Jordan Vows 'Relentless' War Against ISIS After Pilot Burnt Alive

Killing of captured pilot pushes Jordan to intensify its efforts with international coalition against Islamic State.

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Jordanian King Abdullah II in pilot gear, posted on The Royal Hashemite Court Facebook page after pilot's execution.
Jordanian King Abdullah II in pilot gear, posted on The Royal Hashemite Court Facebook page after pilot's execution.Credit: Facebook

Jordan's King Abdullah vowed a relentless war against Islamic State on their own territory, state television quoted him as saying during a security meeting on Wednesday, after the killing of a captured Jordanian pilot.

"We are waging this war to protect our faith, our values and human principles and our war for their sake will be relentless and will hit them in their own ground," state television said.

Jordan will intensify its efforts with an international coalition fighting Islamic State, a government spokesman said earlier on Wednesday. 

"We are talking about a collaborative effort between coalition members to intensify efforts to stop extremism and terrorism to undermine, degrade and eventually finish Daesh," Mohammad al-Momani said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

King Abdullah headed a meeting with senior security officials on Wednesday, he added.

Later on Wednesday, Jordanian king Abdullah II vowed "relentless" war against ISIS, saying Jordan will "hit them on their own ground," Jordanian state TV reported.

Jordan has mounted air raids in Syria as part of the U.S.-led alliance against Islamic State insurgents and said on Tuesday that it would deliver a "strong, earth-shaking and decisive" response to the killing.

"All the State's military and security agencies are developing their options. Jordan's response will be heard by the world at large but this response on the security and military level will be announced at the appropriate time," Momani said.

Jordan hanged two Iraqi jihadists, one a woman, on Wednesday in response to the release of footage purported to show the pilot, Mouath al-Kasaesbeh, being burnt alive in a cage.

Both had already been sentenced to death.

The king cut short a visit to the United States to return home following word of the death of Kasaesbeh, who was captured in December when his F-16 warplane crashed over northeastern Syria.

Pentagon nominee vows to resolve Jordan arms sales delays 

President Barack Obama's nominee for defense secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday vowed to cut through "red tape" slowing U.S. arms deliveries to Jordan.

Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee it was important for Jordan to be able to acquire the weapons it needed, and he would work to address concerns raised by King Abdullah during a meeting with committee members on Tuesday.

"We need partners on the ground to beat ISIS," Carter told the committee during a hearing on his nomination, adding that Jordan need help in fighting a "savage and nasty" foe.

Carter told the hearing he was not familiar with the specific concerns raised by Abdullah but would address the issue promptly if confirmed as defense secretary.

He said he knew well how unnecessary "red tape" could slow deliveries of equipment, and had seen similar issues regarding weapons needed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during his previous jobs in the Pentagon.

He said he could "well believe" that arms deliveries to Jordan were proceeding slower than King Abdullah or U.S. officials found acceptable.

Committee Chairman Senator John McCain said some committee members planned to send a letter to the Obama administration on Wednesday underscoring the need to ensure that Jordan had the weapons it needed to fight Islamic State militants.

"As we made clear to King Abdullah in our meeting yesterday, this committee's immediate concern is to ensure Jordan has all of the equipment and resources necessary to continue taking the fight directly to ISIL," McCain said.

He said the committee would also consider proposing legislation if needed to achieve goals outlined by the king during his meeting with committee members.

It was not immediately clear which arms shipments were being held up. The State Department, which oversees foreign military sales, had no immediate comment on the issue.

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