ISIS Shows Preschooler Killing Victim Tied to Carnival Ball Pit

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-2-22-36-pm-sized-770x415xcPJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, January 8, 2017:

After an end-of-the-year video showing pre-teens hunt down and kill bound prisoners in an abandoned building, the Islamic State today released an even more gory follow-up with children as young as preschool age murdering prisoners tied to broken carnival rides.

The 18-minute highly produced video out of ISIS’ Khayr province in Syria was distributed through publicly accessible Islamic State media channels, social media and file-sharing sites, including Google Drive and, briefly, YouTube.

It begins by showing adults training in a bombed-out building, but transitions into adults leading small children in exercises. A boy about 9 or 10 years old is shown gleefully participating in a public stoning.

Like previous ISIS videos featuring children, the video argues that coalition bombing is a reason for kids to join jihad and kill Americans.

And as in previous execution videos, a trio of prisoners accused of being spies make videotaped “confessions”. The film then cuts to an abandoned funfair filled with ruined carnival rides such as a Ferris wheel and kiddie train.

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The first victim is zip-tied to the interior of a tilting, spinning disk ride. A boy about 7 years old ascends the stairs and is handed a knife by a black-clad ISIS member. He covers the victim’s eyes with one hand before being given a signal by the adult jihadist. The boy then saws at the victim’s throat. When done, he wipes off both sides of the knife on the victim’s white T-shirt.

The ride is then slowly spun with the victim’s head sitting on the floor of the interior.

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The second victim is tied to the fence inside a ball pit filled with broken balls. A preschool-aged boy clad in black is handed a small gun by the adult ISIS member. The child shoots the victim five times before holding the gun aloft and yelling “Allahu akbar” twice.

An older boy who appears about 12 years old is the final executioner, pushing a bound victim into the dirt next to kiddie train tracks.

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Before he kills the prisoner, the preschool-aged boy makes a motion of drawing his hand across his throat.

After sawing the victim’s throat, the boy plunges the knife into his back before walking away.

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At the end of December, the Islamic State released a grisly video showing child jihadists hunting down bound “apostates” in a live-fire training exercise.

The half-hour-long production, from ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, shows child jihadists — boys about 9 to 12 years old — sent on an exercise through an abandoned building with some dummy targets in the rooms and a handful of live targets: prisoners with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, trying to elude the child jihadists in the multi-story, debris-strewn building.

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Also see:

ISIS Video Features Children Who Aspire To Martyrdom, Says They Are Being Prepared To Conquer Rome, Spain (WARNING: GRAPHIC)

29973MEMRI, Sept. 5, 2016:

An Islamic State (ISIS) video released online on September 6, 2016 showcased a shari’a school that it operates in its Al-Khayr Province, featuring its young pupils – “the cubs of the Caliphate” – discussing their aspirations of martyrdom, instructing citizens on approved clothing and grooming, and fighting on the front lines. The video states that these children will “become the vanguard of the army of the Caliphate, Allah willing, and… the generation that will conquer Damascus, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Mecca, Al-Madina, Dabiq, Rome, and Andalusia.”

To view this video, click here.

The following is the transcript of the video:

Narrator: “The Caliphate’s Generation

“In the lands of the tyrants, the children are asked, from a very early age: ‘What would you like to be when you grow up?’ If a child says that he wants to be a mujahid, or a student of religion, or an imam, or to work in the field of da’wa, his words are frowned upon and he is held in disdain. But if a child says that he wants to be a minister or an MP, a judge, a pilot, a soldier, or a policeman, they rejoice, laugh, and praise him. This way, the secular education system instills these aspirations in the souls of Muslim children from a very early age, so that they are raised on heresy and on fighting Islam and the Muslims, and they view things in a distorted way, using misnomers. The child who wanted to become a fighter pilot realizes his dream, thanks to the secular education he received in the education systems of the tyrants. He sees nothing wrong with receiving orders from the American Crusaders, or with honoring them with a military salute. He is not ashamed to fly over Muslim cities, and to rain rockets and bombs down upon them, killing vulnerable women and children.

“On our tour of a shari’a institution, run by the Islamic State in the Al-Khayr Province, we asked the cubs of the Caliphate about their dreams and aspirations.”

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Child 1: “I want to be a martyrdom-seeker for the sake of Allah, thus heeding the words of the Prophet Muhammad: ‘The martyrs that Allah loves most are the ones who fight in the front lines, and do not turn their backs until they are killed.'”

