A video has surfaced which shows the Islamic State (IS) blaming President Obama for the alleged beheading of Steven Sotloff. In the video, the militant says he is back as an executioner due to Obama’s arrogance regarding foreign policy towards IS. The video of the alleged execution, which is similar to the one on the beheading of American journalist James Foley, is the reason why the U.S. State Department held a quick briefing. Bernadette Meehan, a National Security Council spokeswoman, said the “intelligence community” is quickly working on determining the authenticity of the video.
On Tuesday, reports of a video surfaced which may have originally been broadcasted from SITE Intelligence Group, or Search for International Terrorist Entities. In a report by International Business Times, Ellen Killoran stated SITE had published a video of the alleged execution after other media sites had refused to do so. The for-profit research organization is based out of Maryland and run by author and former government consultant on terrorism, Rita Katz.
The video is supposedly the beheading of Steven Sotloff, an American journalist held hostage in Syria since 2013, according to Reuters. It comes weeks after a threat was made in another video featuring what looks to be the same executioner of James Foley, another American journalist held hostage by IS. In the James Foley execution video, the IS militant had threatened to execute Sotloff if President Obama did not call off airstrikes happening in Iraq. The Obama Administration ignored the threat and proceeded to continue airstrikes in Iraq.
Reuters shared an edited video of Steven Sotloff through their YouTube account. The video shows a man in an orange jumpsuit claiming to be Steven Sotloff and saying he has a message to President Obama. Sotloff says he is paying the price of President Obama’s foreign policy, which is supposed to be for the “preservation” of American lives and interest. He questions American interest in fighting a costly war in Iraq, as well as criticizes presidents like Obama for saying they will be “bringing home our troops” from Iraq, and then do not. He says this is what Obama is doing as he nears the end of his presidential term.
The video goes on to show the Islamic State militant blaming President Obama for a possible beheading about to take place with Steven Sotloff. The executioner says he has returned due to Obama’s refusal to stop airstrikes in Iraq, namely near the Mosul Dam area. He continues to say that because Obama has chosen to continue airstrikes, IS has chosen to continue the killing of another American hostage. Towards the end of the edited video, IS can be heard threatening another hostage. This time it is British hostage, David Haines.
Another video posted by Reuters shows the State Dept. holding a briefing on the video which supposedly depicts the beheading of Sotloff. Bernadette Meehan tells reporters the State Dept. is aware of reports of a video claiming to be the “murder of U.S. citizen Steven Sotloff by ISIL,” or the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, which is another name for IS, as well as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Meehan continues to say the intelligence community will be investigating the authenticity of the video, and if it turns out to be “genuine,” they are sickened by the “brutal act taking the life of another innocent American citizen.” Meehan then offers condolences to Sotloff’s family.
Twitter lit up at one point with posts of how President Obama has been handling Islamic State militant groups in both Syria and Iraq. The President still has yet to respond to any inquiry. According to USA Today, he is on a four-day trip to Estonia and the United Kingdom to handle NATO issues. It is unclear how much President Obama knows about the surfacing of the video, or whether or not he is aware that IS blames him for the alleged beheading of Steven Sotloff.
Warning – Graphic Content
By Liz Pimentel