Jordan toughening stance in fight against ISIS

Jordan’s King Abdullah pledged a “relentless war” against ISIS following the terror group’s brutal killing of a captured Jordanian pilot, which appears to have toughened the resolve of many Jordanians against ISIS.

Jordan has been a partner in the US-led coalition against ISIS for some time, but public support for their involvement has until now been lukewarm. However, the public mood seems to have shifted to a far more determined footing since ISIS broadcast a video this week of Muadh al-Kasasbeh, a recently captured Jordanian pilot, being burned alive while locked in a cage by his captors. Jordanian authorities reacted almost immediately by executing two convicted Islamist terrorists.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah cut short a visit to Washington and returned home to be greeted by thousands of supporters. Addressing the country, he told state television, “We are waging this war to protect our faith, our values and human principles, and our war for their sake will be relentless and will hit them in their own ground.” Government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani indicated that Jordan could increase air strikes against ISIS, commenting, “We are talking about a collaborative effort between coalition members to intensify efforts to stop extremism and terrorism to undermine, degrade and eventually finish Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ISIS].”

Israeli leaders expressed solidarity with Jordan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the Jordanian people over al-Kasasbeh’s murder, while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman commented “King Abdullah must be praised on his quick and powerful response to this despicable terror.” Amos Yadlin, the Zionist Union candidate for Defence Minister said, “All of Israel commiserates with the Jordanian people.”

Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement in 1994 and since then bilateral relations have been largely smooth. In addition to economic cooperation, the two countries work together on security issues, especially with ISIS strong in parts of Syria which borders both countries. Given that Jordan’s border spans almost the entirety of eastern Israel, Jordanian stability carries particular significance for Israel.

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