ISIS and the Jordanian Pilot Hostage

The father of 1st Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, the Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS, has issued a plea for his return.

"I direct a message to our generous brothers of the Islamic State in Syria: to host my son, the pilot Mu'ath, with generous hospitality," he said. "I ask God that their hearts are gathered together with love, and that he is returned to his family, wife and mother."

"We are all Muslims," he added.

Here are very large-size (non-violent) photos of his capture. What are the chances the pilot will not be killed? [More...]

The predecessor of current IS leader al Baghdadi was Abu Umar al-Hussaini al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi. He was the first leader of the group, while it was still known as the Islamic State of Iraq. To counter false accusations about the group, he issued a statement outlining the group's "Aqueedah". An English translation is here. Among the passages:

We believe those who defend the infidel/apostate rulers are also apostates, as are those who help them (rulers) with any type of defense or aid, such as clothing, food, medicine or anything else that can strengthen their position. So, his actions (helping apostate rulers) thus, will become the justification/reason for us to shed his blood (due to his apostasy).

IS supporters on Twitter are not sympathetic to the pilot, to say the least.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Why is the Jordanian pilot (none / 0) (#1)
    by Peter G on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 09:04:20 AM EST
    being referred to, or thought of, as a "hostage" rather than as a "prisoner of war"?

    Good question Peter. (none / 0) (#4)
    by fishcamp on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 12:06:05 PM EST
    I'm sure those ISIS people have never heard of either Geneva or a convention.  Bad situation.

    my first thought as well. that said, ISIS, like (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 12:45:01 PM EST
    all non-state actors, doesn't recognize any law but their own, as evidenced by the horrific acts of violence they've already committed against civilian non-combatants, in areas they've overrun. to expect them to now recognize and abide by the Geneva Conventions on War, or any other internationally agreed to rules of war, is a leap very far.

    eventually, they'll be crushed, tried and convicted for acts against humanity in general, or specific murders. their defense will be that:

    1. they don't recognize the authority of the court trying them. and,

    2. they were acting under their bizarre interpretation of the Q'uaran, and everything they did was quite ok.

    they'll continue this position as they settle in to their lives of imprisonment. some will be used as topics for psychology dissertations, and we might get a glimpse of what goes on in their disturbed brains.

    I was remind of this passage (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 12:56:06 PM EST
    from a short story by Rudyard Kipling:

    She slipped up to the house to get it. When she came through the rain, the eyes in the head were alive with expectation. The mouth even tried to smile. But at sight of the revolver its corners went down just like Edna Gerritt's. A tear trickled from one eye, and the head rolled from shoulder to shoulder as though trying to point out something.

    'Cassee. Tout cassee,' it whimpered.

    'What do you say?' said Mary disgustedly, keeping well to one side, though only the head moved.

    'Cassee,' it repeated. 'Che me rends. Le medicin! Toctor!'

    'Nein!' said she, bringing all her small German to bear with the big pistol. 'Ich haben der todt Kinder gesehn.'

    The head was still. Mary's hand dropped. She had been careful to keep her finger off the trigger for fear of accidents. After a few moments' waiting, she returned to the destructor, where the flames were falling, and churned up Wynn's charring books with the poker. Again the head groaned for the doctor.

    'Stop that!' said Mary, and stamped her foot. 'Stop that, you bloody pagan!'

    Think of it in accounting terms. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Dec 27, 2014 at 09:31:04 AM EST
    Hostages are assets.  POWs are liabilities.

    The IS is a Failing State (none / 0) (#2)
    by RickyJim on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 09:44:23 AM EST
    I am shocked, shocked I tell you... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 09:52:00 PM EST
    I would like to know how the inability and inexperience mentioned in the article divides up between the pimplyface fanboys we saw in the Todenhoefer interview and the more numerous indigenous victims of dictatorships and creaky economies.

    Hush now, this is damaging to their (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 09:53:58 PM EST
    Propaganda and the journalists attempting to make a name for themselves being IS PR vessels.

    Good interview with (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 09:56:06 AM EST
    John Dolan, A.K.A. The War Nerd, on conflicts around the world, including ISIS:

    Gary: There was already a photograph of one of these grinning a**holes holding up a beheaded Kurdish woman fighter by her long hair, and that got [inaudible 33:35] play. I think somebody in Obama's inner circle said, "It's going to look like if there's a town full of photographs like that."The Yazidi, nobody cares about them to be blunt. They have no relatives outside their area. They are the most endogamous group in the world. They marry each other, they just want to be left alone, which makes them perfect victims.

    Kurds are not like that. A lot of Kurds in Germany, a lot of Kurds making money around the world. You can't just kill all of those Kurds like they used to be able to do. At some point, they started bombing, and the Islamic state took casualties like they'd never seen.

    They Syrian Human Rights Observatory now estimates Islamic state dead in Kobani as 1,400. Which I also said before anybody else did, because they were saying maybe a few hundred, and I knew it had to be more than that, because they were doing something really stupid.

    Which is Islamic state's big mistake in general. They were trying to fight like a conventional army when they just didn't have the resources to do it against the US air force. They've been paying the price since then. Now, they're losing territory on both fronts. They are sitting ducks in the ruin of Kobani, the kind of thing that the US air force enjoys picking off.

    well, that's the thing about this particular group (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 12:59:57 PM EST
    they seemed to be "unstoppable", because they were, for the most part, attacking undefended areas. whatever defenders they came up against were mostly of the local militia type, not actual trained, disciplined, well armed/supplied armies. every time they've done so, they've suffered massive losses, while inflicting little damage themselves.

    they have no air power, and little in the way of air defense, or anyone who knows much about how to use anti-aircraft weapons. this makes them pretty much sitting ducks, for any competent air force. considering the level of technology, and the level of intelligence necessary to be able to use that technology, of the average country's air force, ISIS is easy pickings for them. the biggest problem any country's AF is going to have, in attacking them, is trying to avoid civilian casualties. however, there will come a point, especially if ISIS uses civilians as shields, when civilian losses will become an accepted price to pay, for getting rid of these guys.


    According to the Todenhofer piece, (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 09:08:36 PM EST
    ISIS in Mosul comprises about 5000 militants embedded in Mosul's 3,000,000 population.  Not sure what acceptable losses are in that situation, since the U.S. has already worn out the acceptable loss shibboleth.

    Only 1,000,000 population according to wiki (none / 0) (#9)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 09:10:44 PM EST
    Maybe the number of fighters was exaggerated as well.

    i wouldn't be at all surprised if this were true. (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 11:42:41 PM EST
    "Maybe the number of fighters was exaggerated as well."

    Gen. George McClellan, appointed Chief of the Union Army, was notorious for hugely inflating the size of the Confederate Armies opposing him. He routinely claimed them to be 2 to 3 times higher in number than they actually were. He was aided by the Pinkerton Det. Agency, hired to provide intelligence on the CSA, their real job was to give him reports that buttressed his own ridiculously high estimates. Pres. Lincoln, irritated by McClellan's refusal to use the Army he'd been given, accused him of having a bad case of "the slows".

    you see, there is historical precedence for this sort of thing in warfare.


    It's interesting how (none / 0) (#15)
    by toggle on Sat Dec 27, 2014 at 02:28:03 PM EST
    Mosul suddenly became the second-biggest city in Iraq after ISIS took it. In some reports it was comapred to Houston, which is absurd.

    "acceptable losses" depends on who is (none / 0) (#10)
    by cpinva on Fri Dec 26, 2014 at 09:19:57 PM EST
    suffering the losses, and who is inflicting them. it's a lot easier to accept losses, from people other than your own.

    the fact that ISIS only has 5,000 fighters infiltrated in the 3m population of Mosul puts them on the defensive right from the get go. an air force isn't even needed. encircle Mosul, cut off all supplies, power and water to the city. either they'll be the last 5,000 survivors, or the other 3m inhabitants will finally get bent enough to either kill them or take them prisoner.

    my money is on the 3m inhabitants of Mosul.


    Pilot Interviewed by IS Magazine (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 29, 2014 at 09:24:07 PM EST
    An IS-linked propaganda magazine has published what it says is an interview with First Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh, who was captured after his F-16 crashed during an air strike near Raqqa last week.

    The article in Dabiq magazine, titled "The Capture of a Crusader Pilot", includes what appear to be new photos of the pilot, and his Jordanian armed forces identity card.

    In the article Lieutenant Kasaesbeh says his F-16 was hit by a heat-seeking missile while providing cover for an air strike on IS targets.

    "My plane was struck by a heat-seeking missile. I heard and felt its hit," he is reported as saying.