Jordanian writer shot dead outside court after being charged with insulting Islam

Nahed Hattar was killed after being charged with offending Islam

Nahed Hattar was killed after being charged with offending Islam

Telegraph, by Sept. 25, 2016:

Aprominent Jordanian writer was shot dead by a suspected Islamist gunman on Sunday outside the courtroom where he was due to stand trial for offending Islam by sharing a cartoon on Facebook.

Nahed Hattar, a 56-year-old intellectual from Jordan’s Christian minority, was gunned down on the steps of a courthouse in Amman in what appeared to be a religiously motivated attack.

The gunman was arrested at the scene and a Jordanian security source identified him as Riyad Ismail Abdullah, a 49-year-old imam who was wearing traditional Islamic robes at the time of the shooting.

The alleged shooter recently returned from making the Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, the source said. The gunman is believed to have acted alone rather than as part of an organised group.

The high-profile murder is a fresh blow to Jordan’s image as a bastion of stability amid the sectarian violence that is wracking much of the Middle East and the latest in a long string of killings across the world linked to cartoons about Islam.

Mr Hattar was arrested in August for sharing a cartoon on his Facebook page which showed a jihadist smoking in bed with two women while Allah waits attentively at the window for him.

The jihadist orders Allah to fetch him some wine and take away the dirty plates while demanding the archangel Gabriel get him some cashew nuts.

Mr Hattar said the cartoon was intended to mock jihadists and their twisted interpretation of Islam but Jordan’s government charged him with insulting the faith and “provoking sectarian rifts”.

The writer rejected the charges and planned to fight the case. If convicted, he could have faced up to three years in prison.

“I am mocking the terrorists and their conception of hell and heaven,” Mr Hattar wrote shortly before his death. “I’m not insulting the supreme Allah, at all, on the contrary, I’m against the type of God that the terrorists worship.

Nahed Hattar was shot outside a courthouse and died in hospital in Amman CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RAAD ADAYLEH

Nahed Hattar was shot outside a courthouse and died in hospital in Amman CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RAAD ADAYLEH

Mr Hattar’s family immediately blamed Jordan’s government for failing to protect the writer, saying the decision to publicly charge him with offending Islam had made him a target for Muslim extremists.

“We hold the Ministry of Interior responsible,” said Jamal Attar, a cousin. “This is the first assassination in Jordan that targets a person over nothing but his opinion, for freedom of speech.”

Jordan’s government condemned his murder, calling it an “ugly crime” and promised “investigating the incident and holding the criminal accountable for his offense”.

Christians make up only around 4 per cent of Jordan’s 8 million residents but they live in relative affluence and usually in peace with country’ Muslim majority.

Nine seats in the 130-seat parliament are reserved for them and they hold prominent positions in the business sector and Jordan, a key Western ally, presents itself as a staunch defender of minority groups.

During his speech to the United Nations last week, Jordan’s King Abdullah said: “Every citizen is guaranteed the state’s protection for their lives, families, properties, honour, privacy, and freedom of religion and thought.”

But many diplomats and analysts worry that that the Jordanian government’s tolerant rhetoric is at odds with wide swathes of religious extremism in the country.

“Jordan’s leaders are reticent to acknowledge domestic radicalisation, including self-radicalisation,” the US State Department said in a report in June.

Around 2,000 Jordanians crossed the border to fight in Syria in 2015, according to the Soufan Group, making Jordan one of the largest per capita sources of foreign fighters.

Mr Hattar was a regular columnist for al-Akhbar, a pan-Arab newspaper based in Lebanon, where he wrote regularly against Islamic extremism.

The Left-wing writer was also a staunch supporter of the Assad regime in Syria. Most of the Jordanian public opposes the Assad regime and supports the opposition and armed rebel groups.   He was arrested several times in Jordan in the 1970s for his outspoken criticism of the Jordanian government.

On a Facebook group formed after his death, some people compared him to other recent artists and intellectuals who fell victim to violent extremism, for example the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo who were killed by gunmen in January 2015.

Others spoke critically of the decision to bring charges against him in the first place.

“The Jordanian authorities who charged Nahed Hattar with ‘insulting Islam’ and the social media storm aroused by the cartoon he shared may not have murdered him but they provided his killers with the ideological ammo to shoot him,” wrote Khaled Diab, an Egyptian-Belgian writer.


Here is the offending cartoon:


Also see:

Is the Muslim Brotherhood Collaborating with ISIS in Jordan?


All in for the Caliphate?

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, Sept. 7, 2016:

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State (ISIS) share things in common – one being the major driving force for their respective groups, which is Sharia law. Although they are rivals, it would make sense for the Brotherhood to be at least sympathetic to ISIS’s cause and even partner with them when necessary. We may be witnessing this taking place or at least at a rudimentary level in Jordan with the Muslim Brotherhood allegedly operating a militant camp for “underage children[,]” showing them “semi-ISIS” type activities. reports on the details of the camp stating:

The camp is allegedly located on the outskirts of Amman, and photographs on Ammon News show a group of young boys in the camp jumping over fire, doing pushups and crawling on the ground. Apparently the term “Semi-ISIS training” refers to combat training inspired by ISIS’ YouTube videos.

A Muslim Brotherhood leader named Zaki Bani Rushaid has denied the report affiliating his organization with the camp. He told Saraya News, “We stand to gain nothing from establishing such camps and it’s impossible that our group would carry out such actions.”

Even though the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood is allegedly illegal in Jordan, whose government shut down Brotherhood’s Amman headquarters in April, it still has a considerable influence within the country.  It also has an interest in fomenting anger with Jordanians – especially with young Palestinians that feel slighted by their government. In fact, one can argue that the more discontent the Brotherhood stirs up the better positioned they become to demand political concessions from the government – especially when many people have been calling for changes to King Abdullah II’s government such as more democratic reforms.

Some people may write off this sort of militant camp as managed by just an extreme group of individuals within the Muslim Brotherhood, but national security analyst Kyle Shideler finds these kinds of training camps may not actually deviate that much from Brotherhood doctrine. Tweeting a passage from Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s (a leading spiritual figure of the Muslim Brotherhood) book Islamic Education and Hassan Al Banna, (page 67) Shideler reveals how the Brotherhood supports “Crusader-like training” which encompasses the spiritual aspect in addition to the physical:


Furthermore, adds:

Blogger Eman Nabih points out that the link between the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS is no longer a speculation, as different Arab and Egyptian sources have revealed that the link between MB and ISIS is a reality. The two groups may focus on different Arab countries for the time being, but the ideological connection between them is clear, and, apparently, the operational ties are starting to be revealed.

