Game on: New Islamic State video tries to drag Israel into attacking in Syria

Game on: New Islamic State video tries to drag Israel into attacking in Syria

This one ups the ante.  The reporting by Daily Mail focuses on the hostage’s story, and whether the 10-year-old featured in the video did the actual shooting. But there’s potentially a much bigger concern.

Here’s Daily Mail:

Islamic State militants have released a sickening new video that purports to show a boy shooting dead a 19-year-old Israeli-Arab who was taken hostage by the terror group.

The film shows a man identified as Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam describing how he was sent by Israeli intelligence to infiltrate ISIS in Syria, where the group claim he was captured last year.

Wearing an orange jumpsuit, the hostage is later kneeling at the feet of two uniformed militants, one of whom appears to be no older than 10, before being shot in the forehead at point-blank range.

But while ISIS claim the child – described in the video as one of the ‘cubs of the caliphate’ – was the shooter, careful editing means it is impossible to tell whether he pulled the trigger.

I’m going to let you visit the Daily Mail site if you want to view the video.  There doesn’t seem to be a question whether the hostage was killed.  What’s in doubt is who actually did the killing.  Nevertheless, the boy was clearly there for the whole event.

Musallam’s parents, shown in a photo in their home in Jerusalem, understood their son to be heading to Syria to join Islamic State.  I consider it extremely doubtful that the confession Musallam was required to make was legitimate.  There is a great deal of suspect detail in it:

Mr Musallam remains calm and controlled as he explains that he was approached by an Israeli neighbour who asked him to work for Israeli intelligence.

He says that his father and brother both encouraged him to take up the position, pointing out there would be opportunity to progress in the organisation. …

The video, published today [10 March] by the group’s Furqan media outlet…lists the names of 13 other men – including Mr Musallam’s elder brother and father – who the group claims are working for Mossad. …

Mr Musallam goes on to describe how he was trained to use weapons and withstand interrogation techniques at a camp in Jerusalem before being sent to Syria on a mission.

He explains he was told to infiltrate the Islamic State and send information on weapon stores, training bases and Palestinian members of the group back to Israel.

In what appears to be a rehearsed speech, Mr Musallam talks about how he entered Turkey before being smuggled across the border to Islamic State-occupied Syria.

He shares of how he was caught and interrogated by jihadists after they became suspicious when he left a guest house where he was staying to make a phone call to his father.

It was during the interrogation that he confessed to being an Israeli spy, he claims.

This all smacks of overkill.  It looks like a set-up to me, especially considering how cooperatively Musallam goes through it all.

The important thing about Musallam is that he apparently was, in fact, an Israeli.  If his parents are correct, and he intended to join Islamic State and fight for them, the odds are good he agreed to become a martyr in this video, so that Islamic State could taunt the Israeli government with the execution of an Israeli.

Executing the Jordanian pilot caused Jordan to attack ISIS in Syria.  Executing the Egyptian Christians in Libya got Egypt to attack ISIS there.

Now Islamic State wants to goad Israel into joining the fight.  Why now?  The battle for Tikrit, which Iran is slowly but surely winning.  IS wants to expand the war.  Any expansion of chaos is to Islamic State’s advantage.  But not every expansion of chaos would be to Iran’s advantage.  There are reasons for IS’s planners to think Iran would be caught out of position if Israel could be dragged into doing something in Syria, just at this moment.  An Israeli reaction would also imperil the effective solidarity subsisting right now between Israel and the status quo Arab states (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan).  That helps IS, even if it’s also beneficial for Iran.

If he chooses to accept it, Netanyahu faces a new challenge.  He may deem it prudent not to react in a public way in this case.  But IS is likely to keep trying.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.

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