Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that Jordan was in desperate need of weapons in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) terrorists, and he joined with other members of a key Senate committee to demand the Obama administration expedite military equipment to the country.
The South Carolina Republican said Jordanian King Abdullah II was "very committed to delivering a message to ISIL but his capabilities are not there to defeat ISIL."
Graham made the comments in an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN.
ISIS posted a video on social media Tuesday showing the pilot, Muath al-Kasaesbeh, 26, being burned alive
on Jan. 3. The Jordanian air force lieutenant was captured after his plane crashed in Syria on Christmas Eve.
"He's running out of fuel and bombs," Graham said of Abdullah. "We will give him more bombs and more fuel — and they will put every fighter in the air they can.
"But at the end of the day, it's going to take a regional force beyond Jordan," he said, which would include U.S. ground troops.
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Graham joined 25 other bipartisan members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to sign a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel calling on the administration to immediately send aircraft parts, night-vision equipment and other weapons to Jordan.
"This heinous event reveals a new low for ISIL and highlights the urgent need to support the efforts of Jordan in its fight to secure the integrity of its territory and the stability of the region against violent extremists," the senators said in the letter.
The committee is chaired by Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain. Its ranking Democrat is Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island.
Noting that Abdullah had begged for the aid in a Tuesday meeting with the panel, "we were concerned to hear from the king that Jordan is experiencing complications and delays in obtaining certain types of military equipment through our foreign military sales system," the senators wrote.
"Specifically, Jordan is seeking to obtain aircraft parts, additional night-vision equipment and precision munitions that the king feels he needs to secure his border and robustly execute combat air missions into Syria," they said.
The lawmakers asked for a briefing for congressional staff by Feb. 13 for a status report on efforts to speed up aid to the nation.
"We believe that Jordan’s requests need to be addressed expeditiously, commensurate with their urgent operational needs in the fight against ISIL," the senators wrote.
They called on the administration to "adjudicate the cases associated with various requests made by the Jordanian Armed Forces with a sense of urgency … and in the context of their determined resolve to fight ISIL and the strengthening of our bilateral relationship and security cooperation."
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration would consider any aid package put forward by Congress, but that the White House would be expecting a specific request from Jordan's government.
In the current fiscal year, the United States is providing Jordan with $1 billion in economic and military assistance. The Defense Department is also giving an unspecified amount of help to Jordan to secure its border with Syria.
ISIS militants have snatched up significant swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq over the past year. Jordan has been mounting air raids in Syria as part of the U.S.-led alliance against the Islamic State.
McCain said later Wednesday that he expected the committee to swiftly approve any such legislation. He repeated his criticism that the Obama administration has "no strategy" to defeat ISIS.
He said he hoped the video of Kasaesbeh's death would not only galvanize U.S. leadership but "the Arab world."
The brutal murder of Kasaesbeh has led irate Jordanians to clamor for revenge against ISIS, and Jordan early Wednesday executed two prisoners who were to be exchanged for the pilot.
"This is the worst type of atrocity imaginable," Rep. Peter King
, a GOP member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Newsmax of Kasaesbeh's murder on Tuesday. "We thought the beheadings were as far as one could go. To go beyond that, to burning someone alive, this is savagery.
"It shows what animals we are up against," he added. "These are not people you can negotiate with. These are not people who in any way you can reason with.
"You have to destroy them. You have to kill them."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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