Not to dismiss the nuances between various Muslim Brotherhood branches throughout the world, but people need to start asking why are there so many terror links with Brotherhood groups if they are the ‘moderate’ organization portrayed by much of the media? Why don’t all Brotherhood groups flat-out reject Hamas and cut off any ties to them? The Muslim Brotherhood/ISIS connection doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all.

Jordan is Fighting ISIS. So Why Did the Government Punish a Non-Muslim for Posting an Anti-ISIS Cartoon on Facebook?

Screen-Shot-2016-08-18-at-3.27.58-PMWhy is ‘division’ or Fitna such a serious crime in Islam?

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, Aug. 18, 2016:

In the West, some  tend to dismiss the threat of Sharia law, claiming incorrectly that it applies only to Muslims.

However, this is far from the truth. Let’s take a look at a recent example from the ‘moderate’ country of Jordan. Nahed Hattar, a Jordanian writer, turned himself into authorities after Jordan’s Prime Minister Hani Mulki called for an investigation of an ‘offensive’ cartoon that surfaced on Facebook.

This cartoon which allegedly shows the “God of Daesh” serving a jihadi in paradise is translated by Anwar el-Iraqi, an Arabic Affairs analyst for the Clarion Project:

In Green: In paradise…

Allah: “May your evening be joyous, Abu Saleh, do you need anything?”

Jihadist: “Yes Lord, bring me the glass of wine from other there and tell Jibril [the Angel Gabriel] to bring me some cashews. After that send me an eternal servant to clean the floor and take the empty plates with you.”

Jihadist continues: “Don’t forget to put a door on the tent so that you knock before you enter next time, your gloriousness.”

Hattar– who is a non-Muslim— said he posted the drawing to ridicule terrorists and their perspective on God and heaven and did not intend for it to be an insult to God.

Another article by Al Jazeera reveals that, in addition to mocking ISIS, Hattar was also exposing the Muslim Brotherhood. The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (which has demonstrated support for Hamas) is a major Islamist force within Jordanian society and has been known to stir up social unrest and exploit the anger of Palestinian Jordanians for the Brotherhood’s political gain.

Khaled Qudah, a media expert, explains to The Jordan Times that, “Hattar can be detained pending further investigation for violating article 150 of the Penal Code that bans contempt of religions and also for violating the Electronic Crimes Law[.]” Qudah continues,

What Hattar did incites hatred and sectarianism and may cause division… Preserving national security and social harmony and the public interest comes before freedom of expression even in international law. [Emphasis added]

Outside the context of Islamic law, we might be incredulous about be how a cartoon aimed at exposing radical Islam could be considered a threat to a Muslim nation’s national security.

To understand what he meant in the Islamic context, though, requires a closer look at the words used to describe the offense. The mocking cartoon, Qudah said, “incites hatred and sectarianism and may cause division.”

The incitement of division is a primary concern in Islam, as it relates to the stability of the Islamic regime. This concept is called “Fitna.” In the Historical Dictionary of Islamic Fundamentalism, Mathieu Guider defines it this way:

The Arabic term fitna refers to a division within a Muslim nation (umma) that includes a test of faith that can even lead to rebellion, chaos, or sedition. Historically, it is derived from the first Islamic civil war that occurred following the assassination of CaHph Uthman in 656. This war, which lasted from 656 to 661, was called the fitna. The term has since been used to describe a period when a Muslim community becomes unbalanced and then fragmented.

Moreover, it can mean that a person or group intentionally causes upheaval between people to create a situation to test the peoples’ faith. Fitna is also often used to illustrate a group that has undergone extreme moral and emotional grievances that then may compromise their faith and lead to a greater focus on material or worldly gains rather than spiritual ones.

For example, the Arab Spring has been qualified in Saudi Arabia as a fitna because it can weaken the community from within. The duality that occur s when being affected by a rebellion or a revolution is what can tempt Muslims to shy away from or even deny the authority of the Muslim leaders who are ruling in the name of Allah. Also, the temptations brought on by Western societies are another example of how division can occur.

The fear of fitna by the fundamentalists is a major reason why secular or pluralist governments are forbidden by sharia (Islamic law). The elements of such forms of government are seen to give too much temptation and lead to an inevitable division among the umma. For Islamic fundamentalists, there is only one true party: the Party of Allah (Hizbullah). This is so important because the Islamic state is based on the rhetoric of solidarity and unification. [Emphasis added.]

Especially when we see the seriousness with which this offense is taken in Islam, it’s clear that fitna is a concept that has a lot more in common with what we would consider the “political” rather than the religious.

Another major reason for such laws is essentially to protect Islam – which is why we aren’t seeing Muslims being thrown in jail for blaspheming the name of Christ, for example. Or when a member of Jordan’s Parliament, Khalil Attieh, displayed his hatred of Jews on television in 2014 by stating, “By Allah, it is an honor to incite against the Jews…”

We have seen before how Jordan’s King Abdullah has declared,

I am a Muslim and we are all Muslims, and extremists do not represent Islam. Our duty is to protect the reputation of Islam and Muslims.

Abdullah sees ISIS as on the periphery of Islam and seeks to delegitimize them; however, his government is going after an image that mocks ISIS’s alleged view of God and heaven.

Apparently, ISIS’s views on these matters aren’t as twisted as Jordan claims them to be in regards to Islamic beliefs.

If Jordan is seriously attempting to represent a ‘moderate’ form of Islam, why won’t they make this an opportunity to show how jihadists– who murder people so they can enjoy fleshly desires in paradise while being catered to (as portrayed in the cartoon)– have no place in their version of Islam?

Jordan is essentially upholding blasphemy laws that legitimize ISIS’s radical Islamic ideology. Just how disgusting is this ideology? It justifies the boiling of six men in containers of tar for being “accused of collaborating with the U.S.-led coalition and Kurdish forces[,]” and the killing of twenty-five people by forcing them in a tub of nitric acid for supposedly “spying and collaborating with Iraqi security forces[.]” Shouldn’t these be the guys Jordan seeks to prosecute?

