Brutal ISIS Video Could Represent 'Sea Change' Of Attitude Toward Extremist Groups

Feb 6, 2015

This week Jordan vowed revenge for the death of a Jordanian pilot held by the Islamic State extremist group. A video online purportedly showed the pilot being burned to death in a cage by his captors. 

The video may have been aimed at building pressure from within Jordan for the country to leave the U.S.-led coalition attacking the Islamic State group, but Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the Arab World is going through a sea change in its attitude toward ISIS and other radical groups. He compares Jordan's response to ISIS to how the United States reacted after 9/11.

"They've disgusted people," Landis says. "We have Jordanian professors, boy were they horrified at what ISIS had done, and the nationalism kicks in, just as it did with America. People want revenge, and they want to go kill them."

Landis says the highly produced film showing the death of Moaz al-Kasasbeh was designed to be a symbolic, high profile propaganda film.

"They went to the rubble created by American bombs and Jordanian bombs. They buried him in the rubble," Landis says. "They're making a dramatic statement that they're on the side of the goodness against the munāfiqūn, as they call it, the hypocrites who've joined the unbelievers, the American imperialists."


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