A nearly hour-long, English language documentary-style video detailing the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was uploaded to YouTube Friday, presumably by members of the rapidly expanding extremist group.
The film, entitled “Flames of War,” splices live footage from the front lines of the Islamic State’s wars in Iraq and Syria with special effects that include computer generated explosions, dramatic soundtracks and slow-motion sequences. Throughout the 55 minutes of the video, a narrator with an almost perfect American accent provides viewers with the radical Islamist group’s perspective on its history and objectives.
The US government and military, continuously referred to in the film as “crusader forces” and “infidels,” are warned by the group that its combatants are ready and waiting to defeat them in battle, and a slogan asserting that “the fighting has just begun” is uttered by the narrator as well as featured jihadists time and again.
While the film is not nearly as polished as a Hollywood production, it amply displays the Islamic States’ employment of popular culture and social media to reach massive audiences across the globe.
The publication of “Flames of War” comes days after a slick, 52-second video trailer for the movie was published online. The trailer showed militants blowing up tanks and images of wounded US soldiers, then turned to a clip of Obama saying that combat troops will not be returning to Iraq, ending with a text overlay that reads “fighting has just begun.”
Both the full length video and the trailer were released by the Islamic State group’s Al Hayat media center.
The full length video in English appeared to be part of a new media strategy by the Islamic State to engage a Western audience. It was released a day after a clip on YouTube showing a captive British journalist named John Cantlie encouraging British and Americans to oppose military action against IS and accusing the media of distorting facts about IS to drum up support for war. Cantlie said in the video that announced the imminent launch of a series of videos explaining the truth about IS.
Friday’s feature film came out shortly after the release of an Islamic State video game trailer which appears to be loosely based on the Grand Theft Auto series, in which players assassinate soldiers, detonate car bombs and raid convoys.
The group recently released three videos showing the beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker.
AP contributed to this report.