According to Al Bawaba, public outcry over the cartoon ensued on social media and not only were some Twitter users insulted, but also seemed concerned about “civil order[.]” Of course, being in a Muslim majority country they seem well aware of the hyper-sensitivity of mocking Islam, which is ultimately found in Islamic texts:

Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment. –Quran 33:57

Narrated ‘Ali: The Prophet said, “Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire.” –Sahih Bukhari 1.3.106

Jordanian officials like King Abdullah help further advance this sentiment by denouncing insults to Islam like cartoons mocking Islam’s Prophet Mohammad and intimidating those who think about doing such things.

So, we have a supposed ‘moderate’ country in Jordan that punishes Muslims as well as non-Muslims for matters like blasphemy at fitna.

Even in places in Europe Sharia might not be the law of the land but because of fear of Muslim outrage the governing authorities may discourage or even punish those who make offensive or insensitive remarks about Islam – creating de facto blasphemy laws.

C.I.A. Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied Black Market, Officials Say

The funeral in Rimoun, Jordan, for Anwar Abu Zaid, a police captain who was killed after he attacked a police training center in November. American and Jordanian officials said they believed that the weapons he used had been meant for a program to train Syrian rebels. CreditNasser Nasser/Associated Press

The funeral in Rimoun, Jordan, for Anwar Abu Zaid, a police captain who was killed after he attacked a police training center in November. American and Jordanian officials said they believed that the weapons he used had been meant for a program to train Syrian rebels. CreditNasser Nasser/Associated Press



AMMAN, Jordan — Weapons shipped into Jordan by the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia intended for Syrian rebels have been systematically stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives and sold to arms merchants on the black market, according to American and Jordanian officials.

Some of the stolen weapons were used in a shooting in November that killed two Americans and three others at a police training facility in Amman, F.B.I. officials believe after months of investigating the attack, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The existence of the weapons theft, which ended only months ago after complaints by the American and Saudi governments, is being reported for the first time after a joint investigation by The New York Times and Al Jazeera. The theft, involving millions of dollars of weapons, highlights the messy, unplanned consequences of programs to arm and train rebels — the kind of program the C.I.A. and Pentagon have conducted for decades — even after the Obama administration had hoped to keep the training program in Jordan under tight control.

The Jordanian officers who were part of the scheme reaped a windfall from the weapons sales, using the money to buy expensive SUVs, iPhones and other luxury items, Jordanian officials said.

The theft and resale of the arms — including Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades — have led to a flood of new weapons available on the black arms market. Investigators do not know what became of most of them, but a disparate collection of groups, including criminal networks and rural Jordanian tribes, use the arms bazaars to build their arsenals. Weapons smugglers also buy weapons in the arms bazaars to ship outside the country.

The F.B.I. investigation into the Amman shooting, run by the bureau’s Washington field office, is continuing. But American and Jordanian officials said the investigators believed that the weapons a Jordanian police captain, Anwar Abu Zaid, used to gun down two American contractors, two Jordanians and one South African had originally arrived in Jordan intended for the Syrian rebel-training program.

The officials said this finding had come from tracing the serial numbers of the weapons.

Mohammad H. al-Momani, Jordan’s minister of state for media affairs, said allegations that Jordanian intelligence officers had been involved in any weapons thefts were “absolutely incorrect.”

“Weapons of our security institutions are concretely tracked, with the highest discipline,” he said. He called the powerful Jordanian intelligence service, known as the General Intelligence Directorate, or G.I.D., “a world-class, reputable institution known for its professional conduct and high degree of cooperation among security agencies.” In Jordan, the head of the G.I.D. is considered the second most important man after the king.

Representatives of the C.I.A. and F.B.I. declined to comment.

The State Department did not address the allegations directly, but a spokesman said America’s relationship with Jordan remained solid.

“The United States deeply values the long history of cooperation and friendship with Jordan,” said John Kirby, the spokesman. “We are committed to the security of Jordan and to partnering closely with Jordan to meet common security challenges.”

The training program, which in 2013 began directly arming the rebels under the code name Timber Sycamore, is run by the C.I.A. and several Arab intelligence services and aimed at building up forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The United States and Saudi Arabia are the biggest contributors, with the Saudis contributing both weapons and large sums of money, and with C.I.A. paramilitary operatives taking the lead in training the rebels to use Kalashnikovs, mortars, antitank guided missiles and other weapons.

The existence of the program is classified, as are all details about its budget. American officials say that the C.I.A. has trained thousands of rebels in the past three years, and that the fighters made substantial advances on the battlefield against Syrian government forces until Russian military forces — launched last year in support of Mr. Assad — compelled them to retreat.

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Jordanian Intelligence Officers Killed in Terror Attack

Such attacks on security forces in Jordan are rare

Such attacks on security forces in Jordan are rare

Center for Security Policy, by Daniel Brennan, June 6, 2016:

Five Jordanians were killed in what the state called a “terror attack” on Monday June 6th. The attack occurred around 7:00 a.m. local time in the Palestinian refugee camp in Baqa’a, where around 100,000 refugees are sheltered.

Mohammed Momani, a government spokesperson, stated that the attack targeted Jordan’s intelligence agency office, housed along the main street of the camp. Three of the five Jordanians killed were listed as intelligence officers, while a telephone operator and a guard also died in the attack.

Al Rai newspaper reported that a single assailant armed with an automatic weapon drove towards the office and then began an assault on the camp’s intelligence compound. Reports suggest that the gunman is still at large.

The Baqa’a camp was founded in the late 1960s as a result of the Arab-Israeli war. Though originally sheltered in tents and scrap materials, the Palestinian refugees transitioned the shantytown into a sort of de-facto city for Palestinian refugees by using concrete materials and UN provided prefabricated shelters.

Alongside Palestinian refugees, Jordan also hosts refugees from the Syrian civil conflict, caring for over 600,000 displaced Syrians. Jordan’s second largest refugee camp, Zaatari, hosts around 80,000 and is located less than 20 miles from the Baqa’a camp, about an hour drive.

Still, no announcements have been made as to the identity of the individual who carried out the attack or his/her motive. In a statement to the press, Mr. Momani called the actions “cowardly,” and outlined that it was carried out by “people who are outside of our religion.”

