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Yes, it’s propaganda.
The trailer for “Flames of War,” which was released by the Islamic State’s propaganda arm, Al Hayat Media Center, runs less than a minute, but it packs in a lot of explosions and jabs at the West, complete with slow motion and special effects.
The trailer glorifies Islamic State, whose fighters are seen marching confidently with their rifles up; and demeans Western soldiers, who are seen running away and loading bodies onto helicopters. A haunting chant plays in the background.
Halfway through the trailer, the footage switches from battlefield action to political drama. Flashes of imagery convey the group’s disdain for America: a group of dignitaries and soldiers walking through the desert; President George W. Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished’ banner; President Obama saying during his recent address to the nation that “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq; and the south face of the White House at night.
At the end of the video, something explodes and debris begins burning, as the title card shows the name “Flames of War,” the subtitle “Fighting Has Just Begun,” and the promise “coming soon.”
Screengrab via YouTube
Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.