Will ISIS work with both Jordan and Japan?
The situation for two hostages held by ISIS is rapidly spiraling.
Officials in Jordan have agreed to the Islamic State’s demands for a hostage swap, but added their own conditions to the mix, which could complicate things for hostages Muath al-Kaseasbeh and Kenji Goto.
Via Fox News:
In the case of the ISIS prisoner, Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said in a statement the nation was prepared to free Sajida al-Rishawi, who was convicted of taking part in a 2005 deadly hotel bombing that killed 60 people, if the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, is released unharmed. His comments were carried by Jordan’s official Petra news agency. Although he made no mention of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, a hostage audio message released by Islamic State a day earlier tied Goto’s fate to that of Al-Rishawi, as well.
Jordan is reportedly in indirect talks with the militants through religious and tribal leaders in Iraq to secure the hostages’ release. The chairman of the foreign affairs committee of Jordan’s parliament, Bassam Al-Manasseer, has been quoted as saying that Jordan and Japan would not negotiate directly with the Islamic State group and would not free al-Rishawi for the Japanese hostage only.
According to officials in Jordan, the negotiators have requested but not yet received proof that Muath is alive. Goto’s status is also unknown.
Japan and Jordan have both blown through previous deadlines and ultimatums laid down by ISIS, making the situation for both hostages even more uncertain. But some analysts believe that the group’s failure to react via another execution could signal a subtle shift in ISIS’s approach to interacting with the rest of the world:
Prior to reports of Jordan’s willingness to accept the trade, Middle East expert Jon Alterman told ABC News that by asking for, and potentially gaining al-Rishawi’s release, ISIS is attempting to bolster its long-held goal of being seen as a proper nation-state on a geopolitical scale.
“What it represents is ISIS again trying to act like a real country. It’s a small group of outlaws trying to engage in governments,” Alterman, head of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Tuesday.
ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has publicly beheaded dozens of captives, including a handful of Western journalists and aid workers, sometimes after making demands of their governments.
The full details of the proposed exchange haven’t been released, but at least for the time being, the status of both hostages remains in limbo.DONATE
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