Jordan responds by announcing execution of jihadist prisoners

As responses to terrorism go, this one communicates commitment. After ISIS released video of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kassasbe’s murder by immolation — which apparently happened weeks ago — the kingdom of Jordan has announced that all jihadist prisoners will be executed as soon as possible, beginning at dawn tomorrow with the woman ISIS wanted released:

Jordan will execute Wednesday an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber on death row and other jihadists after having vowed to avenge the murder of a Jordanian pilot by Islamic State jihadists, an official said.

“The sentence of death pending on… Iraqi Sajida al-Rishawi will be carried out at dawn,” the security official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Rishawi, the would-be bomber, was condemned to death for her participation in deadly attacks in Amman in 2005, and IS had offered to spare the life of the Jordanian fighter pilot, Lieutenant Maaz al-Kassasbeh, if she were released.

“The death sentence will be carried out on a group of jihadists, starting with Rishawi, as well as Iraqi Al-Qaeda operative Ziad Karbuli and others who attacked Jordan’s interests,” the security source said.

“Jordan’s response will be earth-shattering,” Information Minister Mohammed Momani said earlier on television, while the army and government vowed to avenge the pilot’s murder.

In fact, King Abdullah II has cut short his visit to the US to get back home, presumably to be present for the executions. A group of US Senators expressed their condolences and solidarity with Abdullah at a meeting this morning just after the news broke:

Obama called this “one more indication of the viciousness and the barbarity of this organization”:

“Whatever ideology they’re operating off of?” It’s not obvious by now?

Rishawi, the widow of a former associate to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will be the first of a half-dozen terrorists to be executed immediately, the Daily Mail reports. The executions come after the recent restoration of the death penalty following a moratorium, but one suspects that even if the moratorium was still in place for civil jurisprudence, it would not have been a hurdle to this angry reaction from Jordan.

The response will be harsh and immediate, but will it have much impact? ISIS fighters assume they’ll get killed in jihad anyway, and the prisoners being held by Jordan now might have more value dead to Baghdadi than alive. On the other hand, Baghdadi has already started killing fighters who retreat, which seems like an indicator of poor morale, and the fact that Jordan was willing to deal on prisoner exchanges might have some of the rank and file wondering whether they’d just be better off sneaking off into the darkness.