BBC Just Used the Islamic State’s Website as a Source. But Why?

Iraq (GPA) – Jets carrying out air strikes missed an Islamic State target and instead hit residential buildings. Dozens of people including women and children are assumed to have been killed.

Witnesses believe the strike was aiming for a Mosque frequently used by IS as a headquarters, but missed and instead hit residential buildings. It is likely that the strike came from the Iraqi Air Force (who are supported by the United States coalition). But it cannot yet be confirmed who is responsible.

What is interesting though is that BBC used the Islamic State’s news agency– Amaq– as a legitimate first-hand source. In fact, they even used a screenshot from a video on the group’s website. Here’s a screenshot from the BBC article:

BBC Screenshot, via Geopolitics Alert

BBC Screenshot, via Geopolitics Alert


Is Western media giving ISIS a legitimate voice? Kind of, but not exactly. What’s strange is that this means Western media is slowly turning against the Iraqi military. For one thing, they are using a terrorist group as a source– who just so happen to oppose the Iraqi army. But they are also giving a voice to an Iraqi MP who says this is not the first time the Iraqi Air Force has mistakenly bombed civilians.

“We demand the government establish an investigation commission to find out who is behind these repeated accidents of killing civilians, lately in al-Qaim city. To repeat the mistakes of bombing civilians is to distort the reputation of our troops,” said Mohammed al-Karbouli, an Iraqi member of parliament in a Facebook post. This statement (although not directly quoted) was also used in the BBC article. So either the Iraqi Air Force keeps mistakenly bombing civilians, or they’re being set up.

By Kamal taybi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

So what’s going on? The Iraqi military have recently been integrating Shi’a militias into their ranks. In fact, the Iraqi parliament legalized Shi’a militias only just last week. The Iraqi Prime Minster, Haider al-Abadi, is Shi’a himself. And the Shi’a militias have proven themselves useful for helping to eliminate IS. All of this of course doesn’t sit well with Washington– and their allies. Assuming that Baghdad might start further cooperation with their Shi’a neighbor: Iran. In fact, the Turkish-run agency, Hurriyet Daily, ran an article just last week with that exact title, “US concerned over Shiite militia joining Iraqi army” Or as Breitbart sees it: a “direct violation” to a promise made to Turkey.

Jumping to conclusions at this point is worthless, but it is likely we will see Washington shift away from support for Iraq if these actions continue. At the extreme, we could see Washington intervene in Iraq’s structure entirely– especially as western-backed rebels loose ground to government forces in neighboring Syria. Or we might just see the west continue on a path towards demonizing Iraq.


This report prepared by Randi Nord for Geopolitics Alert.