Child 2: “I want to be a martyrdom-seeking religious scholar, like my brother was.”

Narrator: “Parents undoubtedly play a role in their children’s deviation from the right path. You see some of them hastening to enroll their children in Western schools, artistic groups and clubs, and singing competitions. They do not care about the harm these cause to the faith of their children. You see them elated with happiness if their sons win a song or dance competition.

“On the other hand, in the Islamic State, parents take their children to shari’a institutions. They urge their children to study the Quran and religion. You see them happy if their children learn part of the Quran or a religious text by heart. How great is the difference between those raised on monotheism and the Quran and those raised on listening to songs and music.”

Child 3: “My brother, Allah bless you, you are not allowed to swim in these clothes, because your private parts can be seen. If a woman passes you by, would you like her to see you this way? Put your shirt on.”

Child 4: “Assalaam alaykum.”

Man: “Assalaam alaykum.”

Child 4: “How are you?”

Man: “Fine, Allah be praised.”

Child 4: “Uncle, you need to grow your beard, in order to comply with the words of the Prophet Muhammad: ‘Trim your mustaches and grow your beards.'”

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Narrator: “The cubs do not engage only in activities in the field of shari’a. They join their brothers fighting on the front lines. Just as they are humble towards Muslims, they are harsh towards the infidels. From a very young age, they are raised on harshness, hatred, and animosity toward the infidels.

“The tyrants strive to make the sons of Muslims deviate from their religion, to open the gates of apostasy for them, to obstruct the fountains of goodness and promote Satan’s merchandise, so that these children will become soldiers of the Crusaders, and will fight Islam and the Muslims, or so that they will become humiliated and subjugated, steeped in secularism and its values, like respect for the infidel ‘other,’ and rejecting the ‘violence’ that Allah called ‘Jihad.’ It reached the point that when the tyrants closed in on them, killed thousands of them and raped their women, all they did was say: ‘Our peaceful [protests] are stronger than bullets!’

“At the same time, the Caliphate is teaching its cubs about their religion, so that they become the vanguard of the army of the Caliphate, Allah willing, and so that they will become the generation that will conquer Damascus, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Mecca, Al-Madina, Dabiq, Rome, and Andalusia, Allah willing.29977

“The Islamic State is proud to have planted true Islam within these cubs, who will be in the midst of the battles in a few years, Allah willing. Even if we are all eradicated and no one survives, these cubs will carry the banner of jihad and will complete the journey. By Allah, with these young men, we will make the infidels forget the whispers of Satan.”

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Also see:

ISIS Awakens the Ghosts of Hitlerjugend. The John Batchelor Show audio of interview with Dr. Sebastia Gorka and Katharine Gorka:

child-soldiers

“…ISIS’s Use of Children: By the Numbers

Children are being recruited or abducted by the Islamic State at alarming rates.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS targeted schools and mosques to recruit 400 children in 2015 alone.14 In addition to those recruited, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq estimated in June 2015 that ISIS had abducted between 800 and 900 children between nine and fifteen years old.15 Of grave concern are the estimated 700,000 refugee children out of school at the end of September 2015 as a result of the Syrian Civil War. That is a large and vulnerable population that the Islamic State is likely tapping into, providing services and education that the children otherwise would not receive and in turn recruiting countless more Lion Cubs. One expert estimated thatthe Caliphate has at least 1,500 children in its ranks….”

http://threatknowledge.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/TKG-Report_ISIS-Children.pdf

Rising Threat: The Islamic States’s Militarization of Children

tkg-report-ischildren

Threat Knowledge Group, September 2016

NEW TKG SPECIAL REPORT:

Rising Threat: The Islamic State’s Militarization of Children (pdf)

By:
Dr. Sebastian L. Gorka
Katharine C. Gorka
Claire Herzog

The rate at which the Islamic State is recruiting, training, and exploiting children presents a new set of challenges for U.S. warfighters and law enforcement.

Not only do we risk overlooking the threat posed by children, assuming their innocence, but we also run the risk of moral injury and increased rates of PTSD to those who must confront this threat.

This paper looks at how the Islamic State is militarizing children in order to better prepare the United States to face this new and rising threat.

ISIS’s Child Terrorists and Their Palestinian Precedents

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Front Page Magazine, by P. David Hornik, Aug.30, 2016:

“There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief.”

