Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • Wednesday, June 25, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last week, the jihadist group that is destabilizing Iraq and has caused chaos in the Syrian revolution made an appearance in Jordan:

AMMAN — Dozens of supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) rallied in Maan on Friday marking the upstart jihadist movement’s first public appearance in Jordan.

The jihadists gathered in the southern city, some 220km south of the capital, to celebrate ISIL’s recent military gains in Iraq, praising what they described as “victories for Islam”.

Raising the banners of ISIL, some 60 supporters marched in downtown Maan and chanted: “Today Iraq, tomorrow the caliphate” in reference to the group’s stated goal of re-establishing a greater Islamic state, eyewitnesses said.

Participants — the bulk of whom comprised young Jihadi Salafists and former ISIL fighters chanted: “The caliphate is coming to Jordan.”

According to Islamist sources, the rally was organised by the recently established Islamic State-Jordan, a loose gathering of some 200 current and former ISIL fighters devoted to “recruiting and raising support” for the group.

According to those close to the ISIL offshoot, the pre-planned rally is the first of a series of steps to “raise ISIL’s profile” in Jordan to rally support among Jordanians.

“We want to counter accusations and misinformation that the Islamic State is a foreign movement, or a movement that is being directed by the Assad regime or Iran,” said Abu Mohammad, an ISIL supporter.

“This march aims to show that we are a genuine, independent movement that has true support in Jordan.”
That may be the first public appearance by ISIL, but it looks like they have been quietly building their network in Jordan. According to Israeli experts, Jordan is in serious danger from the jihadists:

A range of experts on the Middle East say that the repercussions of the Sunni militants’ victories in Iraq will be felt beyond the borders: in Syria, where an emboldened ISIL might attack Damascus; in Jordan, which shares a long border with Iraq and is fragile enough to be destabilized; and in Israel, which will act against any ISIL power-grab in neighbouring Jordan.

Kobi Michael and Udi Dekel, senior research fellows at the INSS, also say Baghdad for now is not the biggest concern. The major gain for ISIL from its advances in Iraq has been in Syria where its dominant position had been eroded by rival opposition forces such as the Nusra Front, a group still linked to al-Qaeda. This force had pushed ISIL into the northeast corner of Syria, and even continues to control some border crossings to Iraq.

Now, however, armed with money seized from Iraqi banks and captured U.S. weapons including anti-tank missiles and armoured vehicles, ISIL can start to push back.

It is “only a matter of time” before the group launches an attack on Damascus, say the two Israelis in a report published Tuesday.

And that is not the only Arab capital in danger.

“If the recent events spill over into Jordan and ISIL forms strongholds in the Hashemite kingdom … Jordan is liable to be engulfed in chaos with the survival of the kingdom threatened,” say Mr. Michael and Mr. Dekel. Already it is being threatened by a growing number of jihadist cells “infiltrating the state under the guise of refugees.”

Saudi Arabia has announced that if necessary it would dispatch tanks to defend Jordan. But that won’t be enough to stop the advance of an insidious force such as ISIL. Nor can Jordan count on Washington to do the right thing in time, according to the Israeli researchers.

“Jordan needs a clear strategic military ally,” they say. And “although it cannot admit it openly, its only practical strategic military ally is apparently Israel.”

Indeed, the last thing Israel wants is a jihadist group such as ISIL camped on the border across the Jordan River, and it will do whatever it must to keep Jordan free of these forces.

(h/t Yoel)

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