A United Jordan Still at Risk from Islamic State

King Abdullah, cc Wikicommons

Since the 1973 ‘Yom Kippur’ war, Jordan has managed to avoid being entangled in the Middle East region’s wars. In 1990-91, then King Hussein, did not join the international coalition, which also included Syria, during operations ‘Desert Shield’ and ‘Desert Storm’ against Iraq. Jordan paid a high price for its pro-Iraqi stance, losing millions in aid funds from the Persian Gulf States and gaining hundreds of thousands of refugees. In 2003 a different king, Abdullah II, took a different stance by facilitating the British and American invasion of Iraq, but he refused any kind of direct involvement against what had been one of Jordan’s closest allies (Saddam Hussein); no doubt the pro-Saddam sympathies of Palestinians, who make up some 40% of Jordan’s population, played a big role in limiting the Hashemite Kingdom’s contribution.

Now Jordan has been sucked into a conflict against one of the darkest forces to be unleashed by the Iraq war, the so-called Islamic State or ISIS (The Arabs refer to it as Daish). This is Jordan’s first major individual military foray against a regional enemy – all others have been in conjunction with other Arab countries such as Egypt or Syria, and it is legitimate to ask to what extent the Jordanians are able to sustain a conflict with the self-styled Caliphate.

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