This video (warning, graphic) was just released a couple of days ago, after ISIS completed an offensive campaign in Yemen where they retook the states (wilayat) of Aden and Abyan, now referring to it as one state. The Houthis (a.k.a. Ansar Allah) in the region are a coalition of Shia Islamic forces—anti-U.S. and anti-Sunni. Despite the usual principle of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” they are friends of neither the West nor ISIS.
In my estimation, this is a pieced-together video made from actions that took place over a broad period of time, likely starting in spring of this year. The attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have kept Yemen off the West’s news radar of late, but it’s still a very volatile area. This video serves to demonstrate the resolve of ISIS following setbacks in Yemen and in Syria. They were able to recruit, regroup, and recover territory. It also gives us insight into the fact that the Saudi-led airstrikes against the insurgency in Yemen have directly contributed to the expansion of ISIS along that Red Sea nation.
There are no new substantive revelations in this video. ISIS states that it is the true Islam that will bring Muslims together under one banner. America, along with Iran and others, are Satan, of course. The rhetoric in the video states that partnerships between America and Saudi Arabia are antithetical to Islam, but exist as part of a corrupt corporate process for the mutual benefit of the two countries. The governments that work as partners are a coalition of infidels, and will be opposed by the Sunnis of the region. The war (and fire) will go from the Persian Gulf to the west, north, and south, spreading the education and culture of Sunni Islam.
In an early scene, the prisoner “confesses” his crime(s); his job was to fight, search, and locate weapons for the Ansar Allah. Later, an ISIS fighter professes that from the base of ISIS, from Iraq to Sham, a Khalifah will arise and kill all the soldiers of Satan. The video concludes with the bombings of three targets identified by the video-makers as:
- Government headquarters, the Palace Hotel
- Headquarters of the Emirate forces
- Headquarters/operations room at the house of Bin Farid
The graphic that is shown between the executions titled “Revenge for Hama” may refer to a 1982 massacre that occurred in Hama, Syria. Hama is located in western Syria and was the location of a Sunni uprising met with a brutal retaliation from then-Syrian President Hafez al-Assad (father of current president Bashar al-Assad), which left more than 20,000 Sunni Muslims dead. In 2015, Hama has been the target of ISIS offensives throughout the spring. Those offensives have so far have been pushed back by Syrian government forces.