At dawn Wednesday, Feb. 4, Jordan executed the Iraqi woman terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi, who was offered to ISIS to save the life of the pilot Lt. Mu’ath al Kassasbeh, along with another al Qaeda terrorist Ziad Karbouli. Rishawi was caught during the 2005 attack on an Amman hotel when her bomb vest failed to detonate; Karbouli was jailed for plotting multi-casualty attacks. Since the Islamic State released the video showing the young pilot burned alive in a cage, Jordanian army and security forces have been on full-scale alert in case ISIS responds to the two executions by activating its many sleeper cells for strikes in Jordanian cities, including the capital Amman. The jihadist organization has a following among young Jordanians as well the large Iraqi, Palestinian and Syrian communities who have been given refuge in the Hashemite Kingdom.
debkafile’s counter-terrorism sources report that this latest turn of events has plunged King Abdullah and Al Qaeda’s ISIS into a deathly cycle of revenge, with the Islamic State predicted to launch a bloody campaign to destabilize the monarchy.
One outcome of this evil will be to bring ISIS right up to Israel’s eastern border, on the one hand, while, on the other, tightening security and intelligence cooperation between the two neighbors to safeguard the Hashemite throne.
Tuesday night, the Islamic State released a video showing Jordanian Royal Air Force pilot Lt. Mu’ath al Kassasbeh, aged 27, being burned alive in a cage. This was a gruesome departure designed for Arab enemies – from the barbaric beheadings practiced by the jihadi terrorists till now. The young pilot was captured by ISIS when his plane crashed over Syria on December 24. Jordan agreed to free a female Al Qaeda suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, who was under sentence of death, in exchange for the pilot and a second Japanese hostage, the journalist Kenji Goto.
Jordanian TV says the pilot was killed one month ago. It is not clear how or when this was discovered.
Negotiations broke down Monday, Feb. 2, when Amman demanded proof that Lt. Kassasbeh was alive.
Later that day, the Japanese hostage’s purported beheading was shown on video.
debkafile’s counterterrorism and military sources add: The young pilot’s ghastly execution, the first penalty paid by an Arab combatant in the US-led coalition fighting ISIS, presents the Arab members of that coalition with a painful dilemma. Will Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates decide to stay in or will it quit the war on the brutal jihadists?
The horror of the pilot’s fate is likely to act as a backlash against Jordan's involvement in the US-led coalition fighting ISIS. The pilot’s family, who had been holding a vigil at a guest hall set up for them in Amman, has argued consistently that the fight against the Islamic State was not an Arab but a US-European war. This line resonated widely in the other Arab countries aligned with the coalition.
Jordan’s King Abdullah and other Arab rulers will find it extremely hard to persuade their fighting men to carry on battling ISIS – even from the air – after viewing the fate of the young Jordanian pilot and undertanding the terrifying punishment awaiting Arab prisoners..