By Dalit Halevy, Ari Yashar
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has in recent days expanded its hold after capturing large portions of Iraq last month, and last Sunday declared itself an Islamic “caliphate,” has threatened foreign journalists with death if they dare write against the Islamist group.
The message was written on a Twitter account associated with ISIS, which changed its name to “Islamic State” along with its declaration of an Islamic caliphate.
“The brothers register the names of all the Western journalists who demonize the Islamic state, in case the United Heretical States of America decides to get involved in Iraq and Syria; in this way we’ll know who to attack first,” read the message.
The ISIS threat continued “their propaganda is what kills our women and children in the Muslim world, and indeed because of their lying propaganda many Muslim children died.”
It is worth noting that ISIS has committed numerous atrocities against Muslims in areas under their control; two weeks ago it executed and crucified one of its own members for corruption.
The group has tortured and murdered prisoners, among them children and teenagers, forced Druze men to convert to Islam or die, and last month killed a 102-year-old man along with his whole family. In March, the group live-tweeted the amputation of a hand of a man charged with theft in the northern province of Aleppo.
As far as America getting involved in Iraq and Syria, US President Barack Obama has waffled back and forth on taking action. First he committed to not sending troops to Iraq – only to send over 500 marines, dozens of helicopters, and the aircraft carrier George HW Bush into the Persian Gulf.
Then after ruling out American airstrikes on ISIS, Obama hinted such airstrikes were a possibility mere days later, and then sent a delegation of 300 “advisers” to aid Iraqi forces.
ISIS last Friday captured a Syrian oil field in the Deir el-Zour province in the east of the country near Iraq, after seizing Syria’s largest oil field last Thursday in the same region.
The Sunni Jihadist group now controls a corridor from the Syrian provincial capital of Deir el-Zour to the border town of Boukamal, giving it a free flow between Syria and the areas of Iraq it seized last month.
The Islamist group has already amassed great assets during its blitz offensive in Iraq, seizing Iraq’s largest oil refinery, a chemical weapons facility, and becoming the “world’s richest terrorist organization” by looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars ($425 million) from banks in Mosul.