Click photo to download. Caption: An Israeli border policeman patrols the area of the Judean desert, near the Jordan border. After swift victories in Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) terrorist group is also setting its sights on Jordan, threatening to drag Israel into the global jihadist conflict. Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90.
By Sean Savage/JNS.org
Emerging from the chaos of the Syrian civil war, the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) terrorist group has gained the world’s attention for its brutal medieval-style Islamic justice and its swift victories in Iraq, threatening to overrun the weak U.S.-backed government there. But now ISIS is also setting its sights on Jordan, threatening to drag Israel into the global jihadist conflict.
“They are a vicious and brutal group, and have even done some things that al-Qaeda thought were unwise,” Elliot Abrams, who served as deputy national security advisor for former President George W. Bush and is currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told JNS.org.
“More people, more money, and more guns. They do constitute a real threat,” Abrams said.
The goals of ISIS are clear from its name. Alternatively translated as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham–the Arabic name for the Levant region–or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group seeks to control the entire region, which in addition to Iraq and Syria includes Jordan, Lebanon, and even Israel and the Palestinian territories.
ISIS has origins in the various different al-Qaeda-affiliated Sunni jihadists groups that have been active in the region for most of the past decade, including the infamous al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by former Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006 during the Iraq War.
As the Syrian civil war has dragged on since 2011, ISIS and other al-Qaeda-influenced jihadist have been able to bolster themselves through ransom, extortion, and oil revenue, while simultaneously attracting fighters from across the world.
Amid its swift victories in large swaths of Iraq, ISIS has also set its sights on nearby Jordan, which is ruled by the moderate pro-Western King Abdullah. ISIS terrorists consider Abdullah an enemy of Islam and an infidel, and have publicly called for his execution. A recent video posted by ISIS threatened to “slaughter” the king and called him a “tyrant.”
“It is in the West’s and Israel’s best interest to put a stop to ISIS’s advancement,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Major General (ret.) Israel Ziv told JNS.org.
Yet ISIS’s rapid progress through Iraq can be deceiving. While the terror group has been noted for its success in conquering Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and for threatening Baghdad, it has also faced a weak enemy so far.
“It’s true they have done better than anybody expected in Iraq. But it’s not that they have done things brilliantly, it’s just that the Iraqi army has totally collapsed,” Abrams said, noting that the Jordanian and Israeli militaries, by …read more