The bearded terrorist preaches fervently, his AK-47 next to him, but it’s difficult to understand him—because of his thick Australian accent. Underneath, the caption informs you that “Brother Abu Yahya ash Shami . . . received shahadah [martyrdom] fighting the sahwat in Al-Kayr.”“Brother Abu” appears in a new recruiting video posted on YouTube by the Islamic States of Iraq and Sham (Syria), or ISIS. The 13-minute video, entitled “There is No Life Without Jihad”, features three young men (one British and two Australian) preaching jihad in a language and slang that Westerners can understand:
“Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you’ve got, the big car you’ve got, and the family you have? . . . To all my brothers living in the West, I know how you feel. When I used to live there, in the heart you feel depressed . . . and the cure for the depression is jihad.”
And the scope of their ambitions is global:
“We understand no borders. We have participated in battles in Sham [Syria], and we will go to Iraq in a few days . . . and we will even go to Jordan and Lebanon, with no problems. . . . Throw us at your enemies, wherever they may be.”
ISIS believes it represents an emerging, global caliphate, and seeks to undermine and ultimately destroy the post-Westphalian order of nation-states. As its threats against Jordan make clear, it has every intention of expanding the regional war.ISIS is all the more problematic given the international scope of the terrorism bred by the Syrian civil war. Its fighters “have brothers from Bangladesh, from Iraq, from Cambodia, Australia, UK, “says one of the men on the video.There are about 3,000 western passport-holders fighting as jihadis in Syria and now in Iraq. U.S. intelligence services say they cannot keep track of these men over there. The Australian in the video chose to seek his martyrdom in the Fertile Crescent. What happens if his comrades decide to come home instead?The Western public may not be interested in war in the Middle East. But as this video makes clear, the war in the Middle East is very interested in it.