The father of slain Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh (in black) sits with senior officers of the Jordanian military Wednesday.

Credit: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters/Landov via NPR

Outrage In Jordan Over Gruesome Murder Could Drastically Change Country's Fight Against ISIS

February 4, 2015

After ISIS released video of the brutal murder of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh, the reaction of the pilot's home country was swift. By dawn, two prisoners in Jordanian custody—failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi and Al-Qaeda operative Ziyad Karboliwere dead.

Outrage over the murder has erupted in Jordan and could drastically change the country's approach to combating ISIS, said homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem.

"This 'tit-for-tat' that we saw in the last 24 hours, we will see more of it," she predicted.

Kayyem says that the furor surrounding Kaseasbeh's brutal death may unite a disparate country—divided by tribal differences and an influx of Syrian refugees—around a common cause, a fact that is likely not lost on a politically astute leader like King Abdullah. 

"The king has shown himself to be young, modern, nimble, and hardcore when it comes to satisfying the needs of his population," she said.

But wherever Jordan goes, the United States should not necessarily expect the rest of its neighbors to follow suit.

Kayyem points out that Turkey, for example, could implement stricter border controls to drastically reduce the influx of foreign fighters into Syria, but is afraid of domestic unrest. Since Kaseasbeh's capture, the United Arab Emirates has pulled out of the airstrike coalition out of fear for their own pilots.

"It's a less singular story than 'now the Arab world is with us,'" Kayyem said. "The Arab world is not monolithic."

To hear more from homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.   


WGBH News is supported by:
Back to top