Supporting is building in Congress for increased U.S. military assistance to Jordan in the wake of the murder by immolation of a Jordanian air force pilot by his Islamic State militant captors.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday that Jordan's King Abdullah II must be given "all of the military equipment" he needs to combat ISIL, the acronym for the group.
"It was just absolutely painful to talk" to the king about the death of the Jordanian air force pilot, Lt. Muath Al-Kasaesbeh, said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
Manchin said the Jordanians are willing to fight, saying he expects "very quick movement" from the Armed Services Committee on getting them the equipment they need.
"The Saudis have to engage and the Kurds have to engage," he said, "and we're going to support them."
Manchin said the king did not ask for ground troops in his talks with lawmakers.
On the House side, Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the king "expressed frustration that it takes so long for o ur bureaucracy to get help to him."
"I think we have to support the leaders ... who are trying to encourage Muslim leaders to reclaim their religion," Thornberry said.
Appearing Wednesday morning with Manchin on MSNBC, Thornberry said he hopes the death of the 26-year-old Jordanian pilot has impact on the West because "that sort of cruelty is pretty unimaginable for most of us."
Thornberry said he believes the U.S. is not "the target audience" for IS, which he said is in competition with al-Qaida for supremacy in the Middle East.
Kaine said that Abdullah told lawmakers this is a primarily a regional "jihad" problem and said the king told them that "we have to defeat this within our own region because it's our position."
"I thought that was a very courageous position, but also an honest one," Kaine added.
President Barack Obama joined the king at the White House Tuesday evening in vowing not to let up in the fight against the Islamic State group.
Obama hosted Abdullah at the White House for a hastily arranged meeting, hours after a video emerged online purportedly showing the pilot being burned to death by the militant group. Abdullah, who was on a previously scheduled trip to Washington, arrived after nightfall and made no remarks to reporters as he and Obama sat side by side in the Oval Office.
In the meeting, Obama offered "his deepest condolences" to the king over the pilot's death, the White House said. "The president and King Abdullah reaffirmed that the vile murder of this brave Jordanian will only serve to steel the international community's resolve to destroy ISIL," said White House spokesman Alistair Baskey, using an acronym for the extremist group.
Al-Kaseasbeh, who fell into the hands of the militants in December when his Jordanian F-16 crashed in Syria, is the only pilot from the U.S.-led coalition to have been captured to date.
His death sparked outrage in Jordan, where the country's participation in the coalition against the Islamic State group has not been popular. The video emerged following a weeklong drama over a possible prisoner exchange with an al-Qaida operative imprisoned in Jordan.
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