The letter ISIS’ men (men?) sent to Foley’s family one week before his execution is an ideological and political summary that carries a declaration of war right on us. In that letter there is the whole story of the Islamic terrorism, and its current renovation: from the loathing for the Western society in the style of the Muslim Brotherhood, to Bin Laden’s eschatological threat, to the typical hysteria of ISIS’ communication.
Throughout its paragraphs, ISIS choses its usual path: the mass murder prescribed by an uncontrollable anger, a nervous breakdown, an ecstatic state in which it cries out: “We will not stop until we quench our thirst for your blood”. When it describes Islam’s good reasons against the West, ISIS is proficient in English (John the executioner and the prisoners’ jailers are British, after all); but then it goes beyond all limits, and shows in its writing the same head-cutting, dismembering fury of the videos where it is pleased to display hundreds of summary executions, more and more blood.
Referring to the prisoners, the threatening letter says, in a perfect jihadist style: “They entered the lions’ den, and were eaten”, the men with the black flag are the kings of the forest, the others are just miserable minions of the Americans. The first assumption is this: ISIS’ war identifies the US as its main enemy, both in memory of Bush’s war (“your disgraceful defeat in Iraq”) and because, in this way, ISIS is looking for the understanding of those who share that anti-American prejudice, de facto interwoven with hatred against ourselves.
The American people and Foley’s parents are identified with the “foolish servants” of imperialism who are unable to oppose the aggressive policy of the West against the poor and oppressed Muslim world. This is an easy lie to tell: just think that the Ottoman empire lasted 623 years, and that Islam conquered the Middle East first and then Sicily, Spain and part of France…
Why did ISIS write the letter? First of all, it was still trying to get those 150 million dollars that the American government denied and that the poor Foley’s family was trying to gather. Going for Foley’s family with homicidal threats, ISIS was trying to push them to look harder for money, knowing that otherwise their son’s blood would have been “drunk”, as, afterwards, the blood of all the Americans. The second reason is to intimidate: fear is the most effective weapon of terrorism, through which it can tear down a society, lead to a capitulation, destroy the world as we know it.
ISIS is trying to induce the enemy to run away before engaging in battle. The exaltation of this technique is typical of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sunnis, of Al Qaeda, of the Iranian Shiites, and of Hezbollah; in ISIS’ case this is brought to an extreme, and videos as “Saleel Al Sawarin”, or Foley’s beheading, show crucifixions, dismemberments and hand cuttings. The letter repeats that the terrorist threat is directed to men, women, elderly and children, and the war that it is announcing is the same as 9/11.
But also Daniel Pearl was beheaded in 2002, when Bin Laden was in a tight spot. ISIS is afraid of the American bombs on the “Islamic State”: after all, it was with the US’ help that Kurdish Peshmerga forces recaptured Mosul’s dam. There is fear in Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi’s shouting. And when there is fear, there is a window of opportunity to be opened wide, without indulging in etiquette. Let us listen to them, let us do it as we never did with Khomeini, Bin Laden, Mashaal, or Nasrallah, who filled up the world with terrorist attacks.