Death by fire

The so-called Islamic State (which is no state at all) exceeded its level of depravity by executing the Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh that it captured several weeks ago by setting him on fire and burning him alive.  This caused a large negative reaction around the world including in the Middle East.   The State of Jordan immediately executed by hanging two Iraqi Al Qaeda terrorists that they held, one of whom was captured when her suicide belt failed to explode.  Her husband’s did explode killing 60 in a wedding in a hotel in Amman several years ago.  King Abdullah II was visiting Pres. Obama in the White House, but immediately left and flew back to Amman.  The pilot’s father in Jordan called for increased actions again the IS and this call had national support.   The Pres. of Iraq called on Jordan to ally with it in the ground war against the IS forces.  King Abdullah upon his return vowed “unrelenting war” against the IS.

Those of you who think that death by fire is a rare and uncivilized punishment should be aware that this was the favorite means of murdering people adopted by the Spanish Inquisition for a period of 350 years, starting in 1478 and ending in 1834.  The process was called auto-da-fe, meaning “act of faith,” in which those found guilty by the courts of the Inquisition, which was an arm of the Catholic Church, were executed by the Spanish State.   Those executed were in the main Jews who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism and were suspected of reverting to Jewish practices.  Praying on Saturday, eating kosher meat, owning a Hebrew book and “Judaizing” (saying anything positive about Judaism), were all capital offences, that could result not only in the death of that individual, but also of his or her whole family and the confiscation of all their property.  Of course, their property was divided between the Church and the State, so it was an incentive for them to torture and murder conversos or marranos (derogatory), as the converts and their descendants were called.  The burning process was very orchestrated as a show for the population, usually carried out in the main square of the city, the victims were tied to a stake and given a last chance to confess their sins.  If they did they were garrotted, if they refused they were burnt alive.   It is estimated that between 30-50,000 people were murdered by the Catholic Church and the States of Spain and Portugal in this manner.

By carrying out this particularly grisly murder and making the video available for all to see, the IS are making their own enemies.   The same applies to the beheading murder of two Japanese journalists, one who went to rescue the other and was guilty of nothing.  It has made the Japanese nation a convinced enemy of IS, a gratuitous result that the IS probably approves since they regard them all as infidels.  As time goes on, more and more people and nations around the world are jumping on the anti-Islamist bandwagon, but so far without being very effective.  The only two things that have effectively stopped the IS in their tracks are the allied air attacks led by the USAF and the Kurdish ground forces (including the Pesh Merga).  What is needed is a more coherent and effective ground campaign to defeat the IS forces throughout Syria and Iraq before they spread even further.



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