Deadline Passes Again, No Prisoner Swap

Update: No swap or release occurred. It should be mentioned that ISIS never said it would free the Jordanian pilot if Jordan released Sajida al-Rishawi. ISIS only said the pilot wouldn't be killed. Big difference. ISIS only offered to swap the Japanese journalist for al-Rishawi. ISIS said both would be killed if Jordan didn't comply by sunset. I suspect ISIS will carry out its threat, and kill both. (The pilot may already be dead, since there have been no photos of him since around the time of his capture.)

It was Jordan that added a condition that the release of al-Rishawi would have to be in exchange for its pilot (a swap), and demanded proof of life, before proceeding further. (Jordanian announcement here.) But that was never ISIS' offer. It only proposed a swap of the Japanese journalist. [More...]

Also, ISIS never said it was holding the two hostages in the same place. The Japanese journalist may not even be in ISIS custody any longer. ISIS could have transferred him to a third party, in anticipating of the prisoner swap.

Japan said it was trusting Jordan with the fate of its journalist. That may have been a mistake, although it's not clear it had other options, since it has no ability to free a prisoner in Jordan.

There's a big difference between swapping a prisoner for a member of the military captured in a war zone, and a journalist. ISIS had to know Jordan would never swap a prisoner for a foreign journalist.

ISIS stood to gain a lot if the deal went through, since by negotiating with ISIS, foreign governments are bolstering its claim to be a state, rather than a terrorist group. But I don't see that ISIS comes out the big winner here if al-Rishawi isn't released, although it may gain some satisfaction from having caused some dissension in Jordan and Japan. The leaders of both countries will face criticism from its citizens when the deaths are announced. The Japanese will say Japan should have taken a greater role and not left it up to Jordan. The Jordanians will blame its leaders for making the offer to free the prisoner in the first place.

Original Post

The new deadline for Jordan to turn over prisoner Sajida al-Rishawiwas sunset, Mosul time -- an hour or so ago. It looks like negotiations failed, because ISIS was only willing to release Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, in exchange for the Jordanian prisoner, Sajida al-Rishawi, and not Moath Al Kasasbeh, Jordan's pilot. Jordan says the prisoner has not left the jail and it has not received proof Kasabeh is alive.

This is Japanese hostage Kenji Goto's last message (audio.)

Jordan issued an official statement saying it would transfer prisoner al-Rishawi only for the pilot. The statement made no mention of Kenji Goto.

An ISIS fighter on Twitter says negotiations were not conducted with ISIS directly, but through the middleman who is holding Kenji.

For those curious. Japan/Jordan will not directly speak with us. So we are using a middle man who is currently holding Kenji Goto.

The media is assembled at the Tal Ahad border.

And here, in Jordan:

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  • Display: Sort:
    With the proper assurances....OK. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jim in St Louis on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 11:03:49 AM EST
    What does ISIL want with her?  The fact that they are demanding her release is just another example of how nutty  this JV team is.

    It seems generally agreed she is a low-value prisoner, she is not a leader or a tactical strategist, not an expert bomb builder or any other skill. She has no value as a propaganda or recruiting star.   A failed suicide bomber.

     If the Jordanians can get their pilot back then I'd say go for it.  

    If there was ever a cause (none / 0) (#2)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 11:49:05 AM EST
    for a true coalition, these guys (ISIL) are it. Why can't a colossal military force of all the nations so far impacted by these nuts go in and just wipe them out once and for all.

    Once in awhile in the course of history, there is good reason to go to war and kill people. Hitler was one. And yes, I'm comparing ISIL to Hitler. Hitler was batsheet crazy and so are these folks. Hitler and his ilk and followers needed to be dispatched from the living and so does ISIL and it's followers/minions.

    Now, I also truly believe that ISIL is the result of GWB's colossal stupidity in invading Iraq. Bush and Cheney caused ISIL and they should pay for that. But that's spilled milk. Now the world needs to face the music and clean up their mess.

    Hard sell here... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jim in St Louis on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 12:59:37 PM EST
    to pin this one all on Bush and co.
      For all his idiocies and mistakes, Bush did articulate a vision that was totally different from the way terror had been fought for the 50 years previously.  The idea of `we fight them here in Iraq so we don't have to fight them at home'.   Bold concept- we choose the battlefield and the time, they provide the corpses.   And going by kills, I think Bush has (partially at least ) redeemed himself.  But I can understand that you may not feel that way.    It is a disapointment to me to see the USA policy going backwards and we are treating terrorists more as a law enforcement issue seems the wrong tack.

    Bush did not invade Iraq (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 01:40:57 PM EST
    to fight 'turrists'. If you believe that, you haven't been paying attention.

    That IS a "hard sell" (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 04:51:58 PM EST
    For all his idiocies and mistakes, Bush did articulate a vision that was totally different from the way terror had been fought for the 50 years previously.  The idea of `we fight them here in Iraq so we don't have to fight them at home'.

    Probably why it was just an afterthought, once the reasons he sold the war in Iraq turned out to be false - link to Al Quaeda/911, WMDs, imminent threat, etc., etc.


    Yeah... (none / 0) (#5)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 29, 2015 at 01:56:25 PM EST
    "Wipe them out"?... and if anybody, civilians and the rest of those collateral-damagees get in the way, wipe them out too?

    The colossal military force you are speculating about can't exist because, obviously, there is no unanimity in the region about confronting ISISISILIS. You should ask them why.

    You might also inquire why the current occupant in the White House is so reluctant to have Bush the Painter and Cheney the Vampire pay for anything. He just thanks them for their service.