Jordan Jittery as Islamists Advance in Iraq
Fears are running high in Jordan over the danger that the Islamist Al Qaeda offshoot group that is rapidly conquering Iraq would quickly turns its sights on the Hashemite Kingdom.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has starting moving towards Baghdad, after conquering the second-largest Iraqi city of Mosul and several other northern cities this week in a lightning offensive.
Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote on the Gatestone Institute's website that ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi recently discussed expanding the group's hold on into Jordan, which shares a border with Iraq and Syria and already has a strong presence of Islamist movements.
Jordanian security sources were quoted as saying that Jordanian King Abdullah has requested urgent military aid from the US and other Western countries, so as to hold off the planned onslaught. The US has been largely inactive in response to ISIS's rapid gains, although on Thursday US President Barack Obama said short-term military actions would be needed in Iraq.
Abdullah's fears do not seem unfounded; ISIS terrorists have publicly called for his execution, declaring him a traitor to Islam who has joined forces with the West, according to Toameh.
ISIS threatened to "slaughter" the "tyrant" Abdullah in a recent video, which was uploaded to YouTube. The video features a Jordanian citizen and member of the Islamist group, who is seen tearing up his passport and throwing it in a fire while vowing to launch a suicide attack inside Jordan.
Oraib al-Rantawi, a Jordanian political analyst, has also rung the warning bell, stating "we in Jordan cannot afford the luxury of just waiting and monitoring."
"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. ...The time has come to increase coordination and cooperation with the regimes in Baghdad and Damascus to contain the crawling of extremism and terrorism," argued Rantawi.
Toameh concludes by warning that ISIS aims their sights not only on Jordan, but also Lebanon, the Sinai peninsula, and Gaza, from where they plan to target Israel.