Jordan is currently ruled by King Abdullah II, a Sunni Muslim, whose family has ruled Jordan since the early 1920’s. Despite being one of the United States key allies in the fight against Islamic State and other terrorist groups, Jordan rarely faces attacks against its government forces. Additionally, the General Intelligence Directorate of Jordan (GID) has had longstanding cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Efforts to combat terrorist activities in Jordan are ongoing. Most recently, in March, the GID foiled planned attacks by an Islamic State cell when Jordanian military operatives raided a residential building in Irbid, in which they killed seven suspected jihadist insurgents. At the scene, officials found weapons, ammunition, explosives, and detonators as well as plans to attack civilian and military sites.

The Wall Street Journal stated that officials in Amman, the capital of Jordan, indicated the refugee attack was conducted by Islamic State, considering the group’s recent declaration urging supporters to conduct operations during the month of Ramadan.

Jordan has long been a target of jihadist attacks, specifically from Al Qaeda in Iraq (the predecessor to Islamic State), led by Jordanian leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.  Zarqawi was the driving force behind the infamous 2005 hotel bombings that killed dozens and injured hundreds staying in and aroung western resorts in Amman.

Al-Qaeda continues to seek support and influence in the region by tapping into the Syrian conflict.

In May, al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, announced plans to extend recruitment to areas in and around Syria. Among the Al Qaeda officials believed to be conducting operations are Jordanian operatives Abul Qassam and Sari Shibab.

While Islamic State remains the most obvious culprit, the source of the attack in Baqa’a could also stem from ongoing struggle between the Jordanian government and the opposition led by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has long been known to drawn support from refugee Palestinians.  In recent months, the group has been pushing their political wing, Islamic Action Front, to boycott elections, among other protests, in an aim to topple the current regime. In recent years Jordanian security forces have accused Jordanian Muslim Brothers of cooperating with Hamas in weapons smuggling and training for attacks. Such tensions boiled over in April leading Jordanian officials to close down Muslim Brotherhood operations in the country.

Further complicating the attack are reports from Israeli intelligence of cooperation between Hamas and Islamic State “Sinai Province”. The cooperation between the two groups represents Hamas’ desire to target Egyptian security forces and destabilize Egyptian government after the military ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013. Such an alliance could prove extremely destabilizing to the region, particularly if cooperation extends beyond Sinai and into Jordan.

As described by reports the assault on the intelligence office bears some resemblance to the operations of all three major terrorist groups: Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Hamas.

It likewise remains a possibility that the gunman was unaffiliated with any specific group. If so, further determination of the perpetrator’s motivations will require a successful capture and interrogation by Jordanian security forces.

Also see:

Jordan Shuts down Muslim Brotherhood HQ


By Counter Jihad, April 13, 2016:

In a surprise move, Jordanian police have raided and shut down the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in that country.  No explanation was given by authorities for the move.

A likely explanation is that the Brotherhood was involved in a plot against the King of Jordan.  This would merely be in line with the Brotherhood’s charter.  The Muslim Brotherhood is a declared terrorist organization in Egypt because in 2012 it attempted to overthrow the constitution and replace it with sharia law.  Nor was this the first time.  Since its founding in 1928, the Brotherhood has attempted to overthrow the government of Egypt to establish a caliphate every time it has had the strength.  It began its violent attempts before the Second World War.  During that war it aligned with the Nazis, hoping to gain control of Egypt as a Nazi ally.  Following the defeat of the Nazis it converted from using military battalions to terrorist tactics.  It waged war on the royalist government, finally helping to overthrow that government in a military coup.  It then took up arms against the military government led by Nasser.  Once Nasser drove them out, they went to Germany and began spreading across Europe.  Their charter continues to bind them to the overthrow of secular governments, and the creation of a global Islamic caliphate under sharia law.

For these reasons, Congress should follow through on passing the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act sponsored by Senator Ted Cruz.  The Muslim Brotherhood should also be a declared terrorist organization within the United States because it has acted to infiltrate and subvert our government in dangerous ways.  In 1996 its chief American agent, Abdurahman Alamoudi, enjoyed significant access to the Clinton White House as the founder of the American Muslim Council. In that role, he was able to appoint Islamic chaplains to the US military and to recruit converts in Federal prison.  Now, he is serving a 23-year prison sentence on Federal terrorism charges.  The subversion has not stopped.  The Brotherhood now appoints Islamic chaplains through another of its allied organizations, the Islamic Society of North America.

The Muslim Brotherhood should likewise be a declared terrorist organization within the United States because our Justice Department has proven its connections to Hamas and al Qaeda.  Its affiliates conduct military training for their members in enclaves in the United States where sharia law is enforced with the whip.

America should follow Jordan’s lead in this matter.  It’s time to shut down the Brotherhood and its affiliates.


Also see:

Jordanian police shut Muslim Brotherhood headquarters: senior Brotherhood figure

A boy stands near the main entrance of the Muslim Brotherhood's office in Amman, after it was shut by the police acting on orders of the Amman governor April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

A boy stands near the main entrance of the Muslim Brotherhood’s office in Amman, after it was shut by the police acting on orders of the Amman governor April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed


Police in Jordan sealed the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman on Wednesday, a senior figure in the Islamist movement said, as the authorities clamp down further on the kingdom’s most vocal opposition group.

The Brotherhood, which is close in ideology to its Egyptian namesake and has strong ties with the Palestinian movement Hamas, wants sweeping political reforms but stops short of calling for the overthrow of the monarchy.

Jordan’s authorities suppressed Arab Spring pro-democracy protests, and human rights groups say that since then the kingdom has strongly curbed dissent.

Police acting on orders of the Amman governor evacuated staff and closed off the building, giving no reason for their actions, said the Brotherhood senior member, Jamil Abu Bakr.

Government spokespeople and police were not immediately available for comment.

The Brotherhood has operated legally in Jordan for decades and has substantial grass-roots support in major urban centers.

Its political arm, the Islamic Action Front, is the kingdom’s largest opposition party and represents many disenfranchised Jordanians of Palestinian origin, who are in the majority in the population of seven million.

Grossly underrepresented in parliament and government posts that are dominated by native Jordanians, many of the Brotherhood’s poor Palestinian supporters in the major cities see them as defending their interests.

“We are not a group that is rebellious or operating outside the law. This is not an appropriate means to deal with us … deploying heavy-handed security measures against us rather than reaching understandings,” Abu Bakr told Reuters.

