The video purporting to show a Jordanian pilot being burned to death at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a defiant message to the countries fighting against them, according to Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA.
"They're sending a message that they will continue on, no matter what we throw at them." said Morell. "They're trying to intimidate the West, they're trying to intimidate nations from joining the coalition in fighting against them," said Morell.
In the video, the pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh is forced to walk through what ISIS says is destruction by U.S. led airstrikes. Jordan, a Muslim country and staunch U.S. ally, is part of the U.S.-led coalition that's fighting ISIS. Despite the barbaric video, Morell doesn't think ISIS' intimidation tactics will work.
"The first beheading that they did was what brought the international community together the first time and I think this will likely backfire too," said Morell. "There will be an outcry internationally."
The terror group already controls about a third of Iraq and Syria and poses the risk of spilling over into neighboring Jordan.
"The Jordanians are deeply concerned about ISIS coming across the border and young men being radicalized into the Islamic cause," said Morell.
The 22-minute video released Tuesday includes high-end motion design and multiple camera angles. Morell called it, "Madison Avenue quality." The slick style has become a signature of the terror group's propaganda machine that seeks to glorify the terror group's cause. Morell says it's a prime example of how Westerners have contributed to ISIS.
"I think those from Western Europe, those fighters from Canada, those few fighters from the United States, I think they are bringing those skills with them to Iraq and Syria and that's what you see in this video," said Morell.
Jordan had offered to release a failed female suicide bomber in return for the pilot. In doing so, it became the first government to publicly try to negotiate with ISIS. But Jordan's tone has changed dramatically since the video of the execution was released, vowing "revenge" and "punishment" for the death of it soldier.
When asked why the U.S. hasn't been able to get those involved despite video evidence, Morell said the U.S. is working on it but that it's a difficult, time-consuming effort.
"It is not easy to pinpoint individuals at a particular time at a particular point in the earth," said Morell.
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