Jordan Expected to Intensify Its Campaign Against ISIS Following Pilot’s Execution

Arab world experts and commentators predict that the execution of the Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will prompt Jordan to intensify the activity of its military in the international coalition fighting the terror organization in Iraq and Syria.

The pilot, Moath Al-Kasasbeh, is the latest captive whose execution was announced by ISIS. Al-Kasasbeh was captured in December after his plane crashed in Syria during a bombing run against ISIS. ISIS posted a video showed him being burned alive in a metal cage.

Jordanian politician Amar al-Sbaile told the Al-Arab newspaper (Arabic link) that Jordan’s geographic location, adjoining both Syria and Iraq, requires it to be a key part of this alliance. In addition, Jordan contains the only logistics base that can service any strategy against the terrorist organizations in the region.

The Jordanian regime understands that ISIS’s goal is to expand its self-declared Islamic Caliphate into Jordanian territory. Therefore, senior regime officials believe that the death of the pilot would not dissuade Jordan from continuing to participate in the war on terror.

Jordanian political commentator Ureib Al-Rantawi suggested that the brutal execution of Al-Kasasbeh only unites all Jordanians and increases the popular support for the regime’s activities against ISIS. He said the Jordanian regime was aware of the possibility that this war is liable to cause human and material losses.

Therefore, analysts say, Jordan is expected to play a crucial role in the military coalition against ISIS in the near future. Former Jordanian foreign minister Marwan Muasher  said (Arabic link) that the frequency of air strikes and the exchange of intelligence information by Jordan is expected to be intensified.

Meanwhile, in response for to the killing of al-Kasasbeh, Jordan hanged Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman jihadist convicted for her role in a deadly terror attack in 2005 whose release had been demanded by ISIS. The Jordanian authorities also executed another senior al-Qaeda prisoner sentenced to death for plots to wage attacks against the pro-Western kingdom in the last decade.

Jordan’s King Abdullah vowed an “unrelenting” war against ISIS as demonstrators took to the streets with calls to avenge the pilot’s death. He said al-Kasasbeh had “died defending his religion and nation.” The pilot’s father, Safi Al-Kasasbeh, called for “revenge” and urged the U.S.-led coalition to carry out “painful strikes” against ISIS.

The killing was condemned across the Middle East. The Grand Imam of Egypt’s influential Al-Azhar mosque, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, described Islamic State as a “satanic terrorist group.”

[Photo: New York Daily News / YouTube ]