Those words, written in 1791 by Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, should be deeply internalized by anyone who wants to deal seriously with international affairs. In our present era of Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups, the phrase “all possible evil” seems to take on new meaning almost every day.

As in a chilling new video, first reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and reported on by Fox News here, that shows IS “cubs”—child warriors, in this case as young as ten—executing five Kurdish fighters.

The video features scenes of beheadings and other carnage before zeroing-in on the five boys and their victims. One of the boys, identified as Abu al-Baraa al-Tunisi, warns: “The war against you has not started yet and the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, and neither humans nor Jinn devils will avail you. Prepare you coffins, dig your graves, and await a fate similar to that of these men.”

The boys then shout “Allah Akbar” and shoot the five kneeling, red-suited men in the backs of their heads.

Although this is not the first IS video to show executions by children, it is believed, Fox News notes, “to be the first showing a mass execution carried out by multiple children.”

But for all that IS is reaching new depths of “all possible evil,” it should not be forgotten that the pioneers of various modes of terrorism in our time were, and remain, the Palestinians. That includes the phenomenon of child terrorism.

As far back as the Second Intifada (2000-2005), at least nine suicide bombings were perpetrated by Palestinian minors. And the wave of stabbing, shooting, and vehicle-ramming attacks that began last September (and has lately abated) has included numerous cases of teenage terrorists and one case of an eleven-year-old terrorist.

These minors, unlike the IS “cubs,” were not explicitly delegated their tasks by adults. Yet they were responding to endemic incitement in the Palestinian Authority, and the sorts of acts they committed have been systematically glorified—up to the recent naming of a scouts’ leadership course after a terrorist who, with an accomplice, murdered a middle-aged man and two elderly men on a Jerusalem bus last October.

Gaza-based Hamas, of course—a direct ally of IS—is hardly to be outdone by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority when it comes to linking children and terrorism.

As The Tower reported, last month Hamas “opened three-week-long training camps in Gaza for over 50,000 elementary, middle, and high school students.”  It was nothing new:

Hamas has long encouraged Palestinian children to see themselves as soldiers against Israel, often dressing them in military uniforms and teaching them how to shoot firearms. In May, Palestinian kindergarten students in the Gaza Strip wore military fatigues and brandished toy machine guns to simulate the capture of an Israeli soldier as part of a school play.

In June 2014…around one thousand students from ages 12 to 17 would line up each week in the Saraya neighborhood of Gaza City to receive [military] training…. More than 10,000 Palestinian teenagers graduated from such camps in 2015, after undergoing intensive military training using live ammunition, as well as hearing sermons from Hamas leaders praising armed attacks.

Apart from debates about efficacy, the fact that Western countries have been attacking IS in Iraq, Syria, and Libya at least indicates an awareness that the organization is evil and can only be fought.

Little such awareness, of course, has been evident when Israel has fought Hamas in the 2009, 2012, and 2014 Gaza wars. Hamas’s use of a human-shields strategy—involving the sacrifice of children as well as older civilians—has, instead of inspiring revulsion and understanding of Israel’s predicament, worked with great effect to turn blame and condemnation against Israel.

For Israel and its supporters, it is always an uphill struggle to establish that terror against Israel belongs to the same genus as terror that strikes other countries, showing the same heinous flouting of the most fundamental moral norms including distinctions between combatants and civilians and between adults and children.

That ISIS has taken child terrorism a step or two further than the Palestinian Authority or Hamas should not obscure the fact that Israel, too, has to confront “all possible evil.”

***

Also see:

Islamic State’s Ancient Jihadi Tactics ‘Shock’ the West

is-execution-wikimediaFrontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, Feb. 26, 2016:

As Western politicians and other talking heads insist that the Islamic State (“ISIS”) has “nothing whatsoever to do with Islam,” not only does ISIS correctly implement Islamic law—whether by demanding jizya from subjugated Christians or by sexually enslaving “infidel” women—but even the “caliphate’s” arcane jihadi tactics belong to Islam.

