Seven suspected ISIS terrorists were killed in a secuity operation in Jordan this week as they prepared to launch a series of atrocities according to the Jordanian authorities. One member of the security forces was killed and three wounded in clashes which lasted several hours in the city of Irbid which is 50 miles north of the capital Amman and about 13 miles from the Syrian border. 13 people were arrested according to the state run Petra news agency citing the General Intelligence Directive, Jordan’s national intelligence agency. Here Guest Writer Nehad Ismail argues that Jordan will prove to be stony ground for ISIS to try and sew discord.
Last year, the U.S. Embassy warned about “a potential threat against high-end malls in Amman… Extremist groups have repeatedly expressed interest in attacking so-called soft targets, such as malls and restaurants, in Jordan,” the embassy said.
Despite the existence of ISIS sympathisers in Jordanian society, the overwhelming majority are fiercely opposed to them particularly since the burning alive of Lt. Moath al-Kasasbeh, a 27-year-old Jordanian fighter pilot captured by ISIS in December 2014.
As part of the anti-ISIS coalition Jordan has become a target for ISIS operations. But Daesh/ISIS has so far failed to carry out a single spectacular operation in the country as it has done, and is still doing, in Iraq and Syria. ISIS launched military attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt and expanded its franchise into Libya.
The simple explanation for Daesh’s failure in Jordan is that it has no base of collaborators and there is no collusion and no deals between the Jordanian military and security apparatus and ISIS. This is not the case elsewhere.
Without Syrian and Iranian collusion ISIS couldn’t have lasted this long. It has lost in Kobane, and lost many villages in North Iraq and is now retreating. According to Zvi Bar’el the Israeli analyst writing in Haaretz 3rd June 2015 the “Assad regime forces abandoned the city of Palmyra and allowed ISIS to take it over unopposed”.Moreover Syrian activists in Raqqa, the de facto capital city of ISIS had been handed over to Daesh by the Assad forces for tactical political purposes.
Jordan responded to Kasasbeh’s killing by executing two prisoners — Sajida al-Rishawi, whose release ISIS had previously demanded as part of a prisoner exchange, and Ziad Karbouli, a former top aide to the late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Then the Jordanian government began cracking down on ISIS’s supporters and has been successful in foiling ISIS’s attempts to mount military operations due to strong intelligence and military readiness.
Jordanian intelligence also has infiltrated the Iraqi Sunni tribes aligned with ISIS. During the Iraq war, the US managed to turn those tribes against al Qaeda in Iraq and got them to fight with the Americans. That was a key pillar in the strategy that ultimately helped defeat the terrorist group, albeit temporarily.
But by far the most important factor to consider is that since ISIS’s existence was declared in the summer of 2013, ample evidence emerged to show that the military intelligences of Syria and Iran had penetrated and manipulated ISIS. Dozens of reports and articles had been written about “collusions and oil deals”. Recently the Russian bombing campaign in Syria has deliberately targeted moderate rebels supported by US and Turkey.
Opposition activists say this was Assad’s plan all along. Iraqi officials told the Wall Street Journal last year that the Syrian president has privately admitted the same. The regime buys oil from Islamic State territory, and the Islamic State helped the regime forces to capture the city of Aleppo last year
The latest evidence of collusion with ISIS came from the award-winning Syrian journalist Rami Jarrah who has just returned from besieged Aleppo. 300.000 people are stuck between Russian bombs, a siege by Assad and the threat of ISIS. Rami Jarrah is one of the few who still report from the struck regions. He gave a detailed interview to Pieter Stockmans of Mondiaal Nieuws published on 25 Feb 2016.
Jarrah said the Assad regime has effectively frightened the people with the propaganda message that all rebels are like ISIS. “The groups Russia is bombing nowadays are indeed the groups that are being supported by Turkey and other countries”.
“Aleppo is besieged by two dictatorships: Assad and ISIS. As long as ISIS controls the countryside east of Aleppo, the government can’t carry out a siege on its own”.
It is clear from Jarrah’s words that ISIS and Assad are working together in Aleppo and other areas. The most revealing point about this collusion is in this paragraph: “It is possible that Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are preparing an offensive on Raqqa. But only as an ultimate propaganda-victory: Assad’s final battle between himself and the enemy he himself helped to grow only to defeat this enemy and prove that Assad is in fact the only alternative.”
However, in Jordan ISIS will fail. The Jordanian Armed Forces are cohesive, competent, non-sectarian and loyal to King Abdullah and in Jordan ISIS will not find co-operation, co-ordination, collusion or oil to sell.