In keeping with a regional crackdown on political Islam and public freedoms, Jordan has been tightening restrictions on the Brotherhood in the last two years, forbidding their public rallies and arresting vocal government dissenters.

The authorities have also encouraged a splinter group to legally challenge the main movement’s license to operate, which goes back to 1946 when Jordan’s monarchy had in Muslim Brotherhood leaders a strong political allies.

Earlier this year, the movement’s deputy leader Zaki Bani Rusheid was released after serving an 18-month jail sentence for criticizing on social media the United Arab Emirates for its crackdown on Islamists.

His detention was the first of a major political opposition figure in Jordan in recent years.

In contrast, Gulf Arab countries have banned Islamist groups and jailed its members, and in Egypt thousands of Islamists have been jailed and sentenced to death in mass trials decried by human rights groups.

(Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Two Americans Among Dead at Jordanian Training Facility for Palestinian Police

abdullahvisitPJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, Nov. 9, 2015:

Two American contractors were among five killed today at a police training facility in Jordan in what appeared to be at first blush a green-on-blue attack in an unlikely country.

The attack was 10 years to the day after a trio of coordinated hotel bombings orchestrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq killed 60 people across Amman, including at a wedding.

The shooter, Capt. Anwar Abu Zaid, 28, of the northern Jerash province, was killed by security forces at the U.S.-funded Jordan International Police Training Center southeast of Amman.

State Department press secretary John Kirby said the training at the center “is predominantly arranged for Palestinian security forces to teach them basic police and security skills.”

It’s been there since 2008 and it is “coordinated and run and funded” by the State Department in partnership with Jordan, who owns the facility.

Zaid reportedly opened fire while people were eating lunch.

In addition to the two Americans, one South African trainer and two Jordanians were also killed. Two Americans, a Lebanese and four Jordanians were wounded. King Abdullah visited wounded patients today at King Hussein Medical City.

“Obviously, a full investigation is taking place,” President Obama said in the Oval Office this morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We take this very seriously, and we’ll be working closely with the Jordanians to determine exactly what happened.  But at this stage, I want to just let everyone know that this is something we’re paying close attention to.”

“We’re with each other in more ways than one,” Netanyahu said while expressing condolences for the murdered Americans.

The Jordan Times reported that residents of Zaid’s home village described him as “a very kind person, who was religious but moderate.” He graduated from the military branch of Mutah University and was married with two children. One report said that he had asked to be decommissioned last month.

His brother, Fadi Abu Zaid, told the Associated Press that he’d been working at the training center for “several months” and “had given notice recently because he had received a job offer from a Gulf country.”

Zaid was the nephew of a former parliamentarian, Suleiman Saed.

The U.S. Embassy in Amman issued a security message to U.S. citizens in Jordan detailing the incident but stressing “it is premature to speculate on motive at this point.”

“We strongly condemn this incident and we deeply appreciate the cooperation and support received from our Jordanian partners. The Embassy has not changed its security posture.”

Kirby said the two that were killed “were what we call monitors; they were contractors contracted through the State Department as trainer monitors for this curriculum.”

Both worked for DynCorp, which said in a statement today that “the company extends its thoughts and prayers to all involved and to their families and loved ones,” but “out of respect for their privacy, we will not be providing additional information at this time.”

“I would not even begin to speculate on motive here, in terms of what happened,” Kirby said. “I think we need to let the investigators do their jobs.”

Also See:

Ramadi’s fall opens ISIS road to Baghdad. Jordan warns US air strikes won’t stop the terrorists’ advance

DEBKAfile, May 18, 2015:

Mideast-Jordan-King-A_Horo-e1363781864263Jordan’s King Abdullah has warned the Obama administration in an urgent message that US air strikes alone won’t stop the Islamic State’s advances in Iraq and Syria and, what is more, they leave his kingdom next door exposed to the Islamist peril. ISIS would at present have no difficulty in invading southern Jordan, where the army is thin on the ground, and seizing local towns and villages whose inhabitants are already sympathetic to the extremist group. The bulk of the Jordanian army is concentrated in the north on the Syrian border. Even a limited Islamist incursion in the south would also pose a threat to northern Saudi Arabia, the king pointed out.

Abdullah offered the view that the US Delta Special Forces operation in eastern Syria Saturday was designed less to be an effective assault on ISIS’s core strength and more as a pallliative to minimize the Islamist peril facing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf emirates.

DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that US officials refused to heed Abdullah’s warning and tried to play it down, in the same way as Secretary John Kerry tried Monday, May 18, to de-emphasize to the ISIS conquest of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province.

At a news conference in Seoul, Kerry dismissed the Islamists’ feat as a “target of opportunity” and expressed confidence that, in the coming days, the loss “can be reversed.”

The Secretary of State’s words were unlikely to scare the Islamists, who had caused more than 500 deaths in the battle for the town and witnessed panicky Iraqi soldiers fleeing Ramadi in Humvees and tanks.

Baghdad, only 110 km southeast of Ramadi, has more reason to be frightened, in the absence of any sizeable Iraqi military strength in the area for standing in the enemy’s path to the capital.

The Baghdad government tried announcing that substantial military reinforcements had been ordered to set out and halt the Islamists’ advance. This was just whistling in the dark. In the last two days, the remnants of the Iraqi army have gone to pieces – just like in the early days of the ISIS offensive, when the troops fled Mosul and Falujah. They are running away from any possible engagement with the Islamist enemy.

The Baghdad-sourced reports that Shiite paramilitaries were preparing to deploy to Iraq’s western province of Anbar after Islamic State militants overran Ramadi were likewise no more than an attempt to boost morale. Sending armed Shiites into the Ramadi area of Anbar would make no sense, because its overwhelmingly Sunni population would line up behind fellow-Sunni Islamist State conquerors rather than help the Shiite militias to fight them.

Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, who arrived precipitately in Baghdad Monday, shortly after Ramadi’s fall, faces this difficulty. Our military sources expect him to focus on a desperate effort to deploy Shiite militias as an obstacle in ISIS’s path to Baghdad, now that the road is clear of defenders all the way from Ramadi.
In Amman, King Abdullah Sunday made a clean sweep of senior security officials, firing the Minister of Interior, the head of internal security (Muhabarat) and a number of high police officers. They were accused officially of using excessive violence to disperse demonstrations in the southern town of Maan.

The real reason for their dismissal, DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources disclose, is the decline of these officials’ authority in the Maan district,  in the face of the rising influence of extremist groups identified with Al Qaeda and ISIS, in particular.

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King Abdullah II: Jordan Is at War With ‘Outlaws of Islam’

041315_jordanFox News, Aprl 13, 2015:

Bret Baier sat down with Jordanian King Abdullah II, who told the “Special Report” host that Jordan is at war with the “outlaws of Islam.”

Abdullah explained that ISIS is somewhat of a “franchise.” He said that the terror group is an international problem, which means that the international community must deal with it as such.

The king of Jordan stepped up the country’s efforts against ISIS big time after the killing of a Jordanian air force pilot. Abdullah said that Jordan is the only Arab country operating in Syria alongside the U.S., and it’s the only Arab country working alongside the coalition forces in Iraq.

Abdullah said that the relationship between the U.S. and Jordan is “very strong,” but remarked that his country’s relationship with the West has changed. He said he had a wake-up call that made him realize Jordan must stand more on its own two feet and be more “bullish and straightforward” with the West.

“At the end of the day, I think I know what’s best for my country and for the region, and I think a blunt and honest discussion with friends is always much better than being wishy-washy,” he told Baier.

Abdullah said Syria, Jordan’s neighbor to the north, continues to fall apart. He explained that Syria is fighting two wars: one against ISIS on the east and another against the regime on the west.

Further, he explained that Iran is active in Syria, and he said Jordan has seen Iranians not too far from its border, an issue that Abdullah said Jordan has discussed with Iran.

According to Abdullah, the biggest challenge that Jordan faces is the economy. This is due to 1.5 million Syrian refugees, who comprise about 20 percent of Jordan’s population, Abdullah said.

He added that only 28-29 percent of the refugee budget is being covered by the international community – the rest falls on Jordan.

Abdullah told Baier that the supply of weapons from the United States has improved dramatically in recent weeks. He noted that there is still much to be done to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.


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Sunni Jihadists Gain Ground in Syria

Syrians in the city of Idlib on Wednesday lined up to receive bread. The city was seized last weekend by the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, which said it would not try to monopolize power there. Credit Mohamad Bayoush/Reuters

Syrians in the city of Idlib on Wednesday lined up to receive bread. The city was seized last weekend by the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, which said it would not try to monopolize power there. Credit Mohamad Bayoush/Reuters

CSP, by Aaron Kliegman, April 1, 2015:

The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front seized the provincial capital of Idlib in northwestern Syria this past weekend. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s forces withdrew after five days of intense fighting with a primarily al-Nusra-dominated coalition of rebels, all of whom are part of the multi-faceted Syrian opposition.

According to the “Army of Conquest”, the name of the coalition, 70 rebels were killed in the decisive battle. Beyond al-Nusra, other Islamist militias helped in the effort including Ahrar al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa, Liwa al-Haqq, and Failaq al-Sham, and some smaller groups played a lesser role.

Al-Nusra said today that it will rule Idlib with sharia law, with the group’s leader Abu Mohamad al-Golani stating, “We salute the people of Idlib and their stand with their sons … God willing they will enjoy the justice of sharia, which will preserve their religion and their blood.” While the jihadists were battling the regime and now are trying to setup Islamic governance, hundreds of thousands of residents have reportedly fled the city.

Idlib has strategic significance for multiple reasons, including that it is 20 miles from the Turkish border, and one Syrian military source accused Turkey of helping the rebels take Idlib. Furthermore, Idlib is only the second provincial capital that Assad has lost, the first one being Raqqa. The Sunni jihadists are gaining ground and can consolidate their power in Idlib to move onto other strategic targets. Idlib is important for exerting control northeast toward Aleppo city, and the rebels are better suited to move towards Hama city and its military airfield or into the regime’s heartland.

As al-Nusra is imposing sharia law on Idlib, its main rival jihadist group, Islamic State (ISIS), seized most of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria’s capital. Al-Nusra members who defected to ISIS helped in the fight against Assad regime forces. According to the U.N., before the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Yarmouk was home to about 200,000 people; now, that number is down to 18,000.

ISIS has been attempting to push into western Syria, far way from its main strongholds, for months. The group is trying to establish sleeper cells in the areas around Damascus and maintain a firm presence there. While the regime has strong checkpoints to repel attackers from Damascus, ISIS’s presence so near to the capital indicates that they are getting closer.

While these two developments are occurring, Syrian rebels, including Jabhat al-Nusra, were fighting Wednesday with regime forces along the Jordanian border. The rebels attacked the main border crossing between the two countries on the Syrian side, known as the Nasib post, causing Jordan to close the area. According to Conflict News, al-Nusra militants captured the border crossing on the same day. If true, Jordan will rightfully be concerned about the fighting’s proximity to its border, especially while it has been dealing with an influx of Syrian refugees throughout the civil war.

All of these stories show the increasingly chaotic situation in Syria. While ISIS is adding territory to its self-declared caliphate, the al-Nusra front is also quietly gaining territory. Both groups’ success will only increase their propaganda and bring in more recruits. With Sunni jihadists groups on the move and the Assad regime trying to hold onto as much of the country as possible, there seems to be no good foreseeable outcome. The conflict will only get more complicated as the fighting gets closer to Turkish and Jordanian territory and Islamist rebels get closer to Damascus.

Also see:

UAE Strikes ISIS in Iraq – Jordan Masses Troops to Prevent Retaliatory Attacks

February 11, 2015 / /

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.
Source: Veoz

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’

jordan terror 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,7340,L-4591284,00.html

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:

Jordan Steps Up Attacks Against ISIS, Egypt Launches New Sinai Offensive

Rage of the King: Jordan Strikes Back

The Islamic State Burns Jordanian Pilot Alive

The ISIS-Held Japanese and Jordanian Hostages: The Bergdahl Factor

Jordanian Fighter Jet Crashes in Syria – Pilot Taken Prisoner by ISIS

Trouble in Jordan and Jordanian ISIS Connections

Islamic State Using Social Media and Expanding Campaign to Jordan and Saudi Arabia

The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS

Additional info on IS’ Gaza efforts:

ISIS in Gaza Update

Islamic State’s Presence in Gaza

Egyptian Army Hits Back at ISIS in Sinai

ISIS Efforts to Open Up an Egyptian Front

Egyptian Army and the IDF Take on ISIS Supporters in the Sinai

What Is the Islamic State Trying to Accomplish?

