Within minutes of the announcement of ISIS killing Jordanian Lieutenant Muath Al-Kasasbeh, the entire Kingdom went into mourning. Being shocked, full of condemn and fury is only a natural reaction to what happened, whatever your political thoughts were. But what followed was a lot more interesting and eye-opening. The King, who was waging a war on ISIS with little public support or interest, was suddenly being hailed for his stern remarks against ‘terrorism’ and ISIS -which the Washigton Times chose to describe as a “Sunni radical terrorist organization”-.
Media and social networks were driven by grief and disgust since Muath was burnt alive, forming a machine of government backing herd asking the Jordanian army to take revenge, but no angry mob felt the need to ask; why did Muath Al-Kasasbah, a military man participating a war, is made into a sole hero and a martyr of Jordan’s fight against ‘ISIS’ or should I say the unbreakable alliance with the US for better or worse?
Not only national, but even International visual, audio and electronic means of communication turned the death of Al-Kasasbeh into a parade praising Jordan’s military partaking in the coalition against ISIS, without questioning the integrity, morality or purpose of this war. I tried to think of a time line for the case of Muath Al-Kasasbeh and it blew my mind; from the moment he was held by the ISIS militants in December 2014 when his F-16 jet crashed on near Ar-Raqqa. to this day where vengeful Jordanians took it to the streets protesting against ISIS. I even thought of his father who I heard on TV asking “our brothers at ISIS to release his son”. It has been a rollercoaster; the pain his parents must be living is beyond imagination. However, the sensible element in Muath’s case made it impossible for anyone to even imply that the nature of the war Jordan was diving in or the government’s transparency at large should be questioned.
24 December 2014
– Muath Al-Kasasbah held hostage by ISIS after his jet crashed during the military intervention against ISIS.
Last days of December 2014
– Officials from USA and Jordan say Muath’s plane crash was caused by mechanical problems, while ISIS claimed that the plane was hit by a missile.
– Confusion caused by Jordan’s government, saying that Muath Al-Kasasbeh is thought to be alive.
– Al-Kasasbeh’s father asks “his brothers” in the ISIS to treat his son well in a TV interview.
Last week of January 2015
– ISIS negotiates with the Jordanian government claiming it would free al-Kasabeh and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto in exchange for Sajida al-Rishawi, a convicted terrorist held in Jordan under a death sentence.
– Al-Kasasbeh’s mother asking ISIS, via a private TV station, to release their son.
– Al-Kasasbeh’s father heads to the Turkish Embassy in Amman to call for Turkey’s help in getting his son back.
3 February 2015
– ISIS released a video showing al-Kasasbeh being burned to death while trapped inside a cage.
– Outrage in Jordan and in the world; even those who were opposing Jordan’s military intervention against ISIS demanded revenge. Images and stories depicting Al-Kasasbeh as a brave family guy, a man of the people.
– King Abdullah II cut short a visit to the United States, made a speech stressing that the Kingdom will take revenge, quoting Clint Eastwood. Jordanian government announced that all prisoners in its custody that had been convicted of association with ISIS would be executed ‘within hours’ in retaliation for al-Kasasbeh’s killing.
-In further response, Mamdouh al-Ameri, a Jordanian military spokesman said: “While the military forces mourn the martyr, they emphasize his blood will not be shed in vain. The revenge will be as big as the calamity that has hit Jordan.”
– Several non-Jordanian media outlets questioned whether the footage of Muath burnt alive by ISIS was real.
4 February 2015
– Ar-Rishawi and another Iraqi terrorist who were on death row, Ziad Khalaf Al-Karbouly, were executed by hanging in Swaqa Prison in response to al-Kasasbeh’s murder.
– One the same day, Jordan launched its first military response to the murder. Jordanian warplanes bombed ISIS positions in Mosul.
– A photo of King Abdullah II in a military uniform in a very serious pose sweeping the internet as rumors suggested he will be participating in the airstrikes against ISIS. Later on Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said these were false claims.
5 Febraury 2015
– Jordan launched airstrikes against ISIS warehouses and training camps. According to US officials, the attacks took place near Raqqa and involved 20 Jordanian F-16s, assisted by American refueling and radio jamming aircraft. After the jets completed their mission, they flew over Al-Kasasbeh’s hometown of Karak.
– King Abdullah and Queen Rania offer condolences to Al-Kasasbeh family at their home in Al-Karak.
– Jordan radios united in commemorating Muath Al-Kasasbeh, featuring so called patriotic songs glorifying military and violence.
– Jordan state TV shows footage of the messages carried by the jetfighters in the Muath Al-Kasasbeh revenge operation.
6 February 2015
– Thousands march from Al-Husseini Mosque in Downtown (which has its fair share of anti-corruption and anti-Israel protests in previous years) to express fury over Muath Al-Kasasbeh’s death. Queen Rania also participated in the march.
Credit: Associated Press
– TV and radio coverage is still on and on about Jordan’s martyr, the military’s noble message and the popular King.
Has the Jordanian people’s nemesis been replaced? Or is the focus now shifted towards supporting the King in any endeavor he and the government chooses to make the entire country take part in? Remember Raed Zuiater? Perhaps not, he was just a Jordanian judge killed by Israeli soldiers at the Jordan River crossing point last year. His death did not spark national concern; maybe he should have been burned alive for his life to have worth. The double standards which both the state and the world’s government have embraced are astounding. It seems that some people are more equal than others. That is of course if we consider two Jordanians killed unjustly; one of them is a military man and the other is a civilian law enforcer. If we take into consideration non-Jordanian civilians such as the Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir who was burned alive by Israelis or even non-Arabs being killed unjustly without touching the world humanity towards a strong and fair reaction, then one will dwell upon thinking how Muath Al-Kasasbeh’s killing means more than all those deaths.
You know the American Sniper? It feels like that the Jordanian Pilot can be a possible equivalent. The thought that military men are made to believe that all they do is save lives, regardless of the battlefield they are sent to, is overwhelming. I guess that is far less romantic than believing that these human lives are taken to serve governments, rather than save lives.
What do we know? King Abdullah II is starring in a new Western and probably a new war-hero film, he even gained a lot of fans across the world who admire his ‘badass’ attitude. That’s what a developing country’s leader is all about; attitude.