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Maan Oh Maan
Jordan Has a Jihadi Problem Too

Just how large that problem is depends on whom you ask.

Published on: June 13, 2014
David Schenker is Aufzien Fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
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  • ljgude

    More than an uptick. After the jihadis control what they can in Syria and Iraq, jordan looks to me like a soft target this is teirs for the taking.

  • Corlyss

    Jordan has been on the jihadis’ hit list for ages. One way to destabilize the government is to flood the country with refugees from surrounding states. Once the government is destabilized and increasing amount of resources go to refugees, it’s easy to take the government down, esp. since it would likely be responsive to criticism from dimwits like Obama who place human rights objectives above existential survival.

    So! Here’s my prediction: King Abdullah will be as ruthless as his father was in crushing the jihadis; Obama will do his usual thing, i.e., criticize those struggling for national survival and refuse to back either side, because let’s face it, by now al Qaeda knows how to put a civilian political face on their ambitions. Obama will ask for both sides to exercise restraint and work for a political settlement, announce that no options are off the table but he will not send troops under any circumstances, and there goes Jordan. The US administration is nuts.

  • gabrielsyme

    King Abdullah, a rare figure of decency and reasonableness in the depressing and vicious landscape of the Middle East, is in a near-impossible position. In Syria, the gravitational pull of fighting Assad’s Alawites and other infidels is creating the next generation of Jordanian terrorists; yet because Abdullah is being pushed both by his fellow Sunni monarchs and the United States and popular Sunni opinion, he has little choice but to cooperate in creating the next existential threat to his rule (and thereby, to basic tolerance, security and freedom in Jordan).

    The toxic consequences of encouraging Syria’s rebels are starting to be felt, but we are unlikely to be near the end. Ultimately, the United States needed to make the choice that stability under Assad was preferable to the predictable terrorist nexus the rebellion has become. Not for any love of Assad, but largely because tolerance for minorities is a rare thing in the Middle East, and intolerance in the region is of a particularly deadly variety. Assad may be the devil we know, but he is far and away preferable to all the devils we don’t. In the region, the alternative options are pretty grim.

    American policy has continually made minority groups far more vulnerable – a design consequence of establishing a democratic republic in Iraq, of favouring the Sunni rebellion in Syria, and of backing Muslim Brotherhood groups in Egypt and elsewhere, and of America’s largely uncritical partnership with the Saudis, who fund much of the spread of Salafist ideology throughout the Middle East and beyond.

  • 013090

    Idealist Westerners who criticize Jordan for decreasing its rights pertaining to freedom of the press are doing no one any favors except the Jihadis. Jordan, compared to the rest of the Middle East, is far from a despotic regime. King Abdullah is one of the 2 or 3 best rulers in the entirety of the Muslim world (I also have Morroco and Oman in mind).

    Sure, in an ideal world Jordanians have those rights, and are responsible with those rights. But as we’ve seen in many other Muslim nations, most (particularly Arab ones) are not quite ready for such. It isn’t racist or xenophobic to say that, it is the simple truth. Jordan is not a despotic or tyrannical nation, and it is in both the West’s and the Jordanian’s interest to keep Jordan under Hashemite rule for the forseeable future.

  • David Holland

    “hated Shi‘a more than Jews.”

    “If Mahmoud dies,” he said, “there will be a martyr’s wedding, Allah willing.”

    Two statements that show why there will never be peace in the Middle East and why as a whole, Arabs are crazy. Individually they are are as sane as anyone else, but as a group, they take the cake

    If it all goes to hell, the only country that could save Jordan would be Israel. It would be in Israel’s best interest to save them. However, when it comes to Arabs and the West and Israel, Arabs would rather bend over and get f**k in the butt than to have Westerners or Israels come in and help them

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