UWM Terrorism Expert weighs in on ISIS executions

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by Priscilla Luong

MILWAUKEE-- Two weeks after the death of Marquette University graduate James Foley, another video shows American journalist, Steven Sotloff on his knees before his beheading at the hands of ISIS militants.

Sotloff is the same man ISIS militants threatened to kill in another video claiming to show Foley's death.

"I hope that there's a point in which they are no longer able to do this or certainly see it no longer in their interest to do this," said Robert Ricigliano, a terrorism expert and professor at UW Milwaukee.

Ricigliano says what happened to Sotloff and Foley was a tragedy, but there are many layers to how the US handles intimidation from terrorist groups.

"It needs to be reflected on and mourned in that respect," said Ricigliano, "and separate that from the politics."

While many countries will pay ransoms to save detainees from terrorists, Ricigliano does not see the US backing down to ISIS.

"It's balancing the fate of a particular individual against the bigger policy issues and strategic issues that go on in the conflict in general," he said.

Ricigliano says if the US gives in, more detainees could still be killed and ISIS could release more videos of these deaths.

"If they found that this was useful in getting them what they want, they're going to keep doing it," he said.

 

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