As fires rage across the Mideast, a key man to watch is Jordan’s moderate King Abdullah II.

A key man to watch: Jordan's moderate King Abdullah II.

A key man to watch: Jordan’s moderate King Abdullah II.

On January 10th of this year, I began writing a series of columns on key people in the epicenter who I planned to keep an eye on in 2014. The first name on my list was Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Sure enough, the King has proven himself a central player in a region set aflame by the forces of Radical Islam this year.

As the flames get higher, several critical questions come to the fore:

  • Will ISIS or other Radical groups try to topple the King and raise their black flag over Amman?
  • Will the U.S., NATO and other allies stand closely together with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, one of our most important allies in the region, to make sure this does not happen?
  • Will the U.S., Israel and Sunni Arab countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia — as well as some of the emirates — forge a quiet but effective alliance not only to stop jihadists like ISIS but to stop the ayatollahs in Iran from going nuclear?

As the year draws to a close, I remain intrigued and impressed with King Abdullah II both a monarch and a Reformer. He is actively trying to lead his small, oil-less, but vitally important nation towards progress and freedom, tolerance and modernity. He’s keeping close ties with the Arab world. He maintains a close friendship with the U.S., and is maintaining his nation’s courageous peace treaty with Israel. He’s also actively trying to help the Palestinians and Israelis make peace, as well. But the Radicals desperately want to topple the King and seize Jordan for themselves.

When I was in Amman in May doing research for my forthcoming novel — The Third Target — I met with Jordan’s Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Interior Minister and other key officials. They warned of an “explosion” of Radical Islamic extremism and foreign jihadist fighters coming out of Syria that could threaten other nations in the region, including them.

“I’m not worried about Syria imploding,” a senior advisor to Jordan’s Foreign Minister told me, “I’m worried about it exploding” and sending newly emboldened terrorists across the region and across the globe.

I specifically asked Jordan’s Interior Minister, His Excellency Hussein Hazza’ Al-Majali, if ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Arabic for the “Levant,” or Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel) — was a particularly serious threat. Without hesitation, he agreed it was.

Majali said he wasn’t worried about ISIS toppling King Abdullah II, assuring me that he and the King’s intelligence and security forces work around the clock to prevent just such a disaster. But when I asked him if the plot of my novel about the rising ISIS threat was credible, he assured me that, unfortunately, it was.

  • Please pray for the moderate Arabs in the epicenter — King Abdullah II chief among them — to be strong and decisive in putting down this rapidly rising threat from ISIS and other jihadists.
  • Let’s pray for the safety of the King, and the millions of Jordanians who live a very stable and peaceful life.
  • Let’s also keep praying for the people of Iraq and Syria who are suffering terribly at this dark time.

Finally, consider this headline from earlier this summer: “ISIS THREATENS TO INVADE JORDAN, ‘SLAUGHTER’ KING ABDULLAH.”

Here are a few excerpts from the story:

“The recent victories in Iraq and Syria by the terrorists of ISIS — said to be an offshoot of al-Qaeda — have emboldened the group and its followers throughout the Middle East,” writes Khaled Abu Toameh, a former Arab affairs reporter for the Jerusalem Post. “Now the terrorists are planning to move their jihad not only to Jordan, but also to the Gaza Strip, Sinai and Lebanon. Failure to act will result in the establishment in the Middle East of a dangerous extremist Islamic empire that will pose a threat to American and Western interests.”….

“According to the sources, ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi recently discussed with his lieutenants the possibility of extending the group’s control beyond Syria and Iraq,” Toameh notes. “One of the ideas discussed envisages focusing ISIS’s efforts on Jordan, where Islamist movements already have a significant presence. Jordan was also chosen because it has shared borders with Iraq and Syria, making it easier for the terrorists to infiltrate the kingdom.

“Jordanian political analyst Oraib al-Rantawi sounded alarm bells by noting that the ISIS threat to move its fight to the kingdom was real and imminent,” the report states.

“We in Jordan cannot afford the luxury of just waiting and monitoring,” he cautioned. “The danger is getting closer to our bedrooms. It has become a strategic danger; it is no longer a security threat from groups or cells. We must start thinking outside the box. The time has come to increase coordination and cooperation with the regimes in Baghdad and Damascus to contain the crawling of extremism and terrorism.”

“The ISIS terrorists see Jordan’s Western-backed King Abdullah as an enemy of Islam and an infidel, and have publicly called for his execution,” says Toameh. “ISIS terrorists recently posted a video on YouTube in which they threatened to ‘slaughter’ Abdullah, whom they denounced as a ‘tyrant.’ Some of the terrorists who appeared in the video were Jordanian citizens who tore up their passports in front of the camera and vowed to launch suicide attacks inside the kingdom.”

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