The deadline has passed for the hostage exchange deal that would have seen a Jordanian air force pilot and Japanese hostage exchanged for an Iraqi female terrorist jailed in Jordan who Islamic State says they want freed.
The Jordanians have adopted a unique negotiating position — a position that puts the “hard” in “hard ball.”
Jordan has threatened to fast-track the execution of a would-be suicide bomber the Islamic State is trying to free if the terror group kills its captured pilot, it was reported today.
The government has apparently warned that Sajida al-Rishawi and other jailed ISIS commanders would be ‘quickly judged and sentenced’ in revenge for Muath al-Kaseasbeh’s death.
It comes after a deadline for a possible prisoner swap allegedly set by ISIS passed yesterday with no clue over the fate of al-Kaseasbeh or fellow Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.
Intelligence sources said ISIS’s refusal to prove that al-Kaseasbeh was alive meant any deal with the militants was doomed.
Now Jordan has reportedly stepped up its rhetoric by warning of its intent to retaliate if the negotiations end in bloodshed.
Elijah Magnier, chief international correspondent for Kuwait’s Al Rai newspaper, told MailOnline: ‘I have reliable contact in the Jordanian government who says a message has been passed to ISIS.
‘It warns that if they kill the pilot they will implement the death sentences for Sajida and other ISIS prisoners as soon as possible.
‘There are other prisoners in Jordan that ISIS would like to free.’
MailOnline has attempted to contact the Jordanian government for comment, but a spokesman has not yet responded.
Shortly after reports of the ultimatum emerged, Jordan issued a statement saying they were still waiting for proof that the captured F-16 pilot was still alive.
Jordan had agreed to an ISIS demand to free al-Rishawi who failed to fulfil her Al Qaeda mission as a suicide bomber.
In return, ISIS said it would not execute the 26-year-old pilot, who was seized in December after crashing near its HQ in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
In its latest audio recording, ISIS threatened to kill al-Kaseasbeh if a deadline was not kept for the release of al-Rishawi by dusk Iraq time yesterday – around 5.30pm (2.30pm GMT).
But it appeared to make no promises to release him, another condition the Jordanian government is demanding.
It was not clear from the recording what would happen to Mr Goto if the deadline was missed.
Jordan was correct in asking for proof of life before releasing a terrorist. But what about the threat to execute en masse IS terrorists if their pilot is, as expected, beheaded?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to see how a group that places such little value on human life caring about their comrades, who they have probably already given up for dead. Islamic State is dragging the situation out, getting maximum terror and maximum publicity for their miserable cause. If that cause can be served by asking for more concessions from Jordan or Japan, they will do it. If the cause can be served by making the Jordanian government appear to dance to their tune, they will continue to play the music.
But as soon as the hostages have no more value to them, they will make their gruesome execution video and laugh as the world is outraged at their barbarity once again.
Jordan may get emotional satisfaction in executing their IS prisoners. But as a negotiating strategy with Islamic State, nothing they do really matters.