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Is Jordan next? Will it fall to the Islamic State? King Abdullah knows he is in a winner-take-all war with ISIS. Does Washington?

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2015 at 9:50 am
The Warrior King?

The Warrior King?

Here is the new op-ed I just wrote for the FoxNews.com Opinion page.

Jordan’s King Abdullah is in a winner-take-all war with the Islamic State

By Joel C. Rosenberg, special for Fox News Opinion, February 17, 2015

With the barbaric murder of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh — the Jordanian pilot locked in a cage and burned alive by operatives of the Islamic State, for all the world to see — Jordan’s King Abdullah faces the most dangerous moment since ascending to the throne in 1999.

ISIS jihadists in Syria and Iraq have publicly threatened to invade Jordan and “slaughter” Abdullah, whom they denounce as a “tyrant.” Extremists inside Jordan took to the streets last summer shouting, “Down, down with Abdullah!” The latest ISIS propaganda video attacks the king as an “ally of the crusaders.” One figure in the video proclaims, “all Arab tyrants should…be burned.”

While Jordan has remained a source of calm in the region, the roots of radical Islamic extremism run deep there. A Jordanian, Abu Musab Zarqawi, was the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq — the precursor to ISIS — before he was killed by a U.S. airstrike on June 7, 2006. Today, an estimated 2,000 Jordanian nationals are fighting with ISIS. What happens when they come back to Jordan?

