Just this weekend, following the collapse of negotiations between Jordan and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria over the return of a fighter pilot captured after his plane went down in Syria, the Hashemite Kingdom pledged to do all within its power to rescue their captive citizen. According to a video released on Tuesday, their time ran out.
In a barbaric video that will not be featured here, ISIS has taken its grotesque cruelty to a new level. A video purportedly featuring Moaz al-Kassasbeh, the pilot who was taken prisoner by ISIS in late December, is shown being burned alive.
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) February 3, 2015
The footage, which is titled ‘Healing the Believers Chests’ appears to show the captured airman wearing an orange jumpsuit as a trail of petrol leading up to the cage is seen being set alight.
Flames are seen quickly spreading to the cage where they engulf the helpless pilot.
Shortly after this video was released, Jordan confirmed that they believed Kassasbeh had been executed. It remains unclear, however, when this footage was taken. During failed hostage negotiations, Jordan repeatedly requested proof from ISIS that the captive pilot was alive — proof that ISIS failed to provide. Jordanian state television has reportedly broadcast allegations that this video was taken one month ago, well before the two parties engaged in bilateral negotiations.
This news comes just days after ISIS executed a second Japanese hostage by beheading. The status of that hostage, Kenji Goto, was also the subject of negotiations between ISIS and Jordan before those discussions collapsed.
Jordan has promised to execute every ISIS prisoner in its custody if any harm came to their captured pilot. What’s more, the kingdom promised to fast-track the execution of Sajida al-Rishawi, a female suicide bomber on death row for her role in a series of 2005 attacks on Jordanian hotels, whose release ISIS previously demanded.
According to a report, the kingdom is prepared to follow through with this threat. The nation has reportedly transferred all its prisoners to death row in preparation to retaliate for this atrocity.
“Jordan’s participation in the air strikes is unpopular in the kingdom and the pilot is seen by some as the victim of a war they feel should not involve the country,” The Daily Mail reported. “Lt Kaseasbeh’s relatives have expressed such views and accused the government of bungling efforts to win his freedom.”
This horror will surely merit a response, and the Jordanian government has made threats with which it will likely have to follow through. It remains to be seen, however, whether the people of this Arab nation continue to believe that the struggle against ISIS’s barbarism is worth the cost.
UPDATE: Jordan appears to be prepared to retaliate:
Jordanian King will cut short visit to USA. Unconfirmed sources says Jordan will execute 5 Qaeda operatives, within hours. VIA @RandaHabib
— Carlos Rayon (@carlosrayon) February 3, 2015