(CNN)The video of the pilot being burned to death may be a fancy cover to mask an operation that had gone awry. Certainly, the Islamic State could not have imagined the response it has triggered in the Middle East, with Jordanians united against it, clerics across the region loudly and unequivocally condemning the immolation and Japan ready to provide more aid and support against the terrorist group.
Deny ISIS overreaction that it wants
Meanwhile, news on the battlefield has not been good for the Islamic State. Brookings Institution scholar Kenneth Pollack describes the "stunning reversal" it has faced in Iraq. This might help explain the brutality of this latest execution and the video. The group well understands the primary purpose of terrorism, which is to induce fear and overreaction.