UPDATE: There has been some confusion in recent days about The Daily Caller article published earlier this week. Given how important these issues are to those of us in the region, to those in the U.S. government and the American people, let me be crystal clear.
- The primary danger I see to the future stability of the Hashemite Kingdom is not an internal danger, it’s an external danger. That is, the threat does not come from the citizens of Jordan. To the contrary, they overwhelmingly love their king, are grateful for his leadership and for the freedom and stability and opportunity they have in sharp contrast to many of their neighbors. Indeed, most believe Jordan is going in the right direction. Lynn and I saw this first hand, and public polling supports this.
- Rather, the primary threat to the stability of the Hashemite Kingdom right now comes from the Islamic State, which is on a genocidal killing spree in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has publicly threatened to overthrow King Abdullah II, seize Jordan as part of their caliphate, and fly their black flags over Amman.
- What makes the ISIS threat particularly worrisome to me is that there are now more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees living inside Jordan, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees. Are there ISIS radical sleeper cells hidden among them? We know there are. Jordan’s security services are taking down one ISIS or related cell a week — most publicly in an 11 hour recent gun battle in Irbid.
- Now, I have no doubt that most of these refugees are sincerely grateful to be housed in and cared for in Jordan. Indeed, King Abdullah II is to be highly commended for welcoming these refugees. He’s operating in the tradition of his father and great-grandfather who previously welcomed Palestinian refugees.Moreover, the King and the Jordanian people are showing beautiful Arab hospitality to people fleeing from the horrific civil war, brutal acts of terror by Al Nusra and other terror factions, and the murderous regimes of Assad and the Islamic State. Jordan is providing housing, food, water, clothing, medical care and education. I saw this first hand at the Zaatari Refugee Camp, and I was deeply impressed.
- Still, the challenge is that between 20% and 30% of the Jordanian population are not loyal, faithful Jordanians. Even if the vast majority of Syrian refugees, for example, are peaceful, grateful people, what if even 1% of the 1.3 million Syrians are members of the Islamic State, or al Qaeda or other terror groups? That would be 13,000 people. What if many others are not members of ISIS, but are loyal to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or sympathetic to his desire for a regional (and later global) caliphate? Do they have access to arms? Could they spark a violent uprising among some faction of their fellow refugees? I hope not. I pray not. But when you look at the fires burning in Syria and Iraq and Libya and Yemen, clearly there is cause for concern. As the King told the BBC in February, the influx of refugees has brought Jordan to the “boiling point.”
- This is what I mean when I say King Abdullah is sitting on a volcano — not that he governs Jordanian citizens who want to overthrow him, not at all, but that he now presides over so many people that he and his government do not know, some of whom may have dangerous designs. Some volcanos, of course, are dead or inert. Others blow when an earthquake occurs. Again, in a region shaking from tectonic geopolitical change, the threats to Jordan — and to all countries in the region — are real.
- The good news, in my view, is that Jordan’s King is uniquely qualified to handle this moment. He and his team have provided impressive stability year after year. Jordanians appreciate this. Israelis do, too. So do many Americans.
- That said, the King needs more help — he needs military equipment (including more Blackhawk helicopters) from the U.S., and he needs (and deserves) far more financial assistance from the Gulf states and European countries.
- The Jordanians are our friends and allies — let’s stand with them and help prevent worst case scenarios from ever taking place.
ORIGINAL STORY: Whoever emerges as the next American President will inherit a disaster in the Middle East.
Based on their track records, I have very little confidence that either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump are truly ready, willing or able to confront the forces of Radical and Apocalyptic Islam, neutralize the Iran nuclear threat, or the destroy the forces of the Islamic State.
What’s more, I have very little confidence that Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump are truly committed to rebuilding the severely strained U.S.-Israeli alliance, or effectively strengthening America’s relationship with our Sunni Arab allies including Jordan, Egypt, the Saudis or the Gulf emirates.
To the contrary, I believe there is a significant risk that the U.S. alliance with each of these countries will further deteriorate over the next four years.
In the course of recent months, I’ve explained why Mr. Trump would be a catastrophe as the next President. (See here, and here.) Soon, I will lay out a detailed explanation of why Mrs. Clinton would also be catastrophic for the country, as well..
Each day this week, however, I want to lay out some of the major challenges the next President will have to face in the Middle East, regardless of who wins.
Let’s start with Jordan. No Sunni Arab country has been a more faithful ally to the U.S. or the Western alliance. But there is a real and growing dangers.
Today, The Daily Caller published an interview with me about the possibility of ISIS toppling King Abdullah II and the people and territory of Jordan falling into the hands of forces driven by Radical or Apocalyptic Islam. I pray such scenarios never come to pass. But it’s vital that the American people, Members of Congress, and especially the next President of the United States consider the risks and develop policies to effectively stand with and strengthen Jordan in these dark times.
Here are excerpts from the story….
By Alex Pfeiffer, The Daily Caller, May 10, 2016
Middle East expert and New York Times bestselling author Joel Rosenberg told The Daily Caller Monday that Jordan could see the downfall of its king and royal family due to increased pressure from ISIS and a refugee crisis.
Rosenberg has just returned to his home in Israel after spending five days with King Abdullah II touring the country. Jordan is regarded as one of the key Sunni allies for America in the Middle East.
“Jordan’s king is sitting on a volcano, nearly surrounded by a raging forest fire, bracing for a massive earthquake,” Rosenberg wrote in a recent op-ed.
North of Jordan is Syria, and to the east is Iraq. Jordan has accepted more 1.3 million refugees from Syria….
“[ISIS would] love to capture Amman and seize Jordan as part of the caliphate,” Rosenberg told TheDC.
He added that Jordanian security services are rounding up one ISIS or ISIS-related cell per week. The threat from refugees that Jordan faces is not only from the refugees themselves but from an uprising of disgruntled citizens.
As of December 2015, refugees constitute a third of Jordan’s population. “There’s the danger that people are going to get angry and that there’s some tipping point that people decide they’re not going to take it anymore and have Cairo style, Tripoli style protests that could become violent,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg….has written 11 novels about Middle Eastern terrorism, and five non-fiction books.
The author was fairly adamant that the U.S should provide Jordan more help. Currently the U.S gives Jordan a $1 billion in aid, but Rosenberg doesn’t think it’s enough.
“I think he’s not getting enough help and I think it’s incredibly dangerous what’s happening and it could lead to great danger, and even the demise of the Hashemites,” the author told TheDC.
- Read The First Hostage today — the new political thriller about ISIS plotting to capture and behead the President of the United States — is available in hardcover, e-book and audio formats.
- Read THE THIRD TARGET today , the first in this new series — now out in paperback — the New York Times best-selling novel about ISIS capturing chemical weapons in Syria and plotting genocidal attacks.
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