Jor­dan: An oa­sis of sta­bil­ity

Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By YOSSI MELMAN

De­spite the ter­ror­ist at­tack that killed five peo­ple in Jor­dan Mon­day, the fact is that in the face of the many prob­lems and threats em­broil­ing the Hashemite King­dom, it is nev­er­the­less a rel­a­tively sta­ble state in the chaotic Mid­dle East.

The at­tack took place at the Baqaa camp, 20 km. north of Amman, which was one of sev­eral camps erected to shel­ter Pales­tinian refugees af­ter the Six Day War in June 1967.

Killed when gun­men opened fire were three Jor­da­nian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers, one guard and one tele­phone op­er­a­tor. As of press time, no one had yet claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the in­ci­dent, which oc­curred on the first day of Ra­madan, but it is most likely that the per­pe­tra­tors, be they lo­cals or for­eign­ers, acted on be­half of ei­ther Is­lamic State (ISIS) or an­other ji­hadist group.

Three months ago, Jor­da­nian se­cu­rity services foiled a

plot by ISIS ter­ror­ists in the north­ern city of Ir­bid, killing seven would-be per­pe­tra­tors. Jor­dan is the most im­por­tant base for the West­ern coali­tion fight­ing ISIS and sup­port­ing rebel groups op­posed to the regime of Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad in Syria.

CIA ad­vis­ers, US mil­i­tary train­ers and spe­cial Amer­i­can forces are op­er­at­ing very closely with the Jor­da­ni­ans. They run train­ing camps in Jor­dan for the Syr­ian pro-West­ern rebel groups and go on se­cret mis­sions in­side Syria, as well. So do the Bri­tish spe­cial forces, as was re­ported Mon­day by The Lon­don Times.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the Bri­tish forces – most prob­a­bly the elite SAS unit – use Jor­dan as a launch­ing pad for spe­cial in­tel­li­gence and as­sas­si­na­tion mis­sions against top ISIS op­er­a­tives.

In ad­di­tion, the Jor­da­nian se­cu­rity services are highly ap­pre­ci­ated by Is­raeli and West­ern coun­ter­parts, and are one of the best at pen­e­trat­ing ISIS and glean­ing in­for­ma­tion from its ranks.

The Jor­da­nian air force is part of the West­ern coali­tion and has taken part in nu­mer­ous air sor­ties in Syria. One of its pi­lots who had to eject from his fighter plane af­ter a tech­ni­cal prob­lem two years ago, was cap­tured by ISIS ter­ror­ists, tor­tured and even­tu­ally video­taped be­ing burned alive in­side of a cage in one of the most hor­rific im­ages por­tray­ing the cru­elty the ter­ror­ists are ca­pa­ble of.

The king­dom is also home to nearly 400,000 Syr­ian refugees, which adds an un­usual bur­den to its frag­ile econ­omy.

In re­cent years, Jor­dan wit­nessed on its bor­der with Syria, as well as within the coun­try it­self, sev­eral at­tempted and suc­cess­ful ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

Bor­der­ing ar­eas in Syria and Iraq that are con­trolled by ISIS and al-Qaida, it is a won­der that Jor­dan has man­aged to sur­vive. And yet, the regime of King Ab­dul­lah, re­ly­ing on its loyal army and ca­pa­ble in­tel­li­gence services and sup­ported by the Be­duin pop­u­la­tion, has man­aged to main­tain a sense of calm and sta­bil­ity.

De­spite some con­cern, the pre­vail­ing as­sump­tion within the Is­raeli de­fense es­tab­lish­ment, which main­tains very close ties with Jor­dan, is that nei­ther ISIS nor other ex­ter­nal ji­hadist groups, or lo­cal ter­ror­ist cells for that mat­ter, pose an ex­is­ten­tial threat to the Hashemite regime.

Both Amer­i­can and Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence services be­lieve Jor­dan will con­tinue to be an im­por­tant ally against ISIS and other ji­hadist forces and will re­main a pro-West­ern oa­sis in the Mid­dle East tur­moil. •

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