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John Cantlie: British hostage warns US to be wary of another Vietnam in second propaganda video

Latest video from Isis militants show captured British citizen John Cantlie warning America as they launch first round of air strikes into Syria

William Maclean
Tuesday 23 September 2014 16:44 BST
John Cantlie, in the video the photojournalist speaks directly to the camera with no one else present – in contrast to previous videos released by the group
John Cantlie, in the video the photojournalist speaks directly to the camera with no one else present – in contrast to previous videos released by the group

Isis militants fighting in Iraq and Syria have released a second propaganda video of British hostage John Cantlie, in which he says US-led attacks on the militant group could lead to another Vietnam.

The five-minute video, which appears to show Mr Cantlie being forced to read from a pre-prepared script under duress, was released as the US and its Arab coalition partners, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar, launched air strikes on Isis targets in Syria.

Isis, also known as the Islamic State, controls swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and has already executed two US journalists and one British aid worker in recent weeks in what it said was reprisal for US air strikes against it in Iraq.

The man identified as Mr Cantlie suggests President Barack Obama, long careful to avoid the sort of conflicts his predecessor George Bush pursued, was being sucked into a war he could not win, SITE reported.

"The president once called George Bush's Iraq conflict a "dumb war," and couldn't wait to distance America from it when he came into power. Now he's being inextricably drawn back in," the man claiming to be Mr Cantlie says.

The man, wearing an orange shirt and his hair closely cropped, describes Isis as the "most powerful jihadist movement seen in recent history", adding it could not be seriously harmed by US politicians calling it "awful" or "vile".

The video appeared to have been recorded before strikes overnight launched by US warplanes and partners on Isis targets in Syria.

The United States has been building a coalition to combat Isis, a hardline Sunni Muslim force that has seized large expanses of territory in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate erasing borders in the heart of the Middle East.

The United States resumed air strikes in neighbouring Iraq in August for the first time since the pull out of US troops in 2011.

Using a term for holy warriors, the man identified as Mr Cantlie said: "Not since Vietnam have we witnessed such a potential mess in the making. Current estimates of 15,000 troops needed to fight the Islamic State are laughably low. The State has more mujahideen than this.

"This is not some undisciplined outfit with a few Kalashnikovs."

The man said the new Iraqi government, an ally of Shia Muslim power Iran, was waiting eagerly for US intervention to strengthen Iranian influence in the Middle East.

While a strong opponent of Isis, which sees Shia as infidels, Iran has sent mixed signals about its willingness to cooperate with the United States on defeating the militants.

In public, both Washington and Tehran have ruled out cooperating militarily on Isis. But in private, Iranian officials have voiced a willingness to work with Washington on Isis, though not necessarily on the battlefield.


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