How serious is the ISIS threat to Israel & Jordan? My interview with “The Times of Israel.”

TimesofIsrael-masthead(Dallas, Texas) — Earlier this week, I did an interview with a contributor to The Times of Israel. We discussed The Third Target, the research behind the book, and the growing threat the Islamic State poses both to Israel and to her neighbor, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Here’s the article….

The Islamic State’s Third Target

By Robert Onley, The Times of Israel, January 17, 2015

With reports indicating that Islamic State militants are managing to gain territory in Iraq and Syria in spite of US and coalition air strikes, the world is witnessing a nightmare scenario unfold across the Middle East: what if the Islamic State simply cannot be stopped?

In New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg’s latest novel, The Third Target, this troubling question is examined in serious, careful detail. Known for eerily prescient political thrillers whose plots accurately predicted hijacked airliners attacking the United States, the Iraq War, and the death of Yasser Arafat (among other major geopolitical events), Rosenberg and his books rocketed in popularity over the last fifteen years.

After writing extensively about radical Islam in both fiction and nonfiction, from Sunni jihadists with AK’s to Shia theocrats pursuing nuclear weapons, last year Rosenberg set out to examine whether a terror threat existed that he was not yet aware of, but ought to be.

Helping his investigative efforts, Rosenberg is a former advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu with an extensive network of friends and officials whom he tapped to explore the question above. In researching The Third Target, Rosenberg met with two former heads of the CIA, R. James Woolsey and Porter Goss, and the former head of the Mossad, Danny Yatom, among many other intelligence officials. Months before the Islamic State, or ISIL, burst onto the international scene, the answers Rosenberg heard separately from these intelligence chiefs were both unanimous and chilling.

“They each were concerned that Al-Qaeda in Iraq was morphing into something new, something more dangerous,” Rosenberg says. In early 2014, while President Obama went on the record claiming that ISIL was merely a “jayvee team” and hardly worth worrying about, Rosenberg stated, “These officials warned me that what kept them up at night was the rise of this Al-Qaeda offshoot, ISIL, and the reality that an Islamist-led overthrow of Jordan was a genuine worst-case scenario and a possibility.”

These foreboding comments prompted Rosenberg to dig further. After more meetings in Washington, he traveled to Jordan, meeting with Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, and Interior Minister Hussein Al-Majali to discuss regional threats. Mentioning potential plot ideas, including a chemical attack and the risk of an overthrow, Al-Majali responded to Rosenberg, “the King has appointed me to make sure the scenario that you are writing about will never happen in our country. But it is a plausible scenario, and that is the problem.”

After digesting countless intensive interviews with Western and Middle Eastern officials, Rosenberg sat down to write The Third Target, which, soon after the first draft was finished and in light of ISIL’s rapid rise across the Middle East, had its release date pushed up by three months. Published early on January 6th of this year, The Third Target imagines a scenario in which ISIL captures a cache of chemical weapons in Syria, and threatens to deploy them against an unknown city. Rosenberg says,“The question I wanted to ask in this book was, what if ISIL tries to set into motion attacks on a number of targets – and what if one of those targets was Jordan, Israel, or the United States?”

As if the plot was ripped from the headlines and bringing the pages of The Third Target alive, Jordan’s King Abdullah recently stated publicly on CBS News that the battle against ISIL, is, in effect, “our generation’s Third World War.” But in order to stop ISIL and thwart any attempt to attack Jordan, Rosenberg believes that President Obama and the leaders of NATO must view ISIL as “such a significant threat to national security” that the US takes “decisive military action, with no more half measures.”….

To read the rest of the column on The Times of Israel website, please click here.

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