(Image: ISIS video)

(Image: ISIS video)

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Feb. 7, 2015:

The Islamic State’s barbaric murder of Lieutenant Mouath al-Kasaebeh, the Jordanian air-force pilot the jihadists captured late last year, has naturally given rise to questions about the group’s objectives. Charles Krauthammer argues (here and here) that the Islamic State is trying to draw Jordan into a land war in Syria. It is no doubt correct that the terrorist group would like to destabilize Jordan — indeed, it is destabilizing Jordan. Its immediate aim, however, is more modest and attainable. The Islamic State wants to break up President Obama’s much trumpeted Islamic-American coalition.

As the administration proudly announced back in September, Jordan joined the U.S. coalition, along with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. The only potential value of the coalition is symbolic: It has enabled the president to claim that Muslim countries were lining up with us against the Islamic State. Militarily, the coalition is of little use. These countries cannot defeat the Islamic State.

Moreover, even the symbolism is insignificant. Symbolism, after all, cuts both ways. As I pointed out when the administration breathlessly announced the coalition, our five Islamic partners have only been willing to conduct (extremely limited) aerial operations against the Islamic State. They would not attack al-Qaeda targets — i.e., the strongholds of al-Nusra (the local al-Qaeda franchise) and “Khorasan” (an al-Qaeda advisory council that operates within al-Nusra in Syria).

Obviously, if the relevance of the five Islamic countries’ willingness to fight the Islamic State is the implication that the Islamic State is not really Islamic, then their unwillingness to fight al-Qaeda equally implies their assessment that al-Qaeda is representative of Islam. The latter implication no doubt explains why the Saudis, Qatar, and the UAE have given so much funding over the years to al-Qaeda . . . the terror network from which the Islamic State originates and with which the Islamic State shares its sharia-supremacist ideology.

I’ll give the Saudis this: They don’t burn their prisoners alive in a cage. As previously recounted here, though, they routinely behead their prisoners. In fact, here’s another report from the British press just three weeks ago:

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have publicly beheaded a woman in Islam’s holy city of Mecca. . . . Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, a Burmese woman who resided in Saudi Arabia, was executed by sword on Monday after being dragged through the street and held down by four police officers.

She was convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of her seven-year-old step-daughter.

A video showed how it took three blows to complete the execution, while the woman screamed “I did not kill. I did not kill.” It has now been removed by YouTube as part of its policy on “shocking and disgusting content”.

There are two ways to behead people according to Mohammed al-Saeedi, a human rights activist: “One way is to inject the prisoner with painkillers to numb the pain and the other is without the painkiller. . . . This woman was beheaded without painkillers — they wanted to make the pain more powerful for her.”

The Saudi Ministry of the Interior said in a statement that it believed the sentence was warranted due to the severity of the crime.

The beheading is part of an alarming trend, which has seen the kingdom execute seven people in the first two weeks of this year. In 2014 the number of executions rose to 87, from 78 in 2013.

Would that the president of the United States were more worried about the security of the United States than about how people in such repulsive countries perceive the United States.

In any event, the Islamic State is simply trying to blow up the coalition, which would be a useful propaganda victory. And the strategy is working. It appears at this point that only Jordan is participating in the airstrikes. While all eyes were on Jordan this week for a reaction to Lieutenant al-Kasaebeh’s immolation, the administration has quietly conceded that the UAE suspended its participation in bombing missions when the pilot was captured in December.

The explanation for this is obvious: The Islamic countries in the coalition know they can’t stop the Islamic State unless the United States joins the fight in earnest, and they know this president is not serious. The White House says the coalition has carried out a total of about 1,000 airstrikes in the last five months. In Desert Storm, we did 1,100 a day.

Seven strikes a day is not going to accomplish anything, especially with no troops on the ground, and thus no search-and-rescue capability in the event planes go down, as Lieutenant al-Kasaebeh’s did. With no prospect of winning, and with a high potential of losing pilots and agitating the rambunctious Islamists in their own populations, why would these countries continue to participate?

The Islamic State knows there is intense opposition to King Abdullah’s decision to join in the coalition. While the Islamic State’s sadistic method of killing the pilot has the king and his supporters talking tough about retaliation, millions of Jordanians are Islamist in orientation and thousands have crossed into Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. There will continue to be pressure on Jordan to withdraw. Without a real American commitment to the fight, this pressure will get harder for Abdullah to resist.

Jordan has no intention of getting into a land war the king knows he cannot win without U.S. forces leading the way. But the Islamic State does not need to lure Jordan into a land war in order to destabilize the country — it is already doing plenty of that by intensifying the Syrian refugee crisis, sending Jordanians back home from Syria as trained jihadists, and trying to assassinate Abdullah.

I will close by repeating the larger point I’ve argued several times before. We know from experience that when jihadists have safe havens, they attack the United States. They now have more safe havens than they’ve ever had before — not just because of what the Islamic State has accomplished in what used to be Syria and Iraq (the map of the Middle East needs updating) but because of what al-Qaeda has done there and in North Africa, what the Taliban and al-Qaeda are doing in Afghanistan, and so on.

If we understand, as we by now should, what these safe havens portend, then we must grasp that the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the global jihad constitute a threat to American national security. That they also (and more immediately) threaten Arab Islamic countries is true, but it is not close to being our top concern. Ensuring our security is a concern that could not be responsibly delegated to other countries even if they had formidable armed forces — which the “coalition” countries do not.

The Islamic State and al-Qaeda are our problem.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

A Coherent US Strategy is Needed to Defeat the Global Jihad Movement

SecureFreedomStrategySidebarCSP, by Fred Fleitz, Feb. 6, 2015:

Jordan’s King Abdullah II showed decisive leadership this week when he committed his nation to defeating ISIS after it executed
a Jordanian pilot by burning him alive.  Abdullah didn’t mince words.  He didn’t care that European leaders would condemn him for ordering the execution of two ISIS terrorists in response to the killing of his pilot.  The King pledged stepped-up airstrikes and to attack ISIS until his military “runs out of fuel and bullets.”

Journalists, Obama officials and Obama supporters have tried to portray King Abdullah’s statements as a turning point in the battle against ISIS.  Some said this indicates the Arab world will finally unite to defeat ISIS.  Others suggested the Jordanian military will begin dealing major defeats to ISIS.

