Fresh doubt has been thrown on the narrative behind the James Foley beheading video after a Syrian government spokesperson claimed that the American journalist was killed by ISIS militants a year ago.
Following the release of a video last week which purported to show the murder of Foley, top forensic experts concluded that the footage was staged using “camera trickery and slick post-production techniques,” concurring with Infowars’ analysis that the video was highly dubious given that it was immediately used as justification for military strikes on Syria.
Official Syrian government spokesperson Bouthaina Shaaban has now complicated matters further by asserting that Foley was in fact murdered by Islamic State militants a year ago.
“James Foley was first arrested by the Free Syrian Army and he was sold to ISIS [an earlier name for the IS]. You can check with the UNâ€¦James Foley was killed a year ago, not now, they only released the pictures now, but he was killed a year ago. We have definite information, the UN has the information,” said Shaaban.
The claim contradicts the narrative that Foley’s family received a letter on August 12 from ISIS militants threatening to execute the journalist if Barack Obama gave the green light for air strikes on Islamic State militants in Iraq.
The Foley beheading video has been used as a poster child for accomplishing what Washington failed to do in the aftermath of last year’s chemical weapons attack in Ghouta – build a consensus for a military assault on Syria. Officials and lawmakers have cited the video as providing a “new context” which legitimizes an expansion of U.S. military activity in the middle east.
Although the air strikes will ostensibly target ISIS fighters and not Syrian government positions, Assad has repeatedly asserted that any U.S. military action in Syria will be seen as an act of war, threatening to enflame the entire region.
According to reports today, Obama has ordered US spy planes to start patrolling the country with a view to launching a military assault, “a step that would plunge the U.S. into a country already ravaged by an intractable civil war,” reports the Daily Mail.