- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The United Arab Emirates has suspended participating in coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State after the extremist group captured a Jordanian pilot whose jet crashed in Syria, The New York Times reported.

Islamic State supporters made public on Tuesday video that showed Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive in a cage. The group had been holding al-Kaseasbeh prisoner since late December and recently tried to arrange with Jordan a prisoner swap for the airman. This is the first time the group has murdered a member of the U.S.-led coalition, known as Operation Inherent Resolve.

Jordan is one of five Arab allies that have been conducting airstrikes over Syria since September. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also a part of that group.

Now, one of those Arab allies is taking a step back from coalition operations and also demanding that the Pentagon step up its search-and-rescue protocol.

The United Arab Emirates wants the U.S. military to conduct rescue operations closer to the battleground in northern Iraq instead of basing those missions out of Kuwait, a tiny country wedged between southern Iraq and the Persian Gulf, The New York Times reported.

A senior U.S. military official told The New York Times that Islamic State militants were able to capture al-Kaseasbeh “within just a few minutes,” leaving coalition forces with no time to engage.

The capture of the coalition member has riled United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who last week demanded from Barbara Leaf, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to the country, an explanation for why the U.S. military was ill-equipped for rescuing pilots, The New York Times reported.

Although the United Arab Emirates is demanding more safety assurances and putting a halt to its participation in bomb runs, Combined Joint Task Force, the mouth piece for coalition operations, continues to issue semi-daily updates that names the country as one several nations conducting airstrikes in Syria.

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