MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - It is possible that the Islamic State could use the beheading of a Scottish aid worker by an allegedly English militant to deepen the rift in England-Scotland relations ahead of the Scottish referendum, Dr Allen Sens, international relations expert from the University of British Columbia, told RIA Novosti Thursday.
“I believe this might be a possibility. It is consistent with the use of beheadings for broader political purposes by [IS], which include intimidation, provocation, and the use of fear,” Dr Sens said.
However, as it often happens in these situations, such efforts could backfire, Sens believes. “Although Haines’ execution does not appear to have had an effect on the Scottish vote (at least I have not seen one), such actions can cause people to unite in the face of an external threat.”
His colleague, Dr Allan Craigie, agreed, stating that if the Islamic State was indeed trying to divide Scots and Englishmen, their tactics were likely to have the opposite effect.
“If [IS] is really attempting to drive a wedge between the English and Scottish, attacking a British citizen, regardless if they are English or Scottish, would most likely backfire, even if some Scottish elites try and present Cameron as weak and unable to meet the threat of [IS],” he told RIA Novosti.
“If you look at the history of the British Iles, foreign threats pull it together, not pull it apart,” Craigie said.
Earlier this month, British intelligence analyst and professor Anthony Glees said that he was convinced that IS used the opportunity to fuel anti-English sentiment among Scottish voters ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independence by beheading David Haines, 44, a Scottish aid worker.
The radical group released a video, showing Haines' murder by an IS militant nicknamed “Jihadi John”, who speaks in what is believed to be a London accent.