Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Jordan, and the word of a King

I'm not going to go in to detail on the burning in a cage execution of First Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh, RJAF - my friends over at Jawa have that covered.

Instead, I'm looking where everyone else is. I'm watching to see the actions from Jordan. Their King and their government have made some very strong statements following the murder of their pilot.
Jordan has executed two Iraqi militants in response to ISIS killing a captured Jordanian pilot with fire.

Sajida al-Rishawi, the Iraqi woman militant, was sentenced to death for her role in a 2005 suicide bomb attack that killed 60 people. Ziyad Karboli, an Iraqi al Qaeda operative, who was convicted in 2008 for killing a Jordanian, was also executed at dawn, the source said.

Jordanian defense officials had promised retribution.

According to Habib, an army spokesperson promised that Jordan's response will "be at the level of disaster." Conflict News reported that an army spokesperson said that the country's "revenge will be of the size of the anger of the Jordanian people," which is apparently considerable: Habib is reporting a general mood of "anger, disgust" and "calls for revenge."
Yes, one does have to take in to consideration the fact that Jordan is a small nation of 6.5 million, not a rich petro-state, and one that is already under stress from the legion of Syrian refugees it is hosting.

Don't underestimate Jordanian resolve. Keep this in mind as you read the quote below; though native Jordanians are mostly descended from Bedouin, the majority of the population are Palestinians.
When (in 1970) Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser agreed to a cease-fire in the war of attrition, and King Hussein supported the move, George Habash, the PFLP leader, promised that "we will turn the Middle East into a hell," while Arafat invoked the battle of Marathon in 490 BC and vowed, before a cheering crowd of 25,000 in Amman on July 31, 1970, that "We will liberate our land."

Three times between June 9 and Sept. 1, Hussein escapes assassination attempts, the third time as would-be assassins open fire on his motorcade while he drove to Amman airport to meet his daughter Alia, who was returning from Cairo.

The War

Between Sept. 6 and Sept. 9, Habash's militants hijacked five planes, blew up one, and diverted three others to a desert strip in Jordan called Dawson field, where they blew up the planes on Sept. 12. Rather than receiving the support of King Hussein, the Palestinian hijackers were surrounded by units of the Jordanian military. Even though Arafat worked for the release of the hostages, he also turned his PLO militants loose on the Jordanian monarchy. A bloodbath ensued.

Up to 15,000 Palestinian militants and civilians were killed, swaths of Palestinian towns and refugee camps, where the PLO had massed weapons, leveled, the PLO leadership decimated, and between 50,000 and 100,000 people were left homeless. Arab regimes criticized Hussein for what they called "overkill."

Before the war, Palestinians had run a state-within-a-state in Jordan headquartered in Amman. Their militias ruled the streets and imposed brutal and arbitrary discipline with impunity.

Hussein ended the Palestinians' reign.
As the former head of Jordanian special forces, King Abdullah II knows the business.

So, we'll watch. One note of caution; it is clear that the Islamic State is trying to provoke what they see as a week and vulnerable Jordan. The King must do what the King must do, but he needs to be measured - but act he will. Thousands of his subjects are fighting as part of the Islamic State. They and their supporters will have to choose carefully as well. This branch of the Hashemite family has a history of dealing harshly with those who threaten it from within.

If he is as crafty, which I believe he is, as his father, he should thread this needle and come out stronger.

On a final note; this whole experience that started with the Syrian civil war and progressed now to what is going on in Jordan should shut anyone up who thinks that Israel needs to give up on inch of the Golan Heights - or any but a token bit of the West Bank.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You seem to think that just saying things is clever/insightful.

Alinsky! Hahaha. Chicago! Hahaha. The Won! Hahaha.