Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq, has
already executed two U.S. journalists and one British aid worker in
recent weeks in what it said was reprisal for U.S. air strikes
against it in Iraq.
In the five-minute video, the man identified as Cantlie suggests
President Barack Obama, long careful to avoid the sort of conflicts
his predecessor George Bush pursued, was being sucked into a war he
could not win, SITE reported.
"The president once called George Bush's Iraq conflict a "dumb war,"
and couldn't wait to distance America from it when he came into
power. Now he's being inextricably drawn back in," the man
identified as Cantlie says.
The man, wearing an orange shirt and his hair closely cropped,
describes Islamic State as the "most powerful jihadist movement seen
in recent history", adding it could not be greatly harmed by U.S.
politicians calling it "awful" or "vile".
The video appeared to have been recorded before strikes overnight
launched by U.S. warplanes and partners on Islamic State targets in
The United States has been building a coalition to combat Islamic
State, a hardline Sunni Muslim force that has seized large expanses
of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate erasing
borders in the heart of the Middle East.
The United States resumed air strikes in neighboring Iraq in August
for the first time since the pullout of U.S. troops in 2011.
Using a term for holy warriors, the man identified as Cantlie said:
"Not since Vietnam have we witnessed such a potential mess in the
making. Current estimates of 15,000 troops needed to fight the
Islamic State are laughably low. The State has more mujahideen than
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"This is not some undisciplined outfit with a few Kalashnikovs."
The man said the new Iraqi government, an ally of Shi'ite Muslim
power Iran, was waiting eagerly for U.S. intervention to strengthen
Iranian influence in the Middle East.
While a strong opponent of Islamic State, which sees Shi'ites as
infidels, Iran has sent mixed signals about its willingness to
cooperate with the United States on defeating the militants.
In public, both Washington and Tehran have ruled out cooperating
militarily on Islamic State. But in private, Iranian officials have
voiced a willingness to work with Washington on IS, though not
necessarily on the battlefield.
(Reporting by William Maclean; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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