The Islamic State, not content with the enemies it has already made in its brutal crusade for a Middle Eastern caliphate, has released a new video with an all-too-familiar scenario. Once again presiding over hostages dressed in orange jumpsuits, a shrouded figure sent a message to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two hostages are said to be Japanese citizens Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa. According to the video, they will be murdered within 72 hours if Japan does not meet their demands: a $200 million ransom.
The sum does not appear to have come out of thin air. It is identical to the amount Abe promised to contribute to anti-ISIS humanitarian efforts in the region. The Japanese Prime Minister was in the Middle East when the video hit the internet, promising support for the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. Japan’s constitution forbids using the military for purposes other than direct self-defense, however, so Japan has not been a participant in the airstrikes against ISIS.
“Although you are more than 8,500 kilometers away from the Islamic State, you willingly volunteered to take part in this crusade,” the ISIS member says in the video.
Responding to the threat, Abe told reporters in Jerusalem that the world needed to “deal with terrorists without giving into them.” However, he did not go as far as to rule out negotiating for the release of the captives.
The video comes at a time when every other day brings bad news from the Islamic terrorist front. Charlie Hebdo, the Paris market situation, the violent Muslim protests against “Je Suis Charlie,” the CentCom hack, the foiled plot against the Capitol…many Americans and other Westerners are holding their breath, simply waiting for the next shoe to drop. Is all of this leading up to the next major attack on U.S. soil? Or is this just the new normal, where we can expect to see terrorists kill a few Westerners every couple of weeks for the foreseeable future?
Either way, the time has come to get real about this growing threat. The bold visibility of ISIS has given the world’s fledgling terrorists another strong icon to rally around. Their slick social media campaign has made up for the loss of Osama Bin Laden, and their goal of establishing an enormous theocracy in the Middle East has inspired even some Westerners to join their cause. This is not a threat that is just going to wither up and float away given enough time. It is not a threat that can be defeated with halfhearted air strikes.
“Intelligence and military force alone,” Obama has said, “is not going to solve this problem.” No, he absolutely right. But trying to fight it without using the full force of our intelligence and military is not going to solve it, either. At every turn, he has sent the message to terrorists that he is not going to turn America’s blinding, missile-fueled eye toward them.
Thus, they have every encouragement to go forward with their plans.