Latest hostage video shows IS ‘fears isolation and attack

The newest footage, for once devoid of graphic savagery, shows the terrorist group is trying to rebrand itself as a ‘reasonable’ organization with which the West can negotiate

A dramatic change of tone in the latest hostage video released by the Islamic State has convinced experts that the jihadist group is isolated and fearful of a US assault.

Where three previous clips ended with a masked militant slitting the throat of a kneeling hostage, the new release Thursday — a teaser trailer for a promised series of documentaries — takes a different tack.

The hostage, British photojournalist John Cantlie, sits behind a desk and in a measured tone makes the case for Western powers to drop the threat of military intervention against his captors.

He admits he is speaking as a prisoner and that he may yet follow his former cellmates to the grave, but urges viewers to tune in to a series of films that will reveal another side of the Islamic State group, which has rampaged across large areas of Iraq and Syria.

The video shares the polished production values of its predecessors but none of the blood-soaked savagery, a telling detail for analysts.

Professor Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London, said the militants had provoked a backlash.

“They were so brutal and made it so easy for Western governments to portray their enemy as completely barbaric people that need to be destroyed,” he told AFP.

“And now they are doing the exact opposite. Now they are saying: ‘We are reasonable people, if Western governments would just talk to us, then everything could be resolved quite easily.’”