Regional War Looms? Jordan Deploys Massive Force on Iraqi Border
Jordan has deployed massive army forces on its Iraqi border Friday, in yet another sign of heightening tension as the war in Iraq threatens to spill over into a full-fledged regional clash.
The Jordanian army has placed tanks, army vehicles, missile launchers and soldiers throughout the length of its Iraqi border reports Yedioth Aharonoth citing the Arab news source Asharq Al-Aswat.
The heavy deployment comes in an attempt to block the security threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has conquered huge portions of Iraq in a blitz military campaign that has its forces closing in on the Jordanian border.
In the Arabic report, Jordanian sources were quoted as claiming that the Iraqi army still controls the area just over the Jordanian border, but that they have already lost control over adjacent areas.
A senior Jordanian captain told the paper the army is at maximum preparedness so as to be able to get involved at a moment's notice.
Jordan has good reason to worry; ISIS Islamists have publicly called for Jordanian King Abdullah's execution, declaring him a traitor to Islam who has joined forces with the West.
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.
Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote 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.
The rising blood pressure of Jordan's military comes amid signs of the Iraqi war snowballing into a regional war.
Syrian forces conducted an airstrike on ISIS forces in Iraq on Wednesday, in a cross border attack that raises questions about Syria being dragged into the fighting in Iraq. ISIS has already been active in the civil war in Syria for some time.
The Shi'ite nation of Iran also reportedly has sent forces into Iraq, allegedly to consult with the Shi'ite-ruled government in facing off with the Sunni ISIS movement.
Israel on Thursday also showed signs that it could get involved in the regional flare up to help stem the advance of radical Islamists.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman met with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday in Paris, and stated Israel is offering to aid "moderate" Arab states.
"The extremists currently operating in Iraq will try to challenge the stability in the entire Gulf region, first of all in Kuwait," said Liberman in a statement from his office on the meeting. "Israel could provide effective and reliable assistance to moderate Arab states who are dealing with extremists."
It should be noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been critical of American statements hinting at a collaboration with Iran against ISIS. Kuwait, the nation mentioned by Liberman, has shown signs of growing closer to Iran, with Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah making a historic visit to Iran at the start of the month.
The visit was the first by a leader of Kuwait, which is an ally of the US, to Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Reportedly, the two countries signed six agreements, one of them a security agreement, during the visit.