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.

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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

Jordan’s Abdullah: Islamic State “does not resemble our religion in any way”

Kaseasbeh-300x174Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, Feb 3, 2015:

The video of the burning of the Jordanian pilot is entitled, “Healing the Believers Chests.” That’s from the Qur’an: “Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you over them, heal the breasts of Believers.” (Qur’an 9:14) Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, who years ago tried to murder students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the name of Islam and jihad, also referenced this verse when explaining his actions.

And then there is this story from Muhammad’s conquest of Khaybar: “Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (T. was brought) to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, ‘Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?’ he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam, ‘Torture him until you extract what he has,’ so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.” (Ibn Ishaq 515).

“King Abdullah of Jordan says pilot’s reported ISIL murder does not resemble Islam,” theTelegraph, February 3, 2015:

The king of Jordan on Tuesday condemned the killing of a Jordanian pilot by militants of the Islamic State group.

Jordan’s military confirmed the death of Lieutenant Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, who fell into the hands of the militants in December when his Jordanian F-16 crashed in Syria.

A video released online on Tuesday purportedly showed the 26-year-old being burned to death by his captors following a week-long drama over a possible prisoner exchange.

King Abdullah II said: “This cowardly Islamic State group that does not resemble our religion in any way.

“It is the duty of all Jordanian citizens to stand united, to show the strength of this people in fighting this group. This will only give us more strength and resistance.”

ISIS Threatens to Invade Jordan, ‘Slaughter’ King Abdullah

Gatestone Institute, by Khaled Abu Toameh:

The recent victories in Iraq and Syria by the terrorists of ISIS — said to be an offshoot of al-Qaeda — have emboldened the group and its followers throughout the Middle East. Now the terrorists are planning to move their jihad not only to Jordan, but also to the Gaza Strip, Sinai and Lebanon.

Failure to act will result in the establishment in the Middle East of a dangerous extremist Islamic empire that will pose a threat to American and Western interests.

“The danger is getting closer to our bedrooms.” — Oraib al-Rantawi, Jordanian political analyst

Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Syria have begun creeping toward neighboring countries, sources close to the Islamic fundamentalists revealed this week.

The terrorists, who belong to The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS — known as DAESH in Arabic] and are said to be an offshoot of al-Qaeda, are planning to take their jihad to Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula — after having already captured large parts of Syria and Iraq, the sources said.

The capture this week by ISIS of the cities of Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq has left many Arabs and Muslims in the region worried that their countries soon may be targeted by the terrorists, who seek to create a radical Islamist emirate in the Middle East.

According to the sources, ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi recently discussed with his lieutenants the possibility of extending the group’s control beyond Syria and Iraq.

One of the ideas discussed envisages focusing ISIS’s efforts on Jordan, where Islamist movements already have a significant presence. Jordan was also chosen because it has shared borders with Iraq and Syria, making it easier for the terrorists to infiltrate the kingdom.

Jordanian political analyst Oraib al-Rantawi sounded alarm bells by noting that the ISIS threat to move its fight to the kingdom was real and imminent. “We in Jordan cannot afford the luxury of just waiting and monitoring,” he cautioned. “The danger is getting closer to our bedrooms. It has become a strategic danger; it is no longer a security threat from groups or cells. We must start thinking outside the box. The time has come to increase coordination and cooperation with the regimes in Baghdad and Damascus to contain the crawling of extremism and terrorism.”

The ISIS terrorists see Jordan’s Western-backed King Abdullah as an enemy of Islam and an infidel, and have publicly called for his execution. ISIS terrorists recently posted a video on YouTube in which they threatened to “slaughter” Abdullah, whom they denounced as a “tyrant.” Some of the terrorists who appeared in the video were Jordanian citizens who tore up their passports in front of the camera and vowed to launch suicide attacks inside the kingdom.

 

A Jordanian ISIS terrorist wearing a suicide bomb belt and holding his Jordanian passport declares his willingness to wage jihad in an ISIS video. (Image source: All Eyes on Syria YouTube video)

Security sources in Amman expressed deep concern over ISIS’s threats and plans to “invade” the kingdom. The sources said that King Abdullah has requested urgent military aid from the U.S. and other Western countries so that he could foil any attempt to turn Jordan into an Islamist-controlled state.

Marwan Shehadeh, an expert on Islamist groups, said he did not rule out the possibility that ISIS would target Jordan because it views the Arab regimes, including Jordan’s Hashemites, as “infidels” and “apostates” who should be fought.

The recent victories by ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria have emboldened the group and its followers throughout the Middle East. Now the terrorists are planning to move their jihad not only to Jordan, but also to the Gaza Strip, Sinai and Lebanon.

This is all happening under the watching eyes of the U.S. Administration and Western countries, who seem to be uncertain as to what needs to be done to stop the Islamist terrorists from invading neighboring countries.

ISIS is a threat not only to moderate Arabs and Muslims, but also to Israel, which the terrorists say is their ultimate destination. The U.S. and its Western allies need to wake up quickly and take the necessary measures to prevent the Islamist terrorists from achieving their goal.

Failure to act will result in the establishment in the Middle East of a dangerous extremist Islamist empire that will pose a threat to American and Western interests.

Bandar bin Sultan’s Botched Syrian Intervention

by Hilal Khashan
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2014

In an untypically abrasive speech, Saudi King Abdullah welcomed the ouster of Egypt’s president Muhammad Morsi, stating: “Let the entire world know that the people and government of the Saudi kingdom stood and still stand today with our brothers in Egypt against terrorism, extremism, and sedition.”[1] However dramatic, this apparent shift from Riyadh’s traditional accommodation of perceived enemies, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its regional affiliates, to a more daring foreign policy is too little too late to reverse the decline of its regional power. And nowhere was this weakness more starkly demonstrated than in Riyadh’s botched Syrian intervention, led by its most celebrated diplomat—Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

A Broken Tradition of Cooptation

The foundations of Saudi foreign policy were laid under historical circumstances that were completely different from today’s political situation. From the 1930s to the early 1950s, Western presence in the Middle East was quite strong with the region enjoying geopolitical homeostasis. The rise of radical regimes in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, coupled with Moscow’s growing involvement in the region, did not seem to threaten Riyadh’s domestic and international stance, and the intensifying U.S.-Saudi relations, cemented by mutual commitment to combating communism, steered the kingdom through the region’s periodic upheavals well into the late 1970s.

 

Saudi King Abdullah (l) meets with President Obama in Washington, June 29, 2010. Riyadh has been openly critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East and has sent unmistakable signals of its displeasure. Most Saudis worry that a vacillating and unserious commander-in-chief in Washington may leave them twisting in the region’s political winds.

This self-assurance played a central role in the Saudi royal family’s nonconfrontational approach and its preference for quiet diplomacy.[2] Military weakness, equilibrium, and calming situations were seemingly the three pillars of Riyadh’s foreign policy orientation. The royals ruled out asserting the kingdom as a military power and, thanks to oil wealth and religious significance, chose to make it a cornerstone of the regional balance of interests.[3]

The Iranian revolution and subsequent regional developments, notably the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the recent Arab upheavals, undermined this delicate balance of interests and made Riyadh’s accommodative policy increasingly untenable. Things came to a head during the 2011 Shiite uprising in Bahrain, which the Saudis feared might spread to their own territory. Having helped to quell the restiveness in the tiny neighboring kingdom, Abdullah enlisted the services of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former veteran ambassador to Washington, to take Saudi foreign policy in a more assertive direction.

The Prince of Sensitive Missions

Son of the late Saudi crown prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (d. 2011), Bandar began his political career in 1978 as King Khaled’s personal envoy to Washington bypassing Ambassador Faisal al-Hegelan.[4] He quickly impressed President Jimmy Carter by enlisting the support of Sen. James Abourezk (Democrat, S. Dakota) in the toss-up vote on the Panama Canal treaty, and his subtle diplomacy paved the way for Congress to pass the Saudi F-15 package shortly thereafter.[5] In 1986, Bandar entered the limelight as a result of his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal and, four years later, played an instrumental role in convincing hesitant Saudi royals to invite U.S. troops into the kingdom to cope with the consequences of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Since then, he has served as a vital liaison between Washington and Riyadh. In 2005, upon the completion of Bandar’s 22-year stint in Washington, King Abdullah appointed him to lead the country’s National Security Council.

Bandar’s advice was sought in large part due to the mounting evidence that implicated Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister, Rafiq Hariri, Riyadh’s ally in Beirut. Following the July 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah and the latter’s crippling of the Fouad Seniora government, Bandar convinced Abdullah to invest in creating a Sunni militia to operate under the command of Hariri’s son Saad. This fateful but ill-studied decision undermined Bandar’s credibility when, in 2008, Hezbollah’s militiamen stormed west Beirut and effortlessly dismantled Saad’s militia in a matter of hours. Bandar had evidently failed to appreciate the strength of Hezbollah or the ineptitude of Hariri’s leadership.

