As we’ve stated in yesterday’s article titled “IA Preps to Retake Mosul as King’s Rage Continues,” the UAE and Jordanian Air Forces had appeared to have initiated a series of airstrikes inside Iraq that was in support of the IA’s coming Mosul offensive. In yesterday’s piece we also stated that the Islamic State would probably try to launch a series of attacks in Baghdad and quite possibly attempt to target Jordan and Saudi Arabia in order to open up another front in response to Jordan’s air campaign. Apparently the Jordanian government seems to agree, since they’ve massed thousands of troops along the Jordan-Iraq border with POE Trebil being heavily reinforced. POE Trebil is important due to the fact that its the gateway to Jordan and the most direct route to Amman other than the highway leading from Deraa of Southern Syria. These troops are likely deployed to serve as a blocking force to keep IS fighters from entering the country to stage attacks. We assess that any Jordanian ground operation inside Iraq will be limited to Jordanian Special Operations Forces (JSOF) forces conducting search and rescue OPs in the event IS shoots down any of their aircraft.
Jordan masses ‘thousands’ of troops on Iraqi border to counter IS
IA Preps to Retake Mosul as King’s Rage Continues
JSOF: Drawing the line in the sand against IS
The support hub that will likely have the most affect on IS’ ability stage operations into Jordan (or Saudi Arabia for that matter) is Ar Rutbah. The ISF’s border checkpoint at POE Trebil had already fallen to IS in JUN 14, which resulted in Jordan increasing security at the border checkpoint on the Jordanian side of the border. We assess that future Jordanian/UAE airstrikes will include targets in the Rutbah-area to degrade IS’ ability to send supplies and reinforcements to forward-deployed units. However, we will likely begin to start seeing the Jordanian Air Force decreasing their daily sorties in order to conserve ammo and not place their airframes under too much stress. However, they will eventually be forced to request more material support from the US government to sustain even a minimal strike capability. Without it, we don’t see the Jordanian’s effectiveness lasting beyond this month.
The graphic above depicts how IS fighters stage from Rutbah to conduct attacks targeting IA border checkpoints along the Jordan and Saudi borders.
With that said, the Jordanian government is concerned that IS fighters from Rutbah will be dispatched to assist sleeper cells that are already operating inside Jordan to launch attacks – which is why the Army has massed troops along the border. The disrupted 2012 plot IS – still known at the time as AQI/ISI (as in the Islamic State of Iraq) – had planned to launched a Mumbai-style attack remains firmly lodged in the minds of all senior General Intelligence Directorate (GID) official’s minds. A big reason for their concern is the fact that the sleeper cell in question had received considerable support from IS fighters in Iraq’s Anbar Province. The attack planned called for an 11-man assault force executing diversionary attacks targeting two shopping malls with suicide bombers. While security forces were responding to the bombings, the main force would move on to their primary targets in the Aboun District, which is the home for many western diplomats and their families who were also on the target deck. The gunmen were to have engaged security forces and bystanders with small-arms while wearing SVESTs with the intent of fighting their way to the objective at which time they would detonate themselves. This attack was to have been culminated with mortars being fired into the district by a separate support element. By the way, this also happens to be one of the game plans IS sleeper cells inside the US may be planning. For more info on the Mumbai Attack model see the following article from our Target America series:
ISIS: Target America
Jordan ‘foils major al-Qaeda plot’
The 11-man sleeper cell that Jordanian security forces arrested in 2012.
Source: The Daily Telegraph (UK)
JSOF and other Jordanian security forces will have their hands full in securing the border and disrupting IS sleeper cell attempts at executing attacks inside major population centers such as Amman. The 2012 plot was only a taste. In fact, the past year saw several security sweeps in the country targeted IS support nodes. Already we’re seeing indicators that JSOF units stationed near Amman are on full-alert, which suggests a series of counter-terror operations may be executed in the near-future. JSOF personnel are also operating along both the Syrian and Iraqi borders. We expect Jordan’s conventional ground forces and JSOF units to maintain a defensive posture along both borders and interdict infiltration attempts by jihadists. However, we’re not so sure they will be able to completely stop the cells already located inside Jordan’s major population centers – and there will be attempts by ISIS to launch attacks inside Jordan. They won’t try to “invade” Jordan as some have speculated since they have plenty of fighters already in the country. You can also expect for IS’ propaganda machine to increase videos and postings targeting Jordan’s refugee population to incite further unrest – and we’re not just talking about the refugees from Syria either. We may see IS make a direct appeal to Jordan’s Palestinian population (some of which are Syrian refugees themselves), which would likely be an extension of their Gaza IO operations. We assess the conditions at the refugee camps and treatment of the Palestinian community in the country – both real and perceived – will become recurring themes in IS’ IO messaging. Last summer’s riot at the Zaatari Camp is a possible indicator of what may be in store for Jordan. The next few months are going to get very, very interesting…
Jordanian escalation against ISIS may lead to surge in terror attacks in Kingdom
Worried about terror attacks at home, Jordan steps up arrests of suspected Syria jihadists
Why Jordan Doesn’t Want More Palestinians
Jordan admits to barring entry of Palestinian refugees from Syria
Jordan fears new wave of Palestinian refugees
Syria crisis: Deadly clash in Jordan’s Zaatari camp
For more info on how Jordan fits into the scheme of things, check out the following articles:
Additional info on IS’ Gaza efforts: