Islamic State burns captured Jordanian pilot alive

Jordanian-pilot-burned-alive-Islamic State.jpg

First Lieutenant Mu’adh Yusuf al Kasasibah stands in a cage as the flames lit by an islamic State fighter reach him.

In what is perhaps its most brutal execution video to date, the Islamic State burned alive a Jordanian pilot who was captured in late December 2014 after his warplane was purportedly shot down over Syria.

The Islamic State murdered First Lieutenant Mu’adh Yusuf al Kasasibah, the Jordanian pilot, at the end of a lengthy 22-minute-long video that was released by the group today, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

“The video shows media footage of Jordan’s involvement in the U.S.-led coalition against IS [Islamic State] and then shows al Kasasibah discussing Jordan’s operations in a news-style monologue bearing a black eye,” according to a summary by SITE.

“Afterward, the video goes back and forth between shots of al Kasasibah surrounded by fighters and shots of aftermath of bombings. At the end of the video, al Kasasibah stands inside of a cage and is burned alive by fighters,” SITE noted.

Kasasibah, who is dressed in the same orange shirt and pants worn by other prisoners who have been executed by the Islamic State, cries out in horrible pain as he is burned alive.

After Kasasibah died, a construction vehicle dumped a load of rubble on top of the cage, collapsing it and burying the Jordanian pilot.

Kasasibah’s F-16 was downed in Raqqah province in Syria on Dec. 24, 2014. The Islamic State claimed it shot down the aircraft. US officials subsequently denied that the plane had been downed by the Islamic State. [See LWJ report, Islamic State shoots down Jordanian warplane in Raqqah, captures pilot.]

The Islamic State demanded that the Jordanian government free Sajida al Rishawi, a would-be female suicide bomber for al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of the Islamic State, who failed to detonate at a hotel in Amman in 2005, in exchange for the pilot. Her husband successfully detonated his bomb in the same operation. Her brother was also a senior leader and aide to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the founder of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Kasasibah is the third foreigner to be executed by the Islamic State in the past two weeks. Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, two Japanese citizens, were beheaded by the group. The Islamic State demanded $200 million in ransom and also intertwined their release to the release of Rishawi. [[See LWJ report, Islamic State beheads second Japanese hostage.]

The Islamic State has publicized the executions of American and British hostages, as well as mass executions of Iraqi and Syrian soldiers and auxiliaries. But none of them have been burned alive. The other victims were all either shot or beheaded.

According to an unconfirmed report, Jordan has threatened to respond to the murder of Kasasibah by expediting the execution of Islamic State members and other jihadists who are currently in custody.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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24 Comments

  • Sha says:

    Barbarians…Embarrassing humanity!

  • Will Fenwick says:

    I think this is a major tactical mistake by the IS, i imagine the anger the Jordanian people will feel towards them with turn public opinion against the Islamic state and more in favor of intervention. It will also spur fanaticism among forces fighting the Islamic state, what incentive does a unit or soldier cornered by the Islamic state have to surrender? None, Iraqi / Syrian / Kurdish soldiers and coalition pilots know its better to go down fighting to the last man than surrender and be offered no quarter. The fanatical defenses at Rorke’s Drift, the Alamo, and the siege of the Peking legations during the boxer rebellion come to my mind as an example of the mindset soldiers develop when facing an enemy that gives no quarter.

  • chris says:

    they got bored of be headings I guess ,be interesting to see how Jordan reacts. The general populace has not liked Jordanian participation in the coalition

  • Ken says:

    RIP Lt. Kasasibah. You died as a lion amongst jackals. It is time for the coalition to reevaluate their strategy against these rabid dogs. The time has come for the gloves to come off. The savages need to be taught a lesson.

  • mike merlo says:

    Beyond barbaric. This is Satanic

  • Bloody Sam Flint says:

    Dark days, indeed. Best cure for this behavior would be to apply 50/50 HE/WP generously.

  • James says:

    My question is this:
    Is this guy Baghdadi really an Islamist or is he in fact a Baathist (an Iraqi nationalist of the Sadam Hussein type) in disquise?
    It seems to me that quite possibly Zawahiri knows something about this person (and his most closest followers) that he is afraid to let out.
    What should be done about this? Answer: retaliation; and retaliation on a massive scale. We should have done it and the French should have done it long ago.
    Both US and France could easily ‘rain down’ a hundred cruise missiles onto Raqqah with no problem and easily replenish our stockpiles.
    I say nuke them if need be. There is no doubt that we are now facing an enemy more brutal and barbaric than both Hitler and Hirohito.

  • irebukeu says:

    In late December I had read that a video plea from a Islamist woman (I think that’s what made it particularly newsworthy) was calling for a more barbaric form of execution and was asking Abu Bakr though the video that this Jordanian pilot be the first. The woman in the video claimed that a bullet or a knife was mercy.
    “Are you going to execute him with a merciful bullet? Or are you going to execute him with a merciful knife?”
    “impale him,” then send him to his mother,”
    “Why are the Arab world fighting us. We are Muslim doing the will of Allah.”
    “I am pleading [ISIS] to honor my special request that you Khazouk him “impale him” and post it all over the social networks and the media.”
    I do not know the location that this video plea was posted to, an ‘official’ ISIS website/forum or just some random video getting attention. I took note of it at the time.
    Impalement seems to have some Koranic justification so it didn’t seem impossible.
    IS is now claiming Koranic justification for the burning of this pilot.
    I seem to remember after one execution IS claimed it was going to execute all foreign hostages “from now on”. I can’t be sure and a Google search did not help. Perhaps someone can confirm or contradict this but it seems no one is getting out alive now.
    We can expect a quick backlash in Jordan followed by a riposte by IS. I assume this is the IS plan, to conflate all these nations into one conflict.
    I hope the result of this is that Jordan commits itself heart and soul to the operation to destroy IS and more of the “Muslim Umma” move off from non committed to “anti-IS”
    Jordan has threatened to execute six IS prisoners and I think they mean to do it.
    I

  • RanaSahib says:

    Heard this on CBC radio earlier today on the 6 o’clock news. My stomach fell out of my belly when I heard how the pilot was punished. Truly horrific.
    I think that this was done deliberately, in the framework of a long term strategy that will demoralize local opposition to the Islamic State.
    IS news release makes it clear the execution of the Jordanian pilot was done according to the Islamic law of Qisaas (Biblical law of eye for an eye): as the bombs the warplanes drop burn people alive, so the pilot suffered the same fate.
    God have mercy on humanity.
    Amen.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    This was a heading grabbing event by the Islamic State. If it was a beheading, it wouldn’t have gained that much attention, compared to burning the pilot. Nonetheless both are graphic and gruesome, which IS wants to promote.

  • RandomGuy says:

    Will Fenwick, based on my research, IS drew out the Kasasibah hostage situation as long as possible before killing him in such a horrific way in an attempt to do one of two things; 1) put pressure on the Jordanian monarchy to back out of the anti-IS coalition and therefore cease its airstrikes against them, or 2) draw it into a massive ground offensive which will give IS numerous targets which they can engage in asymmetrical warfare and slowly bleed out. While this second outcome could play into IS’s end-of-days final battle narrative and further spur recruitment among jihadists world-wide, it may spell out the beginning of the end for IS. I think Obama & Co are hoping Jordan chooses the second option, takes off the gloves and spearheads an Arab ground offensive against IS in Syria and possibly even Iraq, thus limiting US involvement to intel gathering, close air cover, with only spotters, trainers and limited SOF operating on the ground. Jordan’s King Abdullah II is saying his governments response will be “earth-shattering.” We’ll see just how “earth-shattering” it is, or if that is just hot air in the wake of a national crisis. Executing a few AQ operatives won’t achieve anything to calm the fresh Jordanian bloodlust IS has just unleashed. But, then again, that may be exactly what IS was hoping for.

