The latest video from ISIS combines the terrorist group's trademark barbarity with an ambitious pledge: a vow that it is coming after the Kremlin.
"We will take through battle the lands of yours we wish," a voice says in Russian, as English subtitles float over scenes of slaughter and a map of the world. "Hellfire awaits you. Europe is shaking, Russia is dying."
Vowing that the "Kremlin will be ours" and promising attacks on Europe, the 5-minute video's producers pledge to “make blood spill like an ocean.”
"Hellfire awaits you. Europe is shaking, Russia is dying."
- Threat in new ISIS video
Terrorism and intelligence experts said the video is a clear shot across the bow of Russia, and follows the suspected ISIS bombing of a Russian airliner on Oct. 31which killed more than 200.
“The video is a clear threat to Russia, and to a certain extent to other Western countries,” said Veryan Khan, editorial director for the U.S.-based Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. “The Islamic State claims they will reach the Kremlin and bring it down.”
The video is noteworthy, analysts say, because it was released just after an Islamic State affiliate took credit for the Russian airliner plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula, and in the same week there was a reported attack on the Russian Embassy in Serbia.
“Many threats are being issued against Russia because of their intervention in Syria since September, and this video is clearly just one more threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Khan said.
ISIS has called for attacks against Russia since it began airstrikes in Syria Sept. 30 in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Khan believes the video should be carefully analyzed to reveal clues about the group's intention for future attacks and expansion plans. The Islamic State shows a map of their planned takeover, while pledging: "We will take through battle the lands of yours we wish. So much of your lands... We will make your wives concubines and make your children our slaves.”
The Islamic State also promises to kill every person and destroy every religious artifact that does not belong to their ideology and maintains only the “fool or the blind” will ignore this “undeniable truth.”
Ryan Mauro, national security analyst and adjunct professor of homeland security for the Clarion Project, agreed that the propaganda video was put together as a response to Russian intervention in Syria. Russia should expect the terror group to follow through, he said.
“ISIS is making it very clear that it will attack Russia, specifically Moscow, and a failure to do so will be a big blow to their prestige,” Mauro said. “We should assume they'll succeed because bombing a Russian airliner over Egypt is more difficult than attacking a random target inside Russia because ISIS only needs a small group of supporters among the 15 percent of the Russian population that is Muslim.”
This also is a threat to the U.S. because one of the lines spoken by the narrator specifically pledges to attack "the cross," referring to Christians and the West, Mauro said.
“The pledge to ‘make your wives concubines and make your children our slaves’ is referring to Americans, too,” Mauro said. “It's a sentence that should remind us of the price that the Islamic State intends to make women and even children pay.”
Besides closeups of hostage beheadings, mass firing lines, and other grisly savage acts, the video shows the Islamic State’s destruction of historical Christian monuments and relics and features its armed forces using heavy weaponry it has acquired.
The first images document the shocking decapitation of 21 Coptic Christians by black-hooded jihadists who force their prisoners to kneel on the beach in the now infamous orange prisoner jumpsuits just before they are killed. The video also shows the Jordanian pilot who was burned alive in a cage in February 2015 as well as several images of corpses, severed heads, fatal wounds and blood spilling around their victims.
To send a message they are organized, Islamic State fighters are shown undergoing training in khaki uniforms, holding standardized weapons and marching in aligned ranks.
“By showing that they have state-like powers, that their fighters are a real army and not mere disorganized combatants, and that they operate as such, the Islamic State is attempting to impress and instill fear in the populations it targets as its enemies,” Khan said. “They are showing that they are a force to be reckoned with.”
This video is another example of how ISIS has successfully repackaged its outdated ideology with 21st century technology, Mauro said, and is using technology to recruit.
“ISIS is bridging the gap between modernity and its outdated theocratic vision, making its ideology easier for young recruits to accept and embrace,” Mauro said. “It's hard to imagine Usama Bin Laden making a music video like this and that's another reason that the Islamic State is shaping the future of jihad, not Al Qaeda.”
Russian, American and coalition forces have been battling the Islamic State, and the blood-thirsty terrorists have been losing ground in Syria, Sinjar, AlHawl and Aleppo, said Jasmine Opperman, an analyst for the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium's headquarters in Africa.
“This video is part of a propaganda campaign diverting attention from their losses,” said Opperman, predicting, “ISIS will become more aggressive in their presence and activities in Wilayahs such as Afghanistan, Libya and Nigeria, culminating in more attacks, more than likely suicide bombings on public places.”
Malia Zimmerman is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on crime, homeland security, illegal immigration crime, terrorism and political corruption. Follow her on twitter at @MaliaMZimmerman