The Islamic State’s media machine took to the web again on Tuesday with the release of a high-production Hollywood-style trailer for an upcoming movie entitled Flames of War.
The 52-second clip was issued in response to President Barack Obama’s vow to “degrade and ultimately destroy [the Islamic State],” and shows flames engulfing footage of the White House and Obama, as well as images of US forces in Iraq — despite Obama ruling out putting “boots on the ground” last week.
The video, produced by Al Hayat Media, the English-language media arm of the Islamic State, was originally posted to the internet archiving site Archive.org and boasts high-quality images, advanced filming techniques, and a slow motion sequence of a tank blowing up. The only words spoken in the video come from Obama himself saying, “Combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.”
At the end of the video the words “Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun” flashes on the screen, before it ends with the phrase “Coming Soon.” The style is consistent with other high production videos produced by Al Hayat. Its use of English and similar digital effects to those used in video games and action movies seem designed specifically to appeal to potential young recruits in the Western world.
There are no clues within the video as to why it has been released now, but it was issued just hours after Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee he would advise Obama to redeploy US combat troops in Iraq if airstrikes didn’t succeed in rolling back the Islamist insurgents.
This comment came even despite Obama’s promises not to “get dragged into a ground war”last week, and the White House later called the idea of US troops in battle a “purely hypothetical scenario.” Obama will deliver a primetime speech Wednesday night outlining his plan to combat the Islamic State, but already rejected claims that morning that Islamic State terrorists may be trying to enter the United States via the Mexico border.
While the US remained reticent about military involvement, Iraqi forces launched an intense military operation against insurgents in Ramadi, Falluja, and Haditha in central Iraq.
Engaging in a Propaganda War
While the president still seems unsure as to whether the US will send ground troops to Iraq, the US State Department is wholeheartedly engaging in the social media war against the terrorists.
The State Department’s project Think Again Turn Away has its own Twitter handle, Tumblr, Facebook page, and satire video.
Posted to YouTube on July 23, the State Department video is ironically called Welcome to Islamic State land (ISIS/ISIL) and shows graphic scenes of crucifixions, beheadings, and suicide bombings with English title cards in an attempt to deter US nationals and Western Muslims from joining the Islamic State’s ranks.