This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Jihadi Functionaries For Profit

"They're been online, they've seen things, they've stepped up their game."
"I think these guys are common thugs, there's nothing Islamist about it."
Zachary Abuza, National War College expert

"We're being ransomed for each for one billion pesos."
"I appeal to the Canadian prime minister and the people of Canada, please pay this ransom as soon as possible or our lives are in great danger."
John Ridsdel, abducted Canadian national

"I'm a Canadian citizen. I'm being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf for one billion pesos."
"These people are serious and very treacherous. Take them seriously. Help us, get us out of here."
Robert Hall, abducted Canadian national
An image released of the reported hostages.
The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group released a video demanding over $100-million for the release of four hostages kidnapped from a resort in the southern Philippines in September. SITE Intelligence Group

The video released by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists show the two Canadians, Robert Hall and John Dissel, along with Marties Flor, Hall's girlfriend and Norwegian Kajartan Sekkingstad, all of whom had been taken off their boats moored on the resort dock where they were vacationing, in a lightning night-time raid. The two Canadian men live in the Philippines because they like the relaxed lifestyle and enjoy their lives there. Or at least they did, until they became the object of a ransom effort.

Like all Muslim criminal gangs, it has become fashionable to state their alliance with Islamic State, to give themselves an air of jihadist gravitas, and the Abu Sayyaf group operating in the Philippines is no different. Many Islamist groups throughout Asia and Africa depend on ransoms to support their activities, as long as they happen to abduct nationals of certain countries known to respond to blackmail in rescue of those holding their passports. Canada is not one of them.

The video, released on Tuesday, with threats that the four hostages would be killed without a ransom, was in the hands of the SITE Intelligence Group. Black-clad men with an ISIS flag in background evidence, stand around the hostages, one of whom appears to be threatening first Robert Hall, then John Ridsdel, with a long knife, as though in preparation for a beheading. Stage-managing these videos is serious business for the jihadists.

A masked gunman appearing behind the two Canadians stated "they will be killed by Abu Sayyaf", should the demanded ransom not be received. The National War College expert on southeast Asian politics and security has his doubts whether the group really is affiliated with ISIL. He classifies them simply as a criminal Islamist gang finding the ISIL imagery useful in their game of profiteering from abductions of westerners.

The Abu Sayyaf group appears on the list of terrorist entities held by Public Safety Canada which acknowledges that the armed Islamist group is primarily interested in using the fear of terrorism for profit, engaged in kidnap-for-ransom as a "particularly favoured tactic". Needless to say, irregardless of whether or not the group really is associated with ISIL, the lives of the four people will be forfeit if ransom is not received.

"Canadian officials are in close contact with Filipino authorities and have been pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information", advised Nicolas Doire, a spokesman with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs in response to the video's release.

It is not only the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as a terrorist group that is capable of atrocities. Realistically speaking, even some Islamist regimes routinely mete out atrocities as capital punishment through hanging, beheading, crucifixion, beating and applying the concept of an 'eye-for-an-eye', gouging out eyes, lopping off arms, hands, legs in state punishment for crimes that Sharia law enumerates. Saudi Arabia and Iran particularly come to mind.

Islamic State jihadis behead Kurdish fighters in a new gruesome revenge video (Photo: video screenshot)
Islamic State jihadis behead Kurdish fighters in a new gruesome revenge video (Photo: video screenshot)

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