Jordan has hanged two imprisoned ISIS member after the murder of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. King Abdullah II ordered the executions in route from America where he was meeting with President Obama. The meeting confederated Jordan, along with other countries fighting against ISIS and their violence in Operation Inherent Resolve. The hangings elicited cheers and not protests for the King. In fact, the country promises even more retribution. On Thursday, Jordanian airplanes carried out airstrikes, with the promise of more “relentless” vengeance. The kingdom is even considering using ground troops, something they have not done since the 1973 Yom Kippur War against Israel.
Pilot al-Kasasbeh was captured after crashing his F-16 jet over Syria during airstrikes as part of the joint military action. He was shot down in December and held prisoner until his death. While detained, al-Kasabeh was doused with a flame-accelerant and set on fire. Armed ISIS members, clothed in uniforms that resembled those worn by US soldiers stood around and watched. His father, Safi Youssef al-Kasasbeh, has championed calls for even bigger retaliation than the hangings.
Jordan executed two ISIS members that were already on death row, along with 100 other Jordanian prisoners. Iraqi Sajadi al-Rashawi attempted to blow herself up in a 2005 terrorist attack, but her vest failed to deploy. Iraqi Ziad al-Karbouli, an Al-Qaeda operative close to its deceased leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was imprisoned for killing a Jordanian citizens through terrorism.
While the beheading of two Japanese citizens shocked and saddened the world, the practice of beheading prisoners is not uncommon in Islam. Not surprisingly, the immolation of Jordan’s fighter pilot has made ISIS few allies. According to the New York Times, Syrian government leaders along with Qaeda fighters and the Muslim Brotherhood denounced the action. The Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb stated emphatically that the group member should “be killed, or crucified, or their hands and legs cut off.” ISIS’s response was to use the Quran to defend their actions. However the Quran states that no one outside of the Almighty himself may use fire as a way to punish offenders. In fact, specific verses in that tome expressly forbids the burning or mutilation of enemies during war.
This act against the Kingdom of Jordan may stem the tide of Jordanians crossing the border to join ISIS. Although Jordan harbored 1.3 million Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS, there were reports that they had been rethinking the decision to join airstrikes against ISIS. Reports conclude that the execution of the pilot has strengthened their resolve and buoyed other countries to stay the course. Operation Inherent Resolve uses military airstrikes in Syria and Iraq to combat ISIS. Japan gave financial help to further the cause but according to the BBC News, that is the reason why their hostages were taken. Although a prisoner exchange between Japan and ISIS was in the works, Al-Kasasbeh was likely already dead. Some critics in Japan blame Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declaring that it was reckless for pacifist Japan to join the confederacy of countries against ISIS.
On the other hand, King Abdullah received adulation and praise for the executing the two on behalf of the country. More than 60 different countries, 39 in Europe, four in Asia, and 12 in Africa and the Middle East, have vowed to “degrade and defeat” ISIS.
By Danielle Branch
Channel News Asia
Image by Caleb Smith – Licence