The Saudi royal family is seriously concerned about the turn of events in the region and the possibility of demands for political reform such changes might initiate. With more than two-thirds of its tribally and religiously heterogeneous population alien to the austere Wahhabi doctrine,[6] there is very little in common between the Najd-originated ruling Wahhabi dynasty and its Shiite subjects in the oil-rich eastern province or Shafii and Maliki Sunni Muslims in Hijaz. Likewise, the kingdom’s southern subjects mostly belong to Yemeni tribes where Shiite Ismailis and Zaydis proliferate.

Nevertheless, this failure did not deter Abdullah from calling on Bandar again in July 2012 to head the Saudi intelligence apparatus. The Saudi king had already become disturbed about the course of events in Syria and Bashar Assad’s refusal to leave office. He may have thought that Bandar, who knew how to deal with Saddam Hussein, could work some magic with Bashar. In turn, mindful of Bandar’s deep unease with regional Shiite ascendancy, Tehran’s state-controlled media dubbed him the “prince of terrorists.”[7]

President George W. Bush meets with Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan (r), at the Bush ranch, August 27, 2002, in Crawford, Texas. Many Americans noted at the time the seeming supplicant position of their president. In 2005, King Abdullah appointed Bandar to lead the Saudi national security council.

President George W. Bush meets with Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan (r), at the Bush ranch, August 27, 2002, in Crawford, Texas. Many Americans noted at the time the seeming supplicant position of their president. In 2005, King Abdullah appointed Bandar to lead the Saudi national security council.

Read more 

Jordan’s King Finds Fault With Everyone Concerned

King Abdullah II of Jordan during a state visit to Russia in February, when he met with President Vladimir V. Putin. (Pool photo by Sergei Ilnitsky)

King Abdullah II of Jordan during a state visit to Russia in February, when he met with President Vladimir V. Putin. (Pool photo by Sergei Ilnitsky)

By :

CAIRO — King Abdullah II of Jordan leads one of the smallest, poorest and most vulnerable Arab nations. But that does not stop him from looking down on many of those around him, including the leaders of Egypt, Turkey and Syria, as well as members of his own royal family, his secret police, his traditional tribal political base, his Islamist opponents and even United States diplomats.

President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt has “no depth,” King Abdullah said in an interview with the American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, to be published this week in The Atlantic magazine. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is an authoritarian who views democracy as a “bus ride,” as in, “Once I get to my stop, I am getting off,” the king said.

And he said President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is so provincial that at a social dinner he once asked the monarchs of Jordan and Morocco to explain jet lag. “He never heard of jet lag,” King Abdullah said, according to an advance copy of the article.

The king’s conversations with Mr. Goldberg, an influential writer on the Middle East and an acquaintance of more than a decade, offer a rare view of the contradictory mind-set of Washington’s closest ally in the Arab world as he struggles to master the upheaval of the Arab Spring revolts. Seldom has an Arab autocrat spoken so candidly in public.

King Abdullah appears humbled and even fatigued by the many challenges he failed to foresee when he inherited the throne 14 years ago, describing himself before coronation as a “Forrest Gump” in the background of his father’s long reign. In contrast to his father, King Hussein, King Abdullah promises to move Jordan closer to a British-style constitutional monarchy, and thus to stay ahead of the Arab Spring wave.

Read more at NYT

Jeffrey Golberg talks to Jake Tapper about his interview with King Abdullah:

 

Muslim Brotherhood Puts Jordan in the Crosshairs

Jordan's King AbdullahBy Ryan Mauro

In March, the Dubai police chief warned that the Muslim Brotherhood had a plan for the Gulf monarchies. Instead of regime change, it would make them “figurehead bodies without actual ruling.” That’s exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to make happen in Jordan by demanding “democratic” reforms. And King Abdullah II appears to be wobbling under the stress.

King Abdullah II, the second most influential non-Islamist in the Muslim world, is hinting that he may bow to the Muslim Brotherhood’s demand that he delay the parliamentary elections scheduled for January 23. He is even considering appointing Brotherhood members to the upper house of parliament and amending the electoral law to their liking.

