Middle East (Sputnik) – Daesh released a 30-minute video pledging to wreak havoc in China to “avenge the oppressed” at a time when the brutal group that once ruled over a third of Iraq and Syria has been consistently loosing territory in the Middle East. The threat could help bring Washington and Beijing closer together, Igor Gashkov wrote for Sputnik.
The propaganda video is said to mark the first time that Daesh has issued a threat to China.
“Tense relations between Beijing and the Islamists have often escaped the attention of the media. However, for two decades China has stated that it has been a victim of terrorist attacks and lamented that its efforts aimed at fighting radical Islam have been underestimated,” Gashkov asserted.
The video was released by al-Furat Province, Daesh’s unit in western Iraq last week. The footage features the group’s Uyghur fighters and their children as they train, take part in battles and execute those accused of being informants. One of them pledged that Daesh “will spill rivers of blood to avenge the oppressed.”
The Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group living primarily in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, an area plagued by unrest that left hundreds of people killed. Beijing has blamed the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), formerly known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), for the deadly clashes and incidents not only in the region, but also in the capital and other cities.
The TIP has been active in Syria, particularly in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib and Latakia, but it has also been present in Iraq. One of the fighters filmed for Daesh’s video targeting China claims that some of the Uyghur militants in Iraq used to be TIP members.
According to estimates provided by Beijing in mid-2014, approximately 100 Chinese nationals were fighting along Daesh in Iraq and Syria. A 2016 study released by the New America think tank found that 118 Chinese have joined Daesh, with 97 percent of them hailing from Xinjiang.
The video could help China and Washington improve their strained relationship, Gashkov asserted.
“Daesh issued its threat to China at the right time. After engaging in tough rhetoric with regard to China, Washington has reaffirmed its readiness to promote bilateral relations. China and the United States do not have many shared interests, however, both countries view tackling international terrorism as an important objective,” he said.
This report prepared by Sputnik.