Freelance Journalist Second American Murdered
Journalist Steven Sotloff had been held captive by Islamic State militants since August 2013. On Tuesday ISIS released a video showing Sotloff being murdered. Addressing U.S. President Barack Obama, these according to Islamic State’s latest video, are his last words: “Your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for the preservation of American lives and interests. So why is it that I am having to pay the price of your interference with my life?”
The video then purports to show Sotloff’s beheading… and another message for the White House.
The murder came a week after Steven Sotloff’s mother released a video begging for her son’s life. It appears that the pleas of a mother have no impact on the actions of ISIS.
“You, Obama, have yet again, through your actions, killed yet another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”
Moments later there’s a warning that another captive, British national David Haines could meet the same fate as the other two murdered individuals.
United States Condemns Murder of Hostages
The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday (September 2) that is was “sickened” by an online video that purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff who has been held hostage, adding that the intelligence community is working to authenticate the video. The Islamic State militant group released a video purporting to show the beheading of U.S. hostage Steven Sotloff, the SITE monitoring service reported on Tuesday. A masked figure in the video also issued a threat against a British hostage, a man the group named as David Haines, and warned governments to back off “this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State”, the monitoring service said.
Sotloff, a freelance journalist, was kidnapped in Syria in August 2013. Sotloff’s mother Shirley appealed on August 27 in a videotaped message to Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for her son’s release.
President Obama Moves to Protect Americans in Iraq
President Obama has authorized the Department of Defense to fulfill a Department of State request for approximately 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, Iraq. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President’s commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These additional forces will not serve in a combat role.
The President has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for U.S. personnel and facilities around the world. The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad.
In addition to our efforts to protect our personnel, we will continue to support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to counter ISIL, which poses a threat not only to Iraq, but to the broader Middle East and U.S. personnel and interests in the region. The President will be consulting this week with NATO allies regarding additional actions to take against ISIL and to develop a broad-based international coalition to implement a comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners in the fight against ISIL. As part of this effort, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, and President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco, will be traveling separately to the region in the near-term to build a stronger regional partnership.