A Turning Point In The War Against ISIS?
Days after ISIS released footage of the beheading of a Japanese hostage, the Islamic terrorist group offered a lengthy video of the execution of First Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot burned alive as he was trapped in a cage.
The video is different from previous tapes in that it is slickly-produced with cut-aways and music playing in the background. In addition, it is longer than most other propaganda pieces ISIS has used.
The Jordanian government responded quickly. Army spokesman Colonel Mamdouh al Ameri said in a televised statement that his nation’s “revenge will be as big as the calamity that has hit Jordan,” reported Reuters.
In a statement released by the White House, the administration promised “undeterred resolve,” but has not provided any details on what change in policy or tactics would be made.
The question which may answered in the coming days is whether al Ameri’s execution marks a turning point, one which will cause a revolt among Arab and Muslim nations.
“I do think that this has the potential to backfire on them in the region,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.
Kirby’s view was shared by Edward Gnehm, a former U.S. ambassador to Jordan, who told USA Today that “the reaction in Jordan is going to be overwhelmingly bitter, angry and demanding action.”
“The aim of the latest killing is to force a wedge between King Abdullah II of Jordan and the Bedouin tribes who traditionally support him. There have been small elements within them, especially in the south, that have drifted towards the ideology of Salafism, the Islamo-fascist creed of al Qaeda and IS,” writes Sam Kiley of Sky News.
He continues: “Some Jordanians are dismayed at their country’s involvement in fighting IS in Syria and Iraq. The hostage killers want these people to blame their kind for his death. But this is a gamble. Bedouin tribes have already been fighting IS in Syria. And now the large Kasasbeh clans are locked in a blood feud.”
What is needed now is a strong and aggressive response from the regional actors, writes Aaron David Miller in The Wall Street Journal.
“Regional ownership in the fight is critical to limiting its expansion. And this fight needs to be joined by Sunnis in an effort to delegitimize the extremists and expose the group for what it is: a corruption and perversion of Islam. The key question now is what other Arab and Muslim states say and do–and whether Lt. Kasasbeh’s murder inspires them into a more sustained effort in terms of military participation or through educational and political efforts against ISIS and radical Islam. It’s fine for the White House to convene a summit on countering violence and extremism. But every Arab and Muslim country needs to do the same,” he contends.