Jordan agreed on Wednesday to a demanded trade by IS, the release of a female jihadist in exchange a pilot captured in Syria. Not everyone is able to go home, as Japanese journalist may still be hostage. The group IS, meaning Islamic State, was formerly known as ISIS.
The debate in Washington continues as to whether or not the U.S. has properly allowed for negotiation with IS. State department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki was asked about the Jordanian predicament, she responded every country has the right to make their own decision, but the U.S. does not make concessions to terrorists.
Last year the U.S. received Sgt. Bergdahl in exchange for giving the Taliban five Guantanamo prisoners. Eric Shultz, White House spokesman, differentiated the Taliban from Islamic State by saying the Taliban are an “armed insurgency” but IS are a “terrorist group.”
The trade between the Islamic State and Jordan was negotiated after the Jordanian’s parents pleaded that for the release of their son, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, in exchange for the release of jihadist woman, who was arrested for a failed or foiled suicide bomb attack in 2005.
If the trade goes well that still leaves Japanese journalist Kenji Goto in harm’s way. Japanese foreign prime minister added that the situation was harsh. The pilot’s deadline for execution was less time. The Japanese foreign prime minister declared that Japan will never give up until the journalist, Goto, is home.
The IS threats were regarded as “despicable” by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and that Tokyo would not fall victim to terrorism. State department spokeswoman, Psaki said something similar, a trade between the U.S. and IS would be considered a concession to terrorists; she previously stated that there will be no concessions between the U.S. and terrorists.
Tokyo’s efforts have been on focused on Amman in effort to free the journalist. The voice on the video sent out said that the pilot had 24 hours to live unless the jihadist woman, Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, was released.
The deal, while unlikely, could include the Japanese reporter as well as the Jordanian pilot. Jordan still does not have any proof that Kaseasbeh is alive.
Originally, the Islamic State demanded $200 million from Tokyo for the freedom of the two hostages from Japan. When the demand was not met IS killed one of the hostages to display their cruelty. IS killed Goto’s assistant, Haruna Yukawa and put the execution online in a video. After IS killed Yukawa, the group demanded instead of money, they wanted Rishawi to be freed.
Before anything happened, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe realized when he was in the area of IS where refugees were out of place due to the war, he announced the government would donate $200 million to the assist the refugees. From the view of IS, this was taken as an act of Japan supporting Islamic State’s enemy. Islamic State captured Goto and Yukawa, and demanded $200 million. The same amount as Japan was going to give in assistance to the refugees.
Whichever way this turns out Goto does not want to be the start of a war as he is a pacifist. Goto reportedly went to rescue his assistant, Yukawa, but in the process was caught himself. Goto said in a video he recorded before he left to Syria, he would take full responsibility for anything that happens, in order to tell the tragic story of the Syrian refugees.
To look on the bright side, Goto may already be out as he said in a video for the exchange of Riswahi, at least one of them would be freed. It is unlikely though that IS would give up two pieces of leverage at the same time.
By Jacob Dowd
The Daily Beast
Photo by Takver – License