The terrorism industry in Jordan

تم نشره في Sun 11 May / May 2014. 09:04 AM - آخر تعديل في Sun 11 May / May 2014. 09:04 AM

By Fahed Khitan

Al-Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist groups are no longer just a small, armed, and isolated groups in the Arab world, but now they are a power that is ruling in many areas.

In Iraq, the group is standing strong in the western regions, and expand to the center and north. In Syria, it became a state already controlling al-Riqa and its surroundings, expanding to the south and west, and has a firm grip on the vast rural areas. Yemen's al-Qaeda holds some states, and hits the capital Sanaa whenever it wants, and all attempts to eradicate it failed. In Lebanon, the influence of extremists is escalating significantly.

In Egypt, however, extremist groups are still active and strong in Sinai, despite the intensified military campaigns. Their influence has reached other provinces in the depth of Egypt, not to mention the militant groups that carried out deadly operations in the heart of major cities.

In countries such as Libya, the militant groups affiliated with al-Qaeda are sharing power with the tribes and the weak government forces in several provinces, and will soon be as strong as the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq. And the presence of al-Qaeda is significant in Algeria, Mauritania, and Somalia, too.

Arab countries have succeeded in containing the influence of extremists in a few cases,  and perhaps only in Tunisia actually, where the political and social forces were able to isolate the armed groups and turn them into mere gangs hunted by security forces in the mountains and areas far from cities.

The Arab world was not in danger of extremism as it is today. And al-Qaeda never dreamt of having this audience and influence as it does today. Countries were al-Qaeda did not spawn yet are not immune to its danger; it is only a matter of time until extremist groups shift from peaceful, "Jihadi" action to armed action, driven by the successes of their sisters movements in more than one place, and basing it on the experience of thousands of its members who are moving between the "Jihad" arenas.

Jordan is at the forefront of these countries, and the evidence are clear; geographical location amid unstable countries with active terrorist organizations, the involvement of hundreds and possibly thousands of Jordanians in these organizations who are assuming leadership positions. The strong presence of Salafi jihadist groups within the society, widening its sphere of influence; they are no longer isolated hotbeds, but fortified groups: They recruit, organize, and gain more supporters every day unseen. Hotbeds of extremism in Jordan today are largest and broadest than the hotbeds of poverty which the government put development plans and programs to contain and reduce it, while doing nothing to control and curb the climate of extremism - we even see it and its prevailing ideas tolerated in some instances.

The in-depth look at the internal scene in Jordan show the frightening aspect of the picture, which is a general tendency towards extremism and an unprecedented willingness of community groups to accept the rhetoric of al-Qaeda and its fatwas, offset by the almost total absence of state rhetoric.

The state still relies on the security approach to curb extremist groups, an approach which failed in other Arab countries that had security agencies of not less importance and strength than ours.

The fundamental problem in the behavior of the state regarding these risks is that they focus their efforts to fend off the dangers of terrorism and terrorists coming from abroad, and ignored the fact that extremism has become a Jordanian industry par excellence. 

@fahed_khitan 

 

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.

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