Did ISIS Overplay Its Hand?

That’s what Hassan Hassan says:

The burning to death by ISIL of the Jordanian pilot Maaz Al Kassasbeh is a strategic mistake by the extremists.

The execution of a fellow Muslim in such a manner has been condemned even by those who sympathise with ISIL’s cause – such as Abu Sayyaf, the leader of the Jordanian Salafists, who criticised both the killing itself and the video footage broadcast on the internet.

ISIL had already lost many of its sympathisers when it beheaded Peter Kassig, an American aid worker who converted to Islam during his captivity. Before the murder of Al Kassasbeh, Jordanians were divided over their country’s involvement in what many described as “someone else’s war”. Now, at least for the time being, they see ISIL as it truly is.

The burning of Al Kassasbeh, and the graphic publicity of the atrocious act, might also signal a new chapter in how Jordan deals with simmering extremism in its immediate neighbourhood and inside the country itself.


Jordan’s military is small, but it’s also tough and well-trained — easily one of the best Arab militaries. And now it’s properly motivated, too.


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