Once again ISIS surprised their direct and indirect audience with their latest video of Jordanian First Lieutenant Moaz AL-KASASBEH being burned alive in a cage.
The video is a perfect example of how terrorist brands increase their reputation due to the malevolent creativity of the action. We have seen the establishment of the islamic state, borders being torn down, mass executions, crucifixions, numerous beheadings, throwing homosexuals from buildings, to name only a few, it was time to offer something the audience has not seen yet.
Foxnews.com showed the 22 minute long unedited version of the video. A counter-terrorism analyst summed up the aesthetics of the latest video release in a private message:
Examined from a purely analytical standpoint, with only one fatality, torching the Jordanian pilot is a very cost-effective and impactful branding event. What terror brand is more notorious right now? Boko Haram seems to be off the radar and the 144 school children shot by the Taliban in December 2014 are long forgotten. ISIS is the king of notoriety.
But, can a terror act be too lethal and therefore detrimental to the reputation of the brand? Can ISIS do something to tarnish their image in the (Arab) world?
According to analyst Matthew LEVITT, it can and the latest release marks the beginning of the end for ISIS:
I would not be too sure about this at this point it time. Let us remember November 2005, when ISIS was operating under the name Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The media strategist of Al-Qaeda (central), wrote a 7 page letter to the astonishingly cruel Musab AL-ZARQAWI, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, critizising him for damaging the image of Al-Qaeda (central) in the Arab world by unnecessary slaughtering fellow Muslims.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq did not listen to the advice of Al-Qaeda (central) and continued doing what they did and later became to be know as ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh or however you chose to call them.
The right question to ask would be: what atrocity have we not seen yet?