Could ISIS Take Jordan Next?

(The National-UAE) Taylor Luck - Last week, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also ISIS) announced it would "soon bring the Islamic state" to "brothers in Jordan." According to senior ISIL-linked Jordanian jihadists, the former al-Qaeda affiliate has pumped $3 million into Jordan in the past month for "recruitment purposes" and to fund the medical treatment of its fighters returning from Syria. ISIL has identified Jordan as a vital "linchpin" to uniting its young caliphate. Yet even more attractive to ISIL is the stretch of Jordan Valley farmland separating Jordan from Israel and the Palestinian territories - with leaders eyeing a push into the territories and the possible "liberation of Jerusalem." But in recent months, Jordanian jihadists have served as ISIL's most vocal critics, with Abu Mohammed Al Maqdisi, who once ranked third in al-Qaeda's leadership chain, denouncing ISIL as "deviants." Key Salafist theologian Omar Mahmoud Othman has attacked the movement's massacres of minorities and referred to its leadership as "dogs." The Islamic State will likely find that repeating its successes in Jordan will not be easy, as most in the country still solidly back the Hashemite monarchy. The vast majority of Jordanians also have little appetite for the instability brought by hardline Islamist groups. Unlike the Iraqi government forces, ISIL would be up against the seasoned veterans of Jordanian intelligence and a well-trained military, who boast more than three decades of anti-terror experience. Jordanian authorities have arrested more than 200 ISIL fighters since last December along the Syrian border. Jordanian forces have engaged in a series of cross-border battles with ISIL fighters that have reportedly left 20 dead and led to more than 100 arrests.

2014-06-23 00:00:00

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