The Guardian view on Jordan’s hostage dilemma

来源:betway必威体育 作者:项卺濡 人气: 发布时间:2019-07-22
摘要:In the war against Islamic State (Isis)

In the war against Islamic State (Isis), Muslims have to “start fighting back. And all of us have to make that decision and stand up to the plate and take our responsibilities”. One of the forms Jordan’s own fighting back has taken since September has been to contribute fighter bombers to the coalition air forces striking at Isis targets in Iraq and Syria. But taking responsibilities involves taking risks, and these have come home to Jordan with a vengeance in recent weeks, after one of its pilots came down in Isis territory.

Isis has played with the fate of Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh, and of two Japanese hostages taken at about the same time, with its usual combination of cruelty and cunning. In the past it has exchanged hostages for money or killed them on camera for maximum terror effect. But this time it has managed to seriously upset the political balance in Jordan, revealing a public opinion by no means as committed to combating Isis as is King Abdullah. said Hind al-Fayez, an MP, while the pilot’s father has deplored his son being sent on “a mission unrelated to us”. Demonstrators have even criticised the king, something rare in Jordan and which is also a crime.

The government has agreed in principle to an Isis demand for the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, the surviving member of an Iraqi suicide squad despatched to by al-Qaida in Iraq, a precursor of Isis, in 2005. The team killed 60 people in attacks on Amman hotels, but her explosives belt failed and she has been in jail ever since.

It might be argued that this massacre was a good enough reason for Jordanians to think that the fight against jihadism is indeed a “mission related to us”. But some do not agree. Jordanians, after Saudi Arabians and Tunisians, areof foreigners fighting with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. And the government has recently begun arresting young men for sharing Isis material on the internet.

There is no evidence, however, of widespread support for Isis in Jordanian society. What there is instead is support for the idea that the first duty of the monarchy is to keep Jordan out of trouble rather than to embroil the country in it. , in spite of the occasional error of judgment, set the standard for agile risk avoidance. His son, in more difficult times, may not be so lucky.

It was unclear on Thursday afternoon whether Isis would carry out its threat to take the pilot’s life after the Jordanian government said it would release Rishawi on proof he was still alive, and, presumably, if he and the remaining Japanese hostage (one has already been killed) were handed over in exchange. But what is clear is that Isis is making up for battlefield reverses by this political use of hostages to split public opinion in a country opposed to it. It has lost Kobane after four months of fighting, it has been cleared out of Diyala province in Iraq, and its communication lines with Mosul are threatened. Yet air power cuts both ways when the other side gets their hands on your pilots, as Jordan has discovered to its cost.