"Giving into murderous terrorists is horrible. Giving up on the lives of innocent human beings in the name of a principle when there might be real and serious possibilities of saving them is worse," writes Aaron David Miller.
This act of violence seems to go beyond even the horrific baseline Islamic State has established. But as tempting as it may be to see the killing as a transformative act, it probably won't be. And here's why.
"The supreme leader said that any deal that does not respect Iran’s rights would be a bad deal, and he reiterated his condition that if there is to be an agreement, all sanctions must be lifted 'in the real meaning of the word,'" writes Haleh Esfandiari.
Poor, oil-less, and often overlooked, Jordan is the little kingdom that could. But Jordan faces a growing array of existential challenges that it didn’t create and doesn’t have the resources to resolve—and that make it vulnerable.
The main takeaway from this latest atrocity is that the fight against ISIS will be a long war, measured not in terms of “defeat” so much as trying to contain its expansion in the region. Here are other issues pointed up by the latest horrors.
"Hostages taken today may nominally be victims of a single group, but they are caught up more fundamentally in a dysfunctional region-wide configuration. To end the broader problem will require brokering among leaders from Lebanon to Pakistan about the future of the region, both politically and physically," writes Robin Wright.
"It is striking that while the supreme leader has, in a manner, continued to support the Iranian negotiating team, he has also permitted this barrage of criticism of the president, his foreign minister and Iran’s negotiators at a sensitive juncture in the nuclear negotiations," writes Haleh Esfandiari.
"Despite two thousand airstrikes by American, European, and Arab warplanes since August 8th, the Islamic State has lost only one per cent of the land it seized in Iraq, and it continues to expand in Syria," writes Robin Wright.
"The latest Yemeni crisis raises the prospect of yet another Arab country where the United States faces rising dangers but has no strong partners amid a landscape of sectarian violence," writes Public Policy Scholar Robert Worth.
"If the outside world doesn’t come back to vigorously help stem the tide, Yemen may formally crumble into a failed state, with militias seizing more power and full scale war erupting among rival powers on multiple fronts," writes Robin Wright.