Blind Eagle blog, By Brian Fairchild, Aug. 23, 2014:
The final letter sent by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to the family of the butchered James Foley is widely misunderstood. While it states ISIS’ decision to murder Mr. Foley, the letter is not addressed to the Foley family, nor is Foley its primary subject. Rather, the letter, which was addressed to the American government and its citizens, is a declaration of war against the United States, and it promises attacks against both government entities and civilians in retaliation for recent American airstrikes and support for Kurdish proxy forces. Only after making the case for war does ISIS mention Foley, and then he’s described as the war’s first casualty.
ISIS’ rationalization for attacks against American citizens is their support for US military operations against it, a precedent set in 2002 by Osama bin Laden to justify al Qaeda’s attacks against American civilians:
- “The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates…”
The ISIS letter might also contain a hint about the type of attacks it will launch against the homeland. In it, ISIS states that it requested the release of Pakistani al Qaeda member Afia Siddiqi, who was sentenced to 86 years in prison on September 23, 2010. Although al Qaeda leaders previously called for her release, these calls were always combined with the demand for the release of “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman. Assuming that the message in the ISIS letter was carefully crafted by ISIS leaders, the fact that ISIS singled Siddiqi out in this letter might indicate that it’s planning “mass casualty” attacks through the use of weapons of mass destruction, which was her specialty according to court documents:
- “…the documents the government introduced pursuant to Rule 404(b) detail, among other things, the construction of fertilizer and plastic explosives. One document in particular discusses radioactive bombs, biological weapons, and chemical weapons. That document also contains the phrase “mass casualty attack” and lists a number of New York City landmarks, including Grand Central Terminal, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Al Qaeda and ISIS have consistently sought to develop biological, nuclear and chemical weapons, and to upgrade conventional explosives. In early July 2014, ISIS sought-out and seized 88 pounds of uranium compounds from a science lab at the University of Mosul that could be used to construct a dirty bomb. In 2003, al Qaeda launched an operation to disperse cyanide in the New York subway system, but the operation was called off at the last minute, most likely because its leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, believed such an attack would adversely impact on his Muslim support base. ISIS would not hesitate to launch such an attack. On July 2, 2014, the US government increased security at international airports with nonstop service to the US because it obtained intelligence revealing that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) developed a new explosive compound that cannot be detected by standard sensors. To make matters worse, on August 20, 2014, AQAP expressed solidarity with ISIS and vowed to attack the US on its behalf.
ISIS’ de facto declaration of war puts the United States and its citizens squarely in its sights. It not only has the technology to inflict grave damage in the homeland, but its capability is enhanced by the fact that the radicalized American and Western European citizens currently in its ranks can travel in the United States virtually unimpeded. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reported yesterday that ISIS represents a “whole new dynamic…as sophisticated and well-funded as any organizations we’ve seen”. These developments demand the highest level of vigilance by all local, state, and national security agencies.
The full text of ISIS’ letter is provided below exactly as it appeared:
HOW LONG WILL THE SHEEP FOLLOW THE BLIND SHEPPARD?
A message to the American government and their sheep like citizens:
We have left you alone since your disgraceful defeat in Iraq. We did not interfere in your country or attack your citizens while they were safe in their homes despite our capability to do so!
As for the scum of your society who are held prisoner by us, THEY DARED TO ENTER THE LION’S DEN AND WHERE EATEN!
You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted,
We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi, however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in.
You have no motivation to deal with the Muslims except with the language of force, a language you were given in “Arabic translation” when you attempted to occupy the land of Iraq!
Now you return to bomb the Muslims of Iraq once again, this time resorting to Arial attacks and “proxy armies”, all the while cowardly shying away from a face-to-face confrontation!
Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS ALIKE! AND WE WILL NOT STOP UNTILL WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD.
You do not spare our weak, elderly, women or children so we will NOT spare yours!
You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings!
The first of which being the blood of the American citizen, James Foley!
He will be executed as a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us!