King Abdullah of Jordan offers the US to send Jordanian ground forces to attack ISIS in Syria
By Ali Younes
The Times of London reported last week that King Abdullah II of Jordan had offered western leaders to send Jordanian Special Forces to Syria to fight ISIS. The report stated that the King had made the offer during NATO summit meetings in Wales on 5 September that included several bilateral talks with western leaders including American president Barak Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The report went on to say that “King Abdullah expressed his “frustration” on the international community’s pace to confront the menace the organization that calls itself “the Islamic State” or ISIS.
Jordan is one of the region’s key American and Western allies and has one of the best trained and equipped cohesive armed forces in the Arab World.
While the United States government is building up an international coalition to fight ISIS, president Obama stressed in previous statements that the US will not send ground forces to fight ISIS in either Syria or Iraq. The Jordanian offer, however, seeks to provide the international coalition with the ground forces to attack ISIS leadership and its headquarters in Syria.
Jordanian Special Forces are one of the best trained in the region and have been carefully designed to deal with different aspects of terrorist threats whether hostages rescue, or capture and kill operations. Jordan also trains regional forces on special operations in its King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center KASOTC which was jointly established and funded by the US Central Command in the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Jordanian king offer reflects the Jordanian thinking that if ISIS is not confronted on its own territories in Syria and Iraq, soon it will come very close to pose a strategic threat to Jordan.
Moreover, and in an interview with CBS’s 60 minutes last night, King Abdullah commented on the threat ISIS poses to his country and Jordan’s efforts to confront that threat saying that “We have retaliated to several contacts over the past several months to those who have come across our borders or tried to come across our borders. So we have been somewhat aggressive to make sure our borders are defended.”
The King went on to say that ISIS’s threat could have been dealt with early on before it surged to levels unseen in the region. He also pointed to ISIS unique threat due to its financial independence and not counting on foreign funding or regional benefactors because of its control of vast territories and oil production operations. “They can produce within a year, in a year cycle, up to almost a billion dollars worth of oil derivatives that they are obviously selling at a low price about $30 barrel,” he said. “Which means they can pay a lot of foreign fighters come to their country. They can buy weapons.” He said.
Commenting on the news of the Jordanian offer, one Jordanian security official told the Arab daily news, while not denying or confirming it, said yesterday that “Jordan’s readiness to participate in the US-led coalition to confront ISIS stems from the fact that ISIS represent a mortal danger to the Jordanian security and stability”
The official who spoke on the condition of anonymity also said that the Jordanian intelligence has intensified its efforts to track and arrest ISIS sympathizers in Jordan and have arrested several members of extremist groups who have crossed the borders from Syria.
Ali Younes is the Editor of the Arab Daily News. He can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org, and on twitter @clearali.
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