Report

Islamic State Publishes Interview with Captured Jordanian Pilot

The Islamic State published a purported interview Monday with captured Jordanian pilot First Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh in the militant group’s monthly online English magazine, Dabiq.

JORDAN-SYRIA-IRAQ-CONFLICT-US
Jordanians gather outside a mosque during Friday prayers, following a demonstration against the Islamic State group and demanding the freedom of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, in downtown Amman on December 26, 2014. Maaz, a 26-year-old first lieutenant in the Jordanian air force, was captured by the Islamic State group earlier this week after his F-16 jet crashed while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria. AFP PHOTO/ KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Islamic State published a purported interview Monday with captured Jordanian pilot First Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh in the militant group’s monthly online English magazine, Dabiq. In the interview, Kaseasbeh said his F-16 fighter jet was shot down by a heat-seeking missile near the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. The United States has denied that Islamic State militants shot down the warplane. Kaseasbeh is the first military pilot from the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State to have been captured. According to officials, the Jordanian government has appealed to Turkey for help in securing the pilot’s release. Meanwhile, over a thousand inmates of a Homs prison are reportedly on hunger strike, protesting poor treatment and lack of food and medicine, and demanding their release. Some of the prisoners were detained after participating in anti-government protests in 2011 and have been sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Iraq

Iraqi security forces backed by pro-government militias seized large parts of the town of Dhuluiyah, north of the capital of Baghdad, Monday from Islamic State militants. According to a police captain, Iraqi forces have taken control of central Dhuluiyah, which holds government offices, and have trapped Islamic State militants, who captured the town in June, in pockets in the northwest. Meanwhile, the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Monday north of Baghdad that hit a funeral killing 16 people and wounding 34 others.

Headlines

  • Arab U.N. delegations endorsed on Monday a Palestinian draft resolution that calls for a peace deal with Israel within a year and an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories by 2017.
  • Brent crude oil fell to $56.74 a barrel on Tuesday, its lowest since May 2009, despite lost supply from Libya, where firefighters work to extinguish a blaze at el-Sidr oil port.
  • A Bahraini court issued sentences to 12 people charged with a February bombing that killed a policeman, including sentencing two to death.
  • A 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit Iran’s sparsely populated southern district of Shonbeh Tuesday.

Arguments and Analysis

A kingdom fit for an oil price ordeal’ (Roula Khalaf, Financial Times)

“Saudi Arabia proved unwilling or unable to arrest the slide in oil prices in recent months, and debate has raged over Riyadh’s motives. Was it deliberately contributing to the depression of prices to devastate the economy of its regional rival, Iran? Was it engaged in an American-Saudi ploy to intensify the pressure on Russia?

Neither, as it turned out. Saudi Arabia has not abandoned its traditional policy of separating oil strategy from foreign policy, even if it is likely to relish the secondary effects of its behaviour on states with which it disagrees.”

Turkey’s AKP and Public Morality’ (Evren Savci, MERIP)

“Thus the AKP’s gender and sexuality politics is neither a coincidence nor a cloak for other, more important agendas. When the AKP government’s talk turns to abortion, C-sections and co-ed student housing, it is not to distract Turkish citizens from real matters, but it is because these are the very real matters of the nation today.”

Ongoing instability hurts Yemeni businesses’ (Al Monitor)

“He blames his woes on the continuing political disarray that accompanied the Houthis’ Sept. 21 military victory in Sanaa. Following their seizure of a major military installation, the group, whose members are predominantly Zaidi Shiites, have quickly amassed unprecedented power. They have inserted themselves as decision makers in several government institutions, typically subverting state security.

The Houthis and their supporters argue they have filled a security vacuum that the state couldn’t. At the national level, they are locked in a fierce battle with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), attempting to drive the militant group out of strongholds in remote areas of Yemen.

This upheaval has shaken Yemen’s already vulnerable political foundations to their core, undermining Yemen’s economy and central government, economists and politicians say.”

— Mary Casey-Baker

KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary