In response to the ISIS video showing Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive, Jordan has hung two terrorists including Sajida al-Rishawi who was involved the Amman hotel bombings in November 2005.
Jordan had previously been willing to release al-Rishawi in exchange for al-Kaseasbeh. However, Jordan demanded proof of life and the deal went south. It turns out that al-Kaseasbeh was killed on January 3rd.
King Abdullah was in Washington yesterday meeting with President Obama and Congressional leaders when the video was released. According to GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., King Abdullah vowed revenge against ISIS and quoted lines from the Clint Eastwood movie Unforgiven.
Curiously, Charles Krauthammer is advising Jordan not to overreact. Krauthammer argues that ISIS is trying to draw Jordan into war it cannot win on its own. “This is a way to stir the cauldron in a country that is stable, was stable, but is easily destabilized,” Krauthammer argued.
I don’t think Jordan is under any illusions that it can win a war against ISIS all by itself. It’s not as if Jordan hasn’t been affected by ISIS. Depending on the figures there is anywhere between 600,000 and 1,300,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. Either way, Jordan will require at least $3 billion to accommodate these refugees.
Yes, if Jordan were to get involved in a wide-scale war against ISIS it would excaberate the refugee crisis. That might be so, but there is a larger consideration here. Don’t we want the Arab/Muslim world to stand up to ISIS, al Qaeda or other terrorist entities? If we do then it has to start somewhere. There’s no doubt that if Jordan stands up to ISIS the results will be bloody. But to paraphrase Charb, the late editor of Charlie Hebdo, “Would we rather have Jordan die standing up or live on its knees?”
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