The Jordanian role in the war on the Islamic State

تم نشره في Wed 15 October / Oct 2014. 12:22 PM

By Fahed Khitan

Little is known about the Jordan’s role in the international coalition against the Islamic State; officials at various levels in the government either do not know a lot — same as everyone else — or they are reluctant to disclose any information. On the whole, it is believed that only a few, very senior officials know the details, and do not care about informing others.

Jordan has been engaged in the air strikes on the strongholds of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria since the first day. It is not known whether Jordanian aircraft bombed IS in Iraq or not. But after the orphan announcement for the first sorties, no official statement was issued on the following sorties that the Pentagon has announced.

The US and western politicians gave out extravagant preliminary assessments on the impact of air strikes on IS. However, Arab countries involved in the campaign, and are supposed to have a major role, including Jordan, did not, not through a single statement, announce their opinion on what has been achieved so far.

Nothing is new for us in the media; this official disregard for the right of the public to know what is going on; whether regarding daily life or crucial issues such as a participation in a global war, such as those we are fighting now against terrorist groups.

But the information we have, which came from a Western source, of course, indicate a ground intervention in Syria and perhaps in Iraq, is being discussed currently in small rooms. According to the same sources, the meeting between the coalition’s armies’ chiefs-of-staff, which began in the United States yesterday, is the main forum to look at this and other options, in light of the modest results of aerial bombardment to date.

Senior American army leaders spoke about the ground incursion, with the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey being the latest. Remarkably, however, in the words of these leaders, if the ground intervention does happen, it will not be with American troops; in a clear reference to the Arab forces that will take over the task.

Such a thing, if it materializes, will be a serious and significant shift in the war, and it is not known whether Jordan has a clear answer on it, or whether it needs some time to think about the implications on such a difficult and expensive option.

Since its formation, the international coalition is facing serious problems­­­, that is the absence of a strategic vision, and the lack of a clear political agenda, not to mention the differing goals and attitudes of countries involved in the crisis in Syria and the situation in Iraq.

Jordan said from the outset that it is entering the coalition in defense of its national interests threatened by terrorist groups. But this definition is enough to participate in the coalition, but is not enough for the subsequent and potential tasks, such as ground incursion.

The war on terrorism in the region will last for long, which is also confirmed by Western politicians and the Arabs. In order not to be a victim of a US leadership that does not have a clear vision, we should redefine our role in the coalition, and demark the limitation of Jordan's role. That is a national issue par excellence, and should be completed domestically, so that we are not surprised one day by our troops entering an area of ​​operations as we were surprised with the first sorties of our fighter aircraft.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.