BEIRUT – The militant Islamic State group released a video warning the United States that its fighters are waiting for it in Iraq if President Barack Obama sends troops there, as his top general said may happen if the current strategy of airstrikes fails.
The slick 52-second video entitled "Flames of War" shows militants blowing up tanks and images of wounded U.S. soldiers. It then shows 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."
The video's timing, released late Tuesday, suggested it was a response to Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that if the current Iraq strategy doesn't prevail, he may recommend the use of ground troops.
"To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president," Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He referred to the militants by an alternative name.
The video was released by the Islamic State group's Al Hayat media center and was portrayed as a trailer for a longer video to follow. The group operates a sophisticated propaganda machine with slick production techniques, using social media to broadcast a stream of battles, bombings and beheadings to a global audience.
The strategy is aimed at terrorizing opponents at home and winning recruits abroad. The group recently released three videos showing the beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker.