Jordan’s King offers insight into war on terror. Jordan’s King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein pulled back the veil on some of the myths confronting the Middle East and the failures of the Western World to confront Daesh (ISIS) during an interview on the American TV News program 60 Minutes Sunday (Sept. 25, 2016). The West needs to do a better job to recognize the real goals of ISIS and better understand the Arab and Muslim Worlds
By Ray Hanania
Jordan’s King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein pulled back the veil on some of the myths confronting the Middle East and the failures of the Western World to confront Daesh (ISIS) during an interview on the American TV News program 60 Minutes Sunday (Sept. 25, 2016).
Among his most important points is to point out the mistakes that past administrations have made regarding their relations and interventions into Arab countries like Iraq and Syria.
King Abdullah, who was crowned in 1999 following the death of his father King Hussein ibn Talal, argued convincingly that the major flaw of the West was to fail to recognize the real goal of al-Qaeda and ISIS, which goes far beyond simply killing Americans or civilians.
The real goal of the terrorists, King Abdullah explained, is for their violence to provoke the West to take drastic steps that punish an entire people — the Arab and Muslim Worlds, for the actions of only a few. That provocation would then push many of the youth in the Arab and Muslim World to be pushed into the arms and support of the Ikhras extremists like ISIS and al-Qaeda.
“Well, so if you look at the spectrum and understand that 90 percent of us are traditionalists and have an affinity for Christianity, Judaism, I mean we’re all the three monotheistic religions, us being the younger one, and that our faith decrees the understanding of Judaism and Christianity, then we understand where we all are. It’s that misperception with the takfiri jihadists, that’s where the fight is. And they represent probably two percent of Sunni Islam. That’s where the problem is. And if we’re being pushed into the corner through Islamophobia, that’s where the danger is, where we as allies, are not understood,” King Abdullah said during the 60 Minutes segment reported by CBS Journalist Scott Pelley.
Abdullah confirmed Pelley’s characterization of his concern that if Islamophobia takes even greater hold, Muslims, especially the young who are not radicalized today will be forced into that corner.
“Well, they’re going to feel isolated. They’re going to feel marginalized. They’re going to feel that, victimized. Which is exactly what ISIS, al-Qaeda want. I mean, you know, why fly two aircrafts into the Twin Towers in New York? It’s to create hatred from the West towards Islam so that you can panic the majority of Muslims to feel that they’re victimized and push them over into the extremist camp,” King Abdullah said.
The 60 Minutes program also noted that although Jordan has absorbed 1.5 million of refugees from the conflict in Syria, he said Jordan had reached a breaking point both economically and in terms of safety. Jordan recently stopped refugees from coming into the country, and King Abdullah explained it has a lot to do with the terrorists and extremists hiding among the refugees hoping to enter Jordan to expand their conflict into Jordan.
“Pressure on the King is rising,” Pelley said. “… an ISIS bomb in June killed seven Jordanian soldiers. Abdullah closed the Syrian border. … Now, with the crossing closed, only the long arm of the U.N. is lifting aid over the line to nearly 100,000 trapped refugees. Jordan says that ISIS has infiltrated the camp on the Syrian side. But, even so, the kingdom has just agreed to set up food and water distribution for those who are stranded.”
King Abdullah acknowledged he was frustrated by the failure of the West to understand the Arab and Muslim World as they confront terrorism from those regions.
“They seem to understand us better than we know each other. And as a result you can see the train on the track coming to the, to the wreck and we do advise that, if we keep going that way, it’s pretty obvious to some of us what’s going to happen. And you know, you can only express your views as much and as emotionally as you can,” King Abdullah said.
“The ethnic makeup of the region is pretty glaringly obvious for us that live in the region, that advisers and think tanks in the West seem to know us better than we supposedly know ourselves. I mean, Syria, when it started, everybody was saying six months. And I said, ‘Look, you know, if you’re saying six months, I’m saying six years.’ We’re in for the long haul, not only in Syria and Iraq, but for the whole region and for the world, unfortunately.”
Click here to view the 60 Minutes video report by reporter Scott Pelley and read the transcript of the interview.
Without elaborating, King Abdullah also criticized the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
“Why did you allow nearly a million and a half Syrians to come into your country?” Pelley asked.
“Well we really didn’t have much choice. I mean they were flooding across the border, being shot by the Syrian regime. And you know Jordan has always been a place that opens it arms to refugees from many countries, unfortunately. But then it got to a point where, you know, we’re now at 20 percent increase of our population. And the huge burden on our country we’re in dire straits,” King Abdullah replied.
The interview did not address the rising violence by Israeli soldiers next door to Jordan against Christian and Muslims living under Israel’s brutal and oppression military occupation.
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