By: Addie Klimek

I’m sure by now all of you well informed global scholars at Hathaway Brown have heard of the terror acts from the Islamic state, also known as ISIS. The most recent of these horrific acts, the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot, has left a chaotic aftermath–many countries are beginning to question their course of action in defeating this group. One of the most controversial tactics is one being used by the United States and the United Kingdom—the refusal to negotiate with ISIS for the release of any hostages. Looking at this position from the point of view of victims’ families, it’s easy to see why so many are calling for these countries to give up on their policy. However, it is a problem that runs much deeper than the $100 million being requested for most of the hostages.

While it’s easy to want to protect the lives of as many people as possible, paying this ransom is not for the greater good. Not only does giving ISIS this immense funding give them even more of an opportunity to grow and gain more power, but by paying ransom to save one life, the likelihood that the terrorist group will turn to holding hostages in the future increases. For example, one of the most powerful nations in the fight against ISIS, France, has made the decision to pay random for the release of all their citizens, and, as a result, over the past five years over one third of the hostages taken by al Qaeda and related groups have been French. So, as you can see, while paying ransom may seem like the best decision in the short term, it would only allow ISIS to grow in its terrible power and lead to more and more of these horrific kidnappings and terror acts. This is why now more than ever we need to hold strong and drain ISIS of their funds.

While I agree with our current refusal to negotiate with these terrorists, no one can deny the recent aggressive and brutal killing of the Jordanian, Muath al-Kaseasbeh. ISIS shared a video of the pilot locked inside of a cage, and the fire trail slowly reaching him until it consumed him. This event just emphasized the ruthlessness of the group, and their lack of care for human life. This will not just be a life lost and a failed attempt by ISIS to gain funds. It may be the game changer in the battle against the Islamic state. The Jordanian King Abudallah is now calling out for an “earth shaking response”, and moving thousands of troops to the border, promising to make ISIS pay for the pilot’s death. It’s clear that there will soon be big changes in this ongoing battle, so keep an eye out and stay informed.