By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~
The Islamic State militant group called ISIS released a video on Nov. 16 showing the beheading
of a dozen Syrian soldiers as well as the beheading of 26-yearold American Peter Kassig, also known by his Islamic convert name Abdul-Rahman.
Kassig was an aid worker in Lebanon and Syria and was captured in October 2013. He was also a former U.S. Army Ranger.
The video is one of four in a series that has been released since August 2014. The prior videos, which have been released periodically, featured the beheadings of British natives David Haines and Alan Henning as well as Americans James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff.
The nearly 16 minute-long propaganda video shows a history of the Islamic State and ends with Kassig’s beheading by a Jihadist man, believed to be the executioner in the videos. The man has been nicknamed “Jihadi John.” In the videos prior to Kassig’s, the men were beheaded on camera. Many who have watched the video are attempting to analyze why they changed the format.
“The most obvious difference is in the beheading itself — the previous videos all showed the beheading on camera,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization said. “I don’t think this was the Islamic State’s choice.
The likeliest possibility is that something went wrong when they were beheading him.” Analysts believe that the differences could have been that the extremists did not have as much time outside as they had to film previous videos due to increased aerial surveillance. Others believe that Kassig would not cooperate and would not allow them to stage the killing as planned.
President Obama responded to the video, calling Kassig’s death “an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity.”