Consider a recently exposed “recruitment” tactic of ISIS: abducting, indoctrinating, and beating young children in order to mold them into explosive-vest wearing “martyrs” who hurl themselves onto “infidels”:

The children who managed to escape describe how they were indoctrinated into the jihadi group’s radical brand of Islam and taught that they should execute their “unbeliever” [infidel] parents….  “We weren’t allowed to cry but I would think about my mother, think about her worrying about me and I’d try and cry quietly,” he [an escapee] said…  Some children who managed to escape ISIS and are now living in the refugee camps in northern Iraq, have also been left badly psychologically scarred. The repeated beatings and endless propaganda have meant that some of the escapees wake up in the night with nightmares while others suffer seizures.

The report goes on to say that “The growing trend for ISIS to use child soldiers as suicide bombers, particularly in Iraq, has been suggested as a sign of how stretched their resources are in the region.”

Or it could suggest that ISIS is simply following another page of the jihadi playbook.  For centuries, Muslim caliphates seized Christian boys from their families, forcefully converted and indoctrinated them in Islam, trained them to be jihadis extraordinaire, and then unleashed them back onto their former Christian kin to wreak havoc in the name of jihad on infidels. (Skanderberg was the exception.)

That this practice is Islamic is evident in that other modern day Muslims—not just ISIS—follow it.  In 2012, 300 Christian children were abducted and forcibly converted to Islam.  After convincing impoverished Christian families in Bangladesh to spend what little money they had to send their children to study at supposed mission hostels, conmen would “pocket the money” and “sell the children to Islamic schools elsewhere in the country ‘where imams force them to abjure Christianity.’”  The children are then instructed in Islam and beaten. After being fully indoctrinated, the once Christian children are asked if they are “ready to give their lives for Islam,” presumably by becoming jihadi suicide-bombers.

The West would not be oblivious to this “new” Muslim tactic—erroneously concluding that it means ISIS has “stretched their resources”—if it had Islamic studies departments that disseminated facts instead of pro-Islamic myths and propaganda.   As with all unsavory aspects of Islamic history, this institution has been whitewashed.  Although young, terrified boys were seized from the clutches of their devastated parents, the mainstream (but otherwise debunked) narrative is that poor Christian families were eager to see their boys taken to the caliphate where they would have a “bright future.”

Portraying uniquely negative aspects of Islamic doctrine and history as uniquely positive aspects is par for the course.  For example, the Islamic institution of jizya—extorting money from subjugated Christians and Jews often on pain of death—is presented by academics like Georgetown University’s John Esposito as a show of “tolerance” (debunked here).

Because Western knowledge of Islam has been subverted by the “scholars”—especially those funded by petrodollars—ISIS and other Muslims are free to practice any number of distinctly Islamic tactics that appear “novel” to the West.

According to a manual distributed by ISIS, would be jihadi mass murderers in the West are urged “to blend in with the western way of life and to avoid ‘looking like a Muslim’ so as to stay below the radar of the security services….  Readers are urged to wear a Christian cross, splash on the aftershave, cut off beards and even shun prayer meetings and mosques to avoid detection.”  The manual says:

It is permissible for you to wear a necklace showing a Christian cross.  As you know, Christians—or even atheist Westerners with Christian background—wear crosses on their necklaces.  But don’t wear a cross necklace if you have a Muslim name on your passport, as that may look strange.

Considering Islam’s well known enmity for the Christian cross, the depth of deception here should be clear.

While the UK’s Express repeatedly refers to the strategic deception outlined above as “chilling,” it’ actually standard.  Not only did the 9/11 terrorists and many others follow these tactics, but Muslims have been pretending to blend in with those infidels they plan to murder from the start.  Indeed, in order to kill an elderly Jewish poet who had mocked him, the prophet of Islam allowed one of his jihadis to lie to the Jew as a way to get close enough and kill him.  The jihadi did so—to the point of cursing Muhammad in front of the poet, who ceased suspecting the young man was still following the prophet and eventually invited him into his home—at which point the jihadi dropped the mask and decapitated the elderly Jew.   (Click here for other examples of Muhammad permitting Muslims to behave like non-Muslims as a stratagem of war.)

Crypto-Muslims (or Moriscos) pretending to be Christian, but secretly working to subvert Spain back to Muslim rule, were a continual source of danger for centuries.   While the Spaniards knew that Islam prevented Muslims from being loyal to Christian rule, after the Reconquista they also learned that many Muslims who had publicly converted to Christianity—going to church and participating in baptism and communion—were crypto-Muslims working for the victory of Islam, including by revolting with the aid of foreign Muslims, such as the Turks. As a result, Islam was expelled from Spain; as a result, ISIS and other Muslims vow to return.

