The Islamic State (IS) released a video showing its beheading of an American citizen, James Wright Foley, and its threatening to execute another, Steven Joel Sotloff, if U.S.-authorized military operations against the group continue.
The 4 minute, 40 second English-video, entitled, "A Message to America," was produced by the IS' al-Furqan Media Foundation, and was posted on the group's Diaspora accounts on August 19, 2014. Footage shows Foley, who wears an orange shirt and pants similar to Nicholas Berg, who al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi beheaded in 2004, remarking that the American government "effectively hit the last nail in my coffin" with the recent airstrikes in Iraq. He told his brother in the U.S. Air Force to rethink his service. He added: "I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope for freedom to see my family once again, but that ship has sailed. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn't an American."
The fighter who beheads Foley gives an English message prior to the execution, condemning the U.S. airstrikes and claiming that the U.S. is not fighting an insurgency, but a "State that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide." He threatened: "Any aggression towards the Islamic State is an aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership. So any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people."
The video concludes with the fighter holding Sotloff in a similar outfit and saying: "The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision."
Foley, a journalist, was kidnapped on November 22, 2012, in Binesh, Syria. Sotloff, also a journalist, was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border on August 4, 2013.
Following is a transcript of the video:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Obama authorized military operations against the Islamic State effectively placing America upon a slippery slope towards a new war front against Muslim
[Clip of Barack Obama]
Good evening. Today I authorized two operations in Iraq -- targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death. Let me explain the actions we're taking and why.
First, I said in June -- as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq -- that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it. In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces.
To stop the advance on Erbil, I've directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city. We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad. We're also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.
[Clip of "American aggression against the Islamic State]
A Message to America
[James Wright Foley]
I call on my friends, family, and loved to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency criminality.
My message to my beloved parents: Save me some dignity and don't accept any meager compensation for my death from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with the recent aerial campaign in Iraq.
I call on my brother John who is a member of the U.S. Air Force: Think about what you are doing. Think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family. I call on you, John, think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq recently and kill those people, whoever they may have been. Think John, who did they really kill? Did they think about me, your and our family when they made that decision? I died that day, John. When your colleagues dropped that bomb on those people they signed my death certificate.
I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope for freedom to see my family once again, but that ship has sailed. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn't an American.
This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military airforce is attacking us daily in Iraq. Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims. You're no longer fighting an insurgency, we are an Islamic army and a State that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide, so effectively, any aggression towards the Islamic State is an aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership. So any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.
[Fighter holds Steven Joel Sotloff]
The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.