The Muslim Brotherhood says it will boycott the elections because the parliament doesn’t have enough power and the contests are unfair. They are biased towards tribes and against the majority Palestinian population. King Abdullah II appoints the entire upper house and has the power to hire and fire prime ministers at will. The new electoral law also permits the security services to vote, bumping him up about 10% in any contest.

The Brotherhood is also unhappy with the makeup of the parliament. Voters pick a national list, which accounts for 17 of 140 seats and the rest are chosen on the district level. The Brotherhood only runs on the national list so it wants the balance changed. Abdullah tried to appease the Islamists by increasing the allotment for the national lists to 27 seats but added 10 seats to the size of parliament. The Brotherhood seeks 42 seats for national lists.

The pressure on Abdullah and his government skyrocketed in recent months with the largest protests in Jordan’s history taking place last week. The country faces a $3.35 billion deficit and about 80% of the budget goes to the military and bureaucracy. Abdullah had to cut subsidies, causing a 53% increase in the cost of heating gas and 12% spike in the price of petrol. The price of electricity is expected to increase about 32% in January.

The Brotherhood officially advocates “evolution, not revolution” but chants demanding the fall of the government are increasingly common. Direct criticism of Abdullah is a new development. In four days of protests last month, 280 were arrested, 75 were injured including 58 police officers and one young man was killed in Irbid when a crowd tried to storm a police station. Casualties have the power to turn protests against policies into cries for changes in leadership.

Hamza Mansour is the Secretary-General of the Islamic Action Front, the name of the Brotherhood party in Jordan. He wants Abdullah to “form a national salvation government that would include Islamists and other opposition figures to change controversial legislation, like the election law, and help parliament regain its independence so that it can impartially monitor the government and official corruption.” If the Brotherhood can expose government corruption, it will be able to undercut support for the government and present itself as a more trustworthy alternative.

The “democratic” reforms that the Brotherhood seeks are part of the same strategy of “gradualism” that it has followed in Egypt. It observed that the monarchies have proven to be stronger than the dictatorships, so it changed strategy by declining to demand the resignation of the leadership. It is important to recognize the undemocratic voice shouting for democratic reforms.

Read more at Front Page

Has the US Administration Decided to Get Rid of Jordan’s King Abdullah?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Unless the US clarifies its position regarding King Abdullah and reiterates its full backing for his regime, the Muslim fundamentalists are likely to step up there efforts to create anarchy and lawlessness in the kingdom. Washington needs to reassure King Abdullah and his followers that it will not allow the creation of an Islamic terror republic in Jordan.

Has the US Administration decided to get rid of Jordan’s King Abdullah?

This is the question that many Jordanians have been asking in the past few days following a remark made by a spokesman for the US State Department.

Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner managed to create panic [and anger] in the Royal Palace in Amman when he stated that there was “thirst for change” in Jordan and that the Jordanian people had “economic, political concerns,” as well as “aspirations.”

The spokesman’s remark has prompted some Jordanian government officials to talk about a US-led “conspiracy” to topple King Abdullah’s regime.

The talk about a “thirst for change” in Jordan is seen by the regime in Amman as a green light from the US to King Abdullah’s enemies to increase their efforts to overthrow the monarchy.

The US spokesman’s remark came as thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest against their government’s tough economic measures, which include cancelling subsidies for fuel and gas prices.

The widespread protests, which have been dubbed “The November Intifada,” have resulted in attacks on numerous government offices and security installations throughout the kingdom. Dozens of security officers have been injured, while more than 80 demonstrators have been arrested.

And for the first time, protesters in the Jordanian capital have been calling for overthrowing King Abdullah. In an unprecedented move, demonstrators last week tried to march on the monarch’s palace in Amman in scenes reminiscent of anti-regime protests in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Egypt.

The Jordanian authorities claim that non-Jordanian nationals who infiltrated the border have been involved in the violence, the worst to hit the kingdom in decades. The authorities say that Saudi and Syrian Muslim fundamentalists are responsible for attacks on government offices and other institutions, including banks.

Some Jordanian officials have pointed a blaming finger at Saudi Arabia and Qatar for encouraging the anti-regime protests and facilitating the infiltration of Muslim fundamentalists into the kingdom.

The officials believe that Jordan is paying the price of refusing to play a larger and stronger role in Saudi-Qatari efforts to topple Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Read more at Gatestone Institute