  • m3fd2002 says:

    James,
    I think you are on to something, I believe that the core leadership are ex-baathist/Mukhabarat operatives. I commented on this killing on another thread, but it is indeed a gruesome execution meant to intimidate. I heard an analyst yesterday (no source) stating that there are still about 1,000 foreigners entering Syria a day to join IS. How, who knows. With the attrition rate at less that, they would be gaining in strength. Let’s see what happens with Mosul. If the Peshmerga/ISF can take eastern Mosul (historically Kurdish) quickly, they have a chance to control the entire city. But my guess its going to be long and bloody and I’m not sure the Kurds will want to try to attack/occupy Western Mosul with its hostile population.

  • Matt says:

    The King should order Jordan’s F-16 pilots, particularly the ones identified in the snuff film, to attack Raqqa with napalm. NAPALM RAQQA! Announce 100 days of hell fire for the devils in Raqqa and make that town burn for 100 days straight. Then invade it, killing every single living thing. Then bulldoze it to the ground and make it blend in with the sand. Terrorists should be made an example of in the eyes of humanity. No treaties apply, absolutely no quarter allowed.

  • Makx says:

    Jordan is one of the main exporters of terrorists to Syria and Iraq according to the center of radicalization studies it is topped only by Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Libya. Jordan hosts camps to trains terrorists to carry criminal activities in Syria.
    Isis have killed and beheaded Syrian pilots, but no voice to condemn these vicious activities, in fact they were welcomed by the Jordanian papers.
    Many Jordanians have demonstrated in support of ISIS, In fact radical Islam or Wahabism is very popular in Jordan.
    I believe, fire is finally engulfing those who lit it up.

  • Stu says:

    Mark Levin commented on Lt. al Kasasibah’s gruesome execution and compared the current situation with ISIS to the Pol Pot genicides in Cambodia after the Viet Nam war. What is frustrating to watch is the lack of leadership from the west. I suppose the U.S. will have to have some mass atrocity on our own soil before meaningful action is taken. This blog does not flinch from the reality of a “long war” but our political leaders do nothing but flinch.

  • Unmoved says:

    @James – Rain down missiles and nukes, eh? And what of the estimated 8 million civilians living in the territory under IS control? Collateral damage?

  • sundoesntrise says:

    This problem is simply a snowball turning cascading down the mountain into an avalanche. The Islamic State is the worst modern incarnation of it. Islam never truly had it’s political power taken away from it like the West did with Christianity, and so we see the modern results of it.
    Islam has never truly been questioned on a political, social, or mental scale in the Muslim world like we in the West did with “our religion”. When you refuse to change your ways, and you don’t have any legitimate institutions to serve the people, fundamentalist religion is the only thing people have to fall back on as a crutch.

  • Mike in San Diego says:

    A lot of military Intel was that video.

  • ER says:

    @WillFenwick, “go down fighting” is advisable for prisoners of IS, but I’ve seen some CT “experts” advise that for Taliban and AQ situations, and that is deadly bad advice

  • Ram says:

    Why exactly is Jordan battling the IS? What fish does it have to fry in this?

  • Arjuna says:

    James, I couldn’t agree more. While well-meaning analysts attempt to divine the meaning of shadows in individual videos, we should be carpet-bombing Raqqa, not arming a motley crew of interstitial Syrian insurgents. But with this pinprick pussycat for a commander in chief, we never will. The professor of law does not understand evil (and how it must be countered with terminal force), nor does madame secretary. The war will be long and costly for all sides, most of all for the poor innocents of the Middle East who call themselves Muslims.

  • G says:

    I’ve racked my brain trying to understand what would motivate the Arab world against IS. It seems that until now the response has been marginal at best. IS has ransacked, raped, executed hundreds (maybe thousands) across Iraq, Syria, North Africa (assuming we’re going with re-establishment of the original Islamic Caliphate ideology). After the months and months of disgusting videos of executions, children slaughtered, Arab women raped and enslaved…..why was this the trigger? Is it an indication of human worth to Arab societies?

  • M3fd2002 says:

    Correction: 1,000 jihadis entering syia per MONTH.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis