Jordan reportedly offers to swap would-be bomber for captured pilot; no mention of Goto


Staff Writer

Jordanian state-run television reported Wednesday that Amman was ready to release an Iraqi failed suicide bomber on death row if the Islamic State group freed a captured Jordanian pilot, citing a government minister in the Middle East country.

The flash news report, however, did not mention Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, who is being held by the armed extremists.

Meanwhile, a video apparently linked to the Islamic State group was released shortly after 11 p.m. on Wednesday. A man featured in the video claimed the pilot, Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, came to kill members of the jihadi group. However, the video did not mention Goto, according to Kyodo News.

The latest reports suggested that last-minute negotiations were still going on between Jordan and the Islamic militants even after the deadline set by the group to kill both Goto and al-Kaseasbeh, whose fighter jet crashed in Syria in December, apparently expired at around 11 p.m.

In a video posted online a day earlier, the Islamic militants again demanded that Amman release Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber now on death row in Jordan.

In Jordan, the release of al-Rishawi, one of four suicide bombers who assaulted three hotels in Amman in 2005, was considered a possible bargaining chip to free the air force al-Kaseasbeh.

But in an apparent bid to divide Japan and Jordan, the Islamic State group demanded a straight swap of al-Rishawi for Goto, in the video posted on Tuesday.

The group did not say whether it would release the al-Kaseasbeh along with Goto if Amman freed al-Rishawi.

Overseas media reports surfaced Wednesday afternoon that Jordan and the Islamic State group had reached, or were nearing an agreement to free Goto in exchange for al-Rishawi.

According to Japanese TV station FNN, an Israeli news agency reported Wednesday that Amman and the militants had agreed to a swap.

Earlier, the Jordan News website had reported that al-Rishawi was transferred from one prison to another in preparation for her handover to Islamic State militants.

But three high-ranking Japanese officials in Tokyo contacted by The Japan Times remained highly skeptical of the reports.

“The situation is not like that at all,” one of them said. The Islamic State group “is not such an easy party to deal with.”

Another of the three officials said that a hostage swap would be conducted in an extremely sensitive manner and with the utmost secrecy until a deal was carried out “to the very end.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Japanese officials condemned the Islamic State threat issued on Tuesday but appeared to have no other options than to request the “cooperation” of the Jordanian government to help resolve the ongoing crisis.

A male voice in the video posted Tuesday said that unless its demand was met within 24 hours, the group would first kill al-Kaseasbeh and then Goto, a Japanese freelance journalist. The video features a still image of Goto holding a photo of what appears to be al-Kaseasbeh, and is accompanied by the voice of a man speaking English who identified himself as Goto.

Using unusually blunt language, a high-ranking Japanese official said Tuesday that “Japan is incompetent” in handling the hostage crisis and suggested that it would be the Jordanian government that decided any hostage swap.

Tokyo can only “ask cooperation of the Jordanian government” in order to save Goto’s life, according to the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.

The situation appeared no better on Wednesday morning when Abe convened a special Cabinet meeting on the crisis.

“We the government, facing an extremely tough situation, have asked for cooperation from the Jordanian government. . . . This policy will remain unchanged,” Abe told his ministers during a Wednesday morning meeting. “We feel strong indignation over this extremely vicious act. We resolutely condemn it.”

The man speaking in the Islamic State video blames the Jordanian government for resisting the group’s demand to free al-Rishawi in exchange for Goto.

“I’ve been told this is my last message, and I’ve also been told that the barrier (to) extracting my freedom is now just the Jordanian government delaying the handover of Sajida,” the man says in the video, which was titled “The second public message of ‘Kenji Goto Jogo’ to his family and the government of Japan.”

“Tell the Japanese government to put all their political pressure on Jordan. Time is now running very short. It is me for her,” the man says.

“What seems to be so difficult to understand? She has been a prisoner for a decade, and I’ve only been a prisoner for a few months. Her for me. A straight exchange.”

“Any more delays by the Jordanian government will mean they’re responsible for the death of their pilot, which will then be followed by mine. I only have 24 hours left to live, and the pilot has even less. Please don’t leave us to die,” the voice says.

“Anymore delaying tactics will simply see both of us getting killed. The ball is now in the Jordanians’ court.”

  • Mark Garrett

    DO IT!!

  • Barry Rosenfeld

    The Jordanians are really to be pitied here; pressured from all sides to give up this suicide bomber for Goto and the pilot is deeply unfortunate for them and for them to have these two Japanese drop on their lap is quite cruel for they they were holding fast and their own quite well until now.
    Now with these two (one since dead) along with the pilot, this was a god send for ISIS. What an unfortunate situation. The Japanese cannot dare to ask the Jordanians to do what they wouldn’t do themselves and its really a tricky situation all around. Lets hope Goto and the pilot gets out somehow.

    • AvidReaderKnowledgeSeeker111

      Jp should ask what 200 Millions can do for them from arb gvnmnts?

    • Tap Hue

      Jordanians are rather diplomatic and intelligent. Palestinians among them have lived through separation and loss. They sail the high tide quite well. Hopefully they can free their pilot too.

      • Mel Pratt

        Jordon isn’t so innocent. Jordanian corporations lure workers from Asia, with the promise of jobs, only to steal their passports and force them into slave labor in sweatshops.

        Many women form the Philippines and China are forced into the sex trade.

  • AdamNeira

    The prisoner swap proposal of ISIL/”The Islamic State” should take place. A clear trade of Kenji Goto Jogo and Mu’ath Safi al-Kaseasbeh for Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi. Al Rishawi’s release should be broadcast ASAP, within 24 hours obviously. Then further arrangements can be made for the actual swap. Proof of positive intentions is required NOW. Trust is in short supply in many parts of the Middle East. Syria especially.


    When Allah decreed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His
    Throne: My mercy prevails over My wrath.

    – Sahih Bukhari 3022

    • MAAP

      Quoting your imaginary friend to justify someone else’s murder…
      A bit philosophical and unsubstantial I see. You claim: “Proof of positive intentions is required NOW”
      How ironic you sounded…

      • Tap Hue

        The majority of people in Japan want Kenji to come home safely. To that end the government is coordinating with Jordan and likely being expedient on any secret dealings. Well the author of that statement, quoting the sunnah, does not appear to be calling for his death.

      • MAAP

        Did you really understand my point?

        *I don’t think you are living in Japan because I have yet to meet someone here who happens to have any empathy for Mr. Goto. As far as I can see, many Japanese are indeed upset at Mr. Goto for traveling back to Syria and getting kidnapped for a second time and causing all the world attention to turn to Japan itself, having him made a video claiming responsibility for his own acts prior to his trip to Racqa.

        Then again, I said many because I give you the benefit of the doubt about the ‘the majority of people in Japan want Kenji to come home…”

  • timefox

    A Jordanian government should go through the profit of the own country. A terrorist is bad completely. Even if it’ll be the worst result, don’t worry about it.

    The armed robbery company which used Islam is feces.

  • AdamNeira


    “Gov’t to issue statement of captive pilot” The Jordan Times by Khetam Malkawi Jan 28, 2015 13:25 Amman Time 20:25 Tokyo Time

    AMMAN – The government on Wednesday said that it would release a terror convict in return for the freedom of a Jordanian pilot taken hostage by the so-called Islamic State (IS), an official said. Following a Cabinet meeting, Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani said that the government offers a swap involving 1st Lt. Muath Kassasbeh and Sajida Rishawi, an Iraqi woman on the death row in the Kingdom for her involvement in Amman’s 2005 terror attacks. The brief statement did not mention Japanese hostage Kenjo Goto, whom IS claimed Tuesday it would release in return for Rishawi’s freedom, or he and Kassasbeh would be executed with 24 hours, which almost finished by the time the government statement was issued. He added that since the beginning, Jordan’s priority has been and is still to save

    This is good news. The government of Jordan has made the correct decision. The devil now is in the detail about how IS will be informed and how the exact moves and timeline of the prisoner swap will unfold.

    Prayers for Muath Kassasbeh, Kenjo Goto, the Syrian people, Jordan and all of the Middle East in the coming minutes, hours and days. Things are spinning on a dime now.

  • Gerard White

    Sounds like the reality is the pilot is already dead. Jordan suspects as much hence IS are stating a straight swap for Goto. Might still work, Jordan has nothing to lose if the pilot is already dead, and the Japanese will reward them handsomely.

    Fingers crossed they get Goto out soon.

  • Ahmad Y. Sarhan

    freedom for al-Kaseasbeh and Kenji Goto,God willing

  • Deplane

    Think, you exchange and seeing as your so close to the action better put your fences high hold your families tight and hide your wealth because your going to have a lot of visitors coming to dinner real soon. The Jordanians here in the United States are safe and are willing to throw their country under the train their not there, why worry. But when it happens oh boy will we be blamed, why don’t you help us, they will say. If both give in might as well give ISIS the middle east.

  • AvidReaderKnowledgeSeeker111

    It is the fault of the person who decided to donate 200 millions to fight terrorism in arab countries, Japan is far away and not involved in this war, no one was fighting on Jp soil. why got involved? Now, Jrdn gvmnt is not even caring about jp citzn, only thinking of its jrdn ctzn. What was the use of 200 Millions donation if the arbs didn’t care about Jpn?

  • Mel Pratt

    This shows that it is time for Japan to come into the 21st century and train an elite special operations force for such situations, when peaceful helpers are taken hostage by savages.

    • Ummm… Right on coming into the 21st century, but I think you drastically underestimate the 10th largest military in the world.

  • Mel Pratt

    Jordan knows it can make the trade, that they, when she is released, the Jordanians can have an “American Sniper” blast a hole through her from *gasp* 5 miles away, movie-style!

  • Eagle

    Who runs and finances ISIS and the terrorists? Anyway, just the tip of the iceberg. Looks like a group of influential elite do their best to drag as many countries they can into the turmoil and keep those countries involved in international feud and discord. Want to get more money? How much is enough? The pyramid scheme that kept them wealthy for hundreds of years are coming to its inevitable end? What did they expect? That’s what a pyramid scheme is about.
    War mongering, thirsty for WW3? They think we are too many of us and should just disappear? How long have they been engineering their nefarious, flatigous deadly scenario? Since WW1 ? I don’t really know what makes them think that they personally will survive.
    Pack of sick psyhopats.

  • Rebane

    I understand that Japan’s government cannot do anything on its own in this crisis/ Bur Is there a particular reason or is it a coincidence for JORDAN to be acting as a mediator for Japan in its negotiation with ISIS?

  • luce gum

    both japan and jordan have to keep away from US and UK. being recognized a friend of them is dangerous never got involved