The war on terrorism just turned personal for Jordan

By Lynn R. Mitchell

For Jordan’s King Abdullah, the fight against terrorism has now become personal. From Kevin Baron at Defense One (see Jordan’s Retaliation Is the Real Arab Awakening the Pentagon Has Been Waiting For):

This is the moment the Pentagon has been waiting for. All those years of “building partner capacity,” to train, equip, fund, strengthen and professionalize the militaries of Middle East dictators and kingdoms, are about to pay off.

The unthinkable immolation of Jordanian pilot First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh has ignited Arab outrage against a terrorist group that arguably has never been seen. Almost immediately after ISIS released their gruesome video of his death, Jordan’s Army spokesman promised a “earth-shaking and decisive” retaliatory response. And the world overnight focused on this: it took less than 12 hours for Jordan to exact revenge executions of two terrorists, Sajida al-Rishawi, whose suicide-bomb vest failed to explode in a 2005 attack on an Amman hotel, and Ziad al-Karbouli, of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

“Let there be no doubt: We still do not have a viable strategy to counter ISIL, and if you are not winning in war, you are losing,” said Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., at the top of Ash Carter’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

The bloodthirsty statements from Jordanian leaders came with remarkably strong backing by Muslim religious authorities across the region. Why? Clerics took particular issue with ISIS burning someone to death with fire. What they ask, in return, may not be much easier to stomach. Egypt’s grand sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, called for al-Kasasbeh killers to be “killed, or crucified, or [have] their hands and legs cut off.” Similar outcries came from top clerics in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, but the underlying criticism of ISIS’s latest barbaric act was the same. “This method has turned society against them,” said Abu Sayaf, who is Jordanian.

Jordan is raining fire down on ISIS locations. Led by King Abdullah’s leadership, it will be interesting to see if the blood-thirsty ISIS terrorists have met their Waterloo.

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