-Jafar brothers, was shot dead by an unknown group of masked men in Idlib province, in rebel-held north-west Syria, two weeks ago.
He is one of at least five members of the group to have been murdered– two were beheaded in the Turkish town of Urfa, another was abducted inside Syria and killed, and a cameraman, Naji Jerf, killed in the Turkish city of Gaziantep last week. The al-Mousas’ aunt was captured inside Raqqa and also killed in retaliation for their work.
This video may ostensibly be aimed at Britain, and use Isil’s customary “shock tactics” to prove to the West that it is still able to provoke horror and fear.
But it also has the practical, closer to home purpose of warning those living under its sway of the perils of dissent and disloyalty.
source : telegraph.co.uk