The sad reality is that unless the United States comes up with a coherent strategy to defeat the global jihad movement and ISIS, nothing has changed.  Jordan’s increased airstrikes will do little to affect ISIS which cannot be defeated without ground troops engaging it in Syria.  Although Jordan has a large, well-armed professional military, it is not about to conduct a ground invasion of Syria to battle ISIS.

A comprehensive military campaign to defeat ISIS is impossible as long as President Obama refuses to acknowledge the enemy.  America needs a strategy to defeat ISIS, its radical ideology and the Shariah doctrine it seeks to impose on the world through violence.  The Center for Security Policy recently issued an important publication detailing a U.S. government strategy to defeat this threat, “The Secure Freedom Strategy: A Plan for Victory Over the Global Jihad Movement.”  Click HERE to read this strategy.

On February 11 from 9 AM to 2 PM, the Center will sponsor “The Defeat Jihad Summit” as a counterpoint to the Obama administration’s February 18 “Countering Violent Extremism” summit.  This program will discuss the nature of the Islamist threat, an assessment of U.S. policies to confront it, and better approaches to defeat it.  Among those participating will be Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, Britain’s Lord Malcolm Pearson, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, Danish free speech advocate Lars Hedegaard, and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.  Click HERE for details.  This event will be live-streamed on the Center for Security Policy website from 9 AM to 2 PM on February 11th.

Rage of the King: Jordan Strikes Back


February 5, 2015 / /

King Abdullah of Jordan vowed that his country would strike the Islamic State with earth shattering vengeance in response to the murder of 1LT Muath al-Kasaesbeh (variant: Moaz al-Kasasbeh) by the Islamic State. The 26 year old Jordanian pilot was burned alive in a cage by the savage Islamic State terrorist army on an unknown date suspected to have been in early January. The young pilot had been captured in December when his F-16 crashed in Syria.

The Islamic State had released the horrific video during King Abdullah’s state visit to Washington DC while he was meeting with US president Barack Obama. The Jordanian leader cut his visit short in response to the video and requested the US immediately step up aid to Jordan and efforts to destroy the Islamic State.

By dawn on Wednesday Jordan had hung two Al Qaeda linked terrorists. One of those terrorists was the female would be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi who had attempted to kill herself with her husband in a suicide bombing in Jordan in 2005. The second terrorist was Ziad Karbouli who was a senior aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the deceased leader of the Al Qaeda in Iraq which was one of the precursors to the Islamic State. It is likely the Islamic State really did not care about these two individuals as they did not have any relative importance to the Islamic State itself.

Thursday (5 February 2015) approximately 30 aircraft from Jordan were said to have participated in the bombing campaign in and around the stronghold of Raqqa, Syria where the Islamic State had shown the video of the murder of 1LT Kasaesbeh on large screens. The airstrikes are believed to have killed 55 militants and damaged a media outlet in Raqqa.

King Abdullah had reportedly quoted Clint Eastwood’s character William Munny in Unforgiven stating, “Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I’m not only going to kill him, I’m going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down.”

The King was visiting the family of 1LT Muath al-Kasaebeh during the latter part of the mission when the fighters were returning from the mission and overflew the hometown of the murdered pilot. The father was reported to have said it was a good start, but was not enough. He stated that it would not be enough until the entire Islamic State had been destroyed.

The king also was at the Ministry of Defense meeting with military leaders consulting for future operations to be carried out against the Islamic State as this is just the beginning of Jordan’s response to the brutal murder of their heroic son according to King Abdullah. Jordan is not ruling out any option including the use of at least limited ground forces against the Islamic State.

Assessment: The savage murder of 1LT Kasaesbeh has galvanized the Jordanian people. The king may not have had the total support he had needed before the heinous murder of their young pilot, but this incident has enraged even fence sitters and those that were not supportive of being in the coalition against the Islamic State.

King Abdullah is a determined leader with the intestinal fortitude and military background himself to see actions through. He may be the right leader thrust into the position of great responsibility at the precise time to galvanize not only his own country, but the rest of the moderate Gulf States and Arab world to step up actions against the brutal Islamic State. Great men often do not ask to be placed into positions, but find themselves thrown into those situations due to circumstances and the brutal murder of 1LT Kasaesbeh may be that moment. The king is a seasoned military leader as well as an AH-1 Cobra Attack helicopter pilot.

This is the time for the United States to throw ALL the support that it can behind the Jordanian king and his military. They need the military hardware, training, technology and support to strike the Islamic State with the earth shattering response their king has promised their people. The United States and all coalition partners need to bring together as sizeable, fully capable, nimble combat search and rescue quick reaction force as was suggested before airstrikes had even began.

Aircraft have been lost in nearly every conflict since they have been introduced into armed conflict and it was only a matter of time before an aircraft went down in this one and this may not be the last one. There must be a force capable of rescuing a downed pilot and ready to launch on a moment’s notice. This is common sense and US military planners know this.

What message was the Islamic State sending with this horrendous video? The message stems back to the Islamic State’s videos “Flames of War” and “Soldiers of Truth” which had been released earlier. In each of these videos the narrator or the theme shows foreign troops from coalition forces and the United States engulfed in flames. The infamous words “The flames of war have already begun” in the video showing the execution of the Syrian soldiers near Menagh Airbase.

The lighting of the fuse by the Islamic State fighter in the murder of 1LT Kaseasbeh is symbolically igniting that fuse of the flames of war spreading to other Arab countries. The pilot being a symbol of the burning soldiers in the Flames of War video. It is also to target the audience of possible followers in the neighboring Arab states to spread the flames of war. This is why they list the names of pilots from Jordan in the video. In one of our earlier articles we spoke about the Islamic State targeting military and intelligence officials in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic State calculates everything it does and when it does it. It uses a marketing campaign as if it were selling a product. In this case that product is the ideology of the Islamic State. Imams in neighboring Arab states need to enforce the family values that made men like 1LT Kaseasbeh who stood for freedom, prosperity and tolerance of others and believed in the greater good. That HE is the role model Muslims should aspire should aspire to be.


Also see:

Published on Jun 11, 2014 by RHC JO

His Majesty King Abdullah II starts his day participating in a military special operations training exercises as Jump-Master