It Wasn’t Their War

leadWhatever legitimacy the Islamic State had in Jordan was incinerated along with Muath al-Kaseasbeh’s body.

AMMAN, Jordan—No one is sharing the video, but almost everyone has seen it. Local news channels have run just one segment since Tuesday night: the 30 seconds or so right before Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh is burned alive. He stands surrounded by masked fighters in desert-toned camouflage. The camera flits between angles, showing the fighters lined up, then Muath looking straight ahead, breathing. The fighters picking up a rope, then Muath in a cage, head down. One fighter setting the rope afire, then Muath’s eyes.

February 4 was a warm day, the winter sky clear and blue above the Hashemite Kingdom’s capital. Across Amman, many Jordanians looked like they hadn’t slept much the night before—some because they’d gone to protest at al-Dakhiliya circle, demanding the execution of the Iraqi prisoner and would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, and others perhaps because they’d lain in bed, tormented by a figure dressed in orange, twisting into a flare of black and fire. Some had flocked to the diwan, a meeting place for tribes from Karak, where Kaseasbeh grew up. Relatives and friends of Kaseasbeh’s tribe raised posters of his face, chanting, “We are all Muath.”



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