Yet because this historical event is now portrayed as an example of extreme Christian intolerance—the flipside of Western academia’s devotion to whitewashing Islam is its devotion to demonizing Christianity—another valuable lesson from Christian/Muslim history is lost.

The tactics employed by the Islamic State and other jihadi outfits—from indoctrinating Christian children to be martyrs for Islam to acting Christian, going to church, and wearing crucifixes—permeate Islamic history.   But because the West refuses to acknowledge Islam’s true doctrines and history, it must ever confront the jihad blindfolded and blindsided.

The Strategic Threat of Islamic State Child-Fighters

9343By Brian Fairchild, February 25, 2016

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

  • The Islamic State regards its child-fighters as central to its grand strategy because they constitute the caliphate’s next generation, and it operates an extensive educational/training infrastructure that routinely produces them. Child-fighters are deployed as equals to adult fighters and assigned missions as suicide bombers, combatants, and as cold-blooded executioners.  Their participation in violent operations is accelerating, and they will increasingly confront coalition forces on the battlefield, as well as on American soil in terrorist operations.  They constitute one of America’s least understood strategic threats, but the U.S. is currently ill-prepared to deal with them.

On February 9, 2016, the US Director of National Intelligence testified before congress that the number of foreign fighters flocking to Syria and Iraq in the past few years is “without precedent”, reaching over 38,200 from 120 nations, including, at least, 6,900 from Western countries.  This explosion is both alarming and historic.  Western European leaders in particular were stunned by the November 2015 attacks in Paris, and they fear the worst is yet to come – intelligence indicates that the Islamic State is currently planning simultaneous attacks against several European cities.

But the explosion of foreign fighters tells only part of the story.  There has also been a qualitative change in their character – they are more ideologically extreme, and much more brutal than the jihadists of al Qaeda.  Because of the Islamic State’s (IS) widely disseminated propaganda of beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture, the revival of slavery, and the inhumane execution of prisoners, there can be no doubt that, even before they leave home, the thousands of radicalized Western Muslims that continue to flood into the Islamic State do so fully understanding and embracing its barbaric ideology and actions.

Of particular note, and the subject of this analysis, is that the Islamic State has intentionally and strategically focused its barbaric ideology on the most impressionable and vulnerable segments of its ever expanding population – its children, who constitute one of America’s least understood strategic threatsThe evidence indicates that the number of pre-teen and early-teen child-fighters involved in combat and violent attacks is increasing.

NOTE:  This report uses the time-tested intelligence analysis format of Facts, Findings, and Forecast.  It will provide relevant facts from primary sources and then make general findings from those facts.  Finally, it will forecast likely future strategic developments based on these facts and findings. 

FACTS:

Islamic State strategy regarding child-fighters:

The Islamic State uses child-fighters as a fundamental part of its grand strategy.  In the 12th issue of its official Dabiq magazine, the Islamic State revealed, for the first time, that a strategic document titled Management of Savagery:  The Most Critical Stage through Which the Umma Will Pass “describes very precisely the overall strategy” that it has followed for over a decade.  Indeed, it gives this strategic guide high praise stating that when its revered leader, Abu Musab az-Zarqawi read it, he commented – “It is as if the author knows what I’m planning.”[1] 

Management of Savagery, published in 2004 specifically to provide salafi jihadis with a strategic guide on how to successfully create a new Islamic caliphate, emphasizes that training Muslim youth in sharia law and military skill is one of the most important strategic goals for the jihad.  So important, in fact, that it ranks fifth out of 12 key requirements it must accomplish to establish the caliphate.  Indeed, the fifth requirement emphasizes the importance of:   

  • Raising the level of faith and combat efficiency during the training of the youth of the regionand establishing a fighting society at all levels and among all individuals by means of making them aware of its importance.”

Management of Savagery insists that brutal violence against enemies must be constantly used, and that the education of Muslim youth must not be confined to the classroom, but that the caliphate’s next generation of leaders and fighters must be taught in the furnace and brutality of war, declaring:

  • Active jihad is the greatest means of educating the MuslimsBy its means, true leaders will be brought forth… That is because speaking on the pulpit is easy and in the newspaper even easier and in books even easier than that. As for having (one’s) home destroyed and one’s family made homeless and one’s mother and sister torn to pieces, only the most extraordinary men are capable of (bearing) that.  Great leaders and hardened troops will not come forth save in an atmosphere like this.”[2]

Proof that the Islamic State has followed this strategic guidance is found in its own statements and videos, as well as in the reporting of journalists, the United Nations, and NGOs (Non-governmental organizations).

For example, the Islamic State has explicitly echoed much of the Management of Savagery’s guidance in its article The Lions of Tomorrow, which appeared in the March 2015 issue of Dabiq magazine, in which it said:

  • “…there is a new generation waiting in the wings, eagerly anticipating the day that it is called upon to take up the banner of īmān. These are the children of the Ummah of jihad…The Islamic State has taken it upon itself to fulfill the Ummah’s duty towards this generation in preparing it to face the crusaders and their allies in defense of Islam and to raise high the word of Allah in every land. It has established institutes for these ashbāl (lion cubs) to train and hone their military skills, and to teach them the book of Allah…”[3]

Islamic State Educational Infrastructure:

The militarization of pre-teens and early teens is also well documented by journalists, the United Nations, and Non-Governmental Organizations:

  • A new study conducted by Georgia State University researchers and published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, reveals that the Islamic State employs child soldiers in a uniquely different way than child soldiers were used in African conflicts where they were coerced into service and used as fodder. The Islamic State does not recruit children out of desperation to replace lost adult fighters, but treats them as equals “fighting alongside, rather than in lieu of, adult males and their respective patterns of involvement closely reflect one another”.  Highlighting their fundamental value as the caliphate’s next generation, the study concludes that the Islamic State:
  • “…is integrating children into its project in a way that is more reminiscent of a state than a non-state actor. It’s thinking with the long term in mind. It’s not just bringing children into its ranks and using them immediately on the battlefield. What it’s doing is bringing them in, indoctrinating them, training them, spending a lot of time instilling them with jihadist ideology.”
  • Children are so important to the future of the Islamic State that in every location it rules, one of its first actions is to establish a system to indoctrinate them. According to a local teacher, after it took control of Deir az-Zor, Syria, the Islamic State shut down schools until all teachers could be re-educated according to its religious and ideological doctrine, and the curriculum could be radically adjusted.  When the schools re-opened, gone were chemistry, physics, philosophy, the social sciences and math, replaced by courses on Islamic law, the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, biographies of Islamic leaders, and English translations of the Qur’an and the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet).
  • The June 2014 Human Rights Watch research paper “Maybe We Live, and Maybe We Die” revealed that “both children and adults who fought with ISIS consistently reported seeing children 13 years old or younger undergoing the same training and performing the same military duties as adults.”
  • During the period of July to September 2014, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq received confirmed reports that children as young as 12 or 13 received military training.
  • Yet another UN report described a school in Raqqa that trains over 350 boys between the ages of 5 and 16 “for combat roles”. This report emphasized that the Islamic State systematically uses education as a tool of indoctrination to ensure that the children grow up to be its loyal next generation, and it highlighted the fact that “children are gathered for screenings of videos depicting mass executions of Government soldiers, desensitizing them to extreme violence”.

Islamic State child-fighters are increasingly involved in violent attacks:

Islamic State schools and training centers are succeeding as a production line for fighters.  Rising statistics show that once child-fighters are indoctrinated with jihadist ideology, they kill for the caliphate.  From January 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016, at least 89 child-fighters died while fighting in battles, and sixty-six percent of them were between 8-16 years old.[4]

Worse, their participation in violent operations is accelerating:

  • On a month-by-month basis, the rate of young people dying in suicide operations rose, from six in January 2015 to 11 in January 2016. The rate of operations involving one or more child or youth is likewise increasing; there were three times as many suicide operations involving children and youth in January 2016 as the previous January (2015).”[5]

Child-fighter Executioners:

In a phenomenon unique to the Islamic State, it has specifically groomed pre-teen and early teens to be cold-blooded executioners:

  • In March 2015, Islamic State videos highlighted two non-Arab boys estimated to be under 11, executing kneeling prisoners by shooting them in the back of the head. This execution was featured in the article The Lions of Tomorrow that appeared in issue 8th issue of Dabiq magazine:
  • It is these young lions to whom the Islamic State recently handed over two agents caught spying for Russian Intelligence and an agent caught spying for the Israeli Mossad, to be executed and displayed as an example to anyone else thinking of infiltrating the mujāhidīnAs expected, the kuffār were up in arms about the Khilāfah’s use of “child soldiers.”[6]
  • In a May 4, 2015 video a Caucasian boy of 14 is shown calmly selecting and loading a 9mm handgun and then executing a kneeling prisoner. Afterwards, he makes a statement vowing terror attacks around the world.
  • In mid-July 2015, an Islamic State video highlighted a boy of no more than ten years old beheading an Islamic State prisoner.
  • On February 6, 2016, the Islamic State released a video of an English-speaking boy around 10 years old beheading a prisoner and threatening the United States.
  • On February 10, 2016, the Islamic State released a video of a four year old boy, pressing the detonator button to blow-up Islamic State prisoners handcuffed inside a car. The boy, Isa Dare, is the son of a radical mother who emigrated from Britain to Syria with Isa in 2012.

Child-fighter combatants:

  • In January 2015, an 11 year old suicide bomber named Abu Imara al Omri drove a truck laden with explosives into a group of Syrian soldiers in the town of Ghazi.
  • In early July 2015, the Islamic State celebrated a 14 year old suicide bomber by the name of Omar Hadid al-Muhammadi who killed 50 Kurdish militants in northern Syria by driving a truck filled with explosives into a military checkpoint.
  • In October 2014, Islamic State twitter accounts praised their youngest “martyr”, a 10 year old boy who was killed by coalition air strikes in Syria while fighting alongside his jihadi father.
  • In March 2015, a 13 year old French boy was described as the youngest French “martyr” when he was killed while on patrol at an Islamic State border post in Western Syria near the city of Homs.
  • In August 2014, a news article highlighted a young radical fighter named Younes Abaaoud, the 13 year old brother of Abdelhamid Abaaoud who was the Belgian ring leader of the November 2015 Paris attacks, who smiles for the camera as he holds his right index finger aloft while holding an AK-47 in his left hand.
  • In November 2014, a video documents two French boys that look younger than 10, brandishing weapons and speaking fluent French telling other children “Over there, you’re in a country of infidels. Here, we’re mujahedeen. We’re in Syria, we’re in Raqqa here. It’s war here”.

Child-fighter lone wolves:

  • In the November 18, 2015 issue of Dabiq magazine, the Islamic State lauded young jihadis for conducting attacks in their countries, specifically praising their youth and inexperience:
    • “They did not use a younger age or lack of training as an excuse to be mere bystanders. They sacrificed their souls in the noblest of deeds in pursuit of Allah’s pleasure…Amongst these brave knights of tawhīd and jihad was fifteen-year-old Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar, who on “2 October 2015” struck the crusaders of Australia and killed one of their personnel…”
  • In October 2015, Australian police revealed that a 12-year-old boy is suspected of helping Farhad Jabar attack the police officers in Australia.
  • On April 23, 2015, British police arrested a 14 year old boy and charged him with 2 counts of inciting a person to commit an act of terrorism overseas. The boy, inspired by the Islamic State, was taken into custody after encouraging an attack against police officers in Australia.   It was through the boy’s online communications with two 18 year olds in Australia that police uncovered an active plot by the two Aussie teenagers to run over a police officer with an automobile after which they would finish him off with knives, and then take his gun and go on a shooting spree.
  • On May 27, 2015, A 14-year-old boy from Austria plead guilty to terrorism charges and was sentenced to a two year jail term for downloading bomb-making plans onto his PlayStation and for contacting Islamic State militants in Syria.
  • On April 5, 2015, British anti-terrorist police arrested a 14 year old boy who was preparing for an act of terrorism on behalf of the Islamic State.

FINDINGS:

  • The Islamic State’s strategic guide (Management of Savagery), as well as its declarations and actions reveal that it develops child-fighters as an essential part of its grand strategy designed to produce the caliphate’s next generation of “great leaders and hardened troops”.
  • The Islamic State asserts that its child-fighters are religiously sanctioned. It explains in the Lions of Tomorrow, that today’s child-fighters are no different than the child-fighters that fought for the prophet Muhammad in Islam’s very first caliphate:  (NOTE:  Translations in parentheses were added by author for clarity) :
  • “As expected, the kuffār (infidels) were up in arms about the Khilāfah’s (Caliphate’s) use of “child soldiers.” Yet this was the Sunnah (teachings, deeds, and sayings) of Allah’s Messenger (the prophet Muhammad)…who would allow those capable from amongst the young Sahābah (Muhammad’s companions) to participate in his battles against the mushrikin (polytheists)… And just as the children of the Sahābah stained their swords with the blood of yesterday’s tāghūt (tyrant)…so too will the children of the Khilāfah stain their bullets with the blood of today’s tawāghīt (tyrants)…”
  • Under Islamic State rule the indoctrination of youth is routinely carried-out via an extensive educational/training infrastructure that successfully produces child-fighters who are deployed in the same manner as adult fighters: They fight and die side-by-side with their adult counterparts as suicide bombers, combatants, and executioners.
  • During the first year of the caliphate, all Islamic State executioners were adult males. But, in March 2015, the Islamic State embarked on a calculated program to highlight pre-teen and early-teen executioners.  This did not occur by happenstance, but because the caliphate finds unique value in using child-fighters in this role to terrorize its enemies, and to use as propaganda to recruit additional children.
  • The Islamic State undoubtedly employs a selection process to identify child-fighters who are religiously, ideologically, and physically able to participate in higher level operations. Participating in executions to demonstrate their commitment and loyalty is likely part of this process.  Indications are that this selection process was also used to select the fighters who conducted the Paris attacks.  This was revealed when an Islamic State video, released after the attacks, highlighted the fact that all of the Paris attackers had previously executed prisoners.
  • The Islamic State actively and successfully encourages young radical Muslims around the world to conduct lone wolf attacks in their countries by expending enormous resources to propagandize, radicalize, and recruit them. It is estimated that the Islamic State and its supporters produce 90,000 messages on social media each day.
  • Islamic State child-fighters are not limited by nationality and race to only Arab children from Iraq and Syria, but they hail from numerous countries, including: Tunisia, Tajikistan, Morocco, Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Libya, Lebanon, France, Australia, Britain, Belgium, and Austria.

FORECASTS:

  • Because the Islamic State regards child-fighters as its next generation, it will continue to indoctrinate and use them operationally throughout the areas it controls as long as the caliphate remains. The fact that these child-fighters are purposely groomed to take on the mantle of leadership in an environment where death and brutality are routine ensures the continuation of violent jihad for, at least, the next 25 years.
  • Islamic State child-fighters will increasingly confront coalition forces on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria and all the other areas the Islamic State controls (i.e. Libya, Nigeria, Yemen), as well as in terror operations in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Inevitably, child-fighters will be used in terror operations in the United States. When this occurs, the Islamic State will likely maximize the propaganda value of these operations by ensuring that they are as brutal and horrific as possible.
  • The United States is particularly vulnerable to attacks by Islamic State child-fighters because they are generally not considered to be threats, and they can easily enter the United States, either documented as the children of adult travelers, or via human smuggling networks. Once in-country they can easily be hidden in plain site by support networks and can carry-out their operational tasks unmolested.
  • Because they have not heretofore been considered threats, there are currently no intelligence or law enforcement mechanisms, databases, or operations to track or neutralize child-fighters.
  • The U.S. legal system is not designed to deal with cold-blooded pre-teen and early-teen suicide bombers and combatants. S. law currently protects all children under the age of 18 “minors” who cannot be given the death penalty in murder cases, and who must be afforded special legal considerations such as having a parent present during questioning, and serving prison time in juvenile facilities.  As confrontation with child-fighters increases in the near future, new legal mechanisms will have to be created to deal with this new threat.

Brian Fairchild was a career officer in CIA’s Clandestine Service.  He has served in Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and Afghanistan.  Mr. Fairchild writes periodic intelligence analyses on topics of strategic importance.

[1] The Revival of Jihad in Bengal, Dabiq Magazine, Issue 12, November 2015, footnote 2, page 39.

[2] The Management of Savagery:  The Most Critical Stage through Which the Umma Will Pass, published online in 2004, Abu Bakr Naji, p. 58.

[3] The Lions of Tomorrow, Islamic State, Dabiq magazine, Issue 8, March 30, 2015, pgs. 20-21.

[4] Depictions of Children and Youth in the Islamic State’s Martyrdom Propaganda, 2015-2016, Mia Bloom, John Horgan, and Charlie Winter, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, CTCSentinel, February 2016, Vol 9, Issue 2, pgs. 29-32

[5] Depictions of Children and Youth in the Islamic State’s Martyrdom Propaganda, pg. 31

[6] Lions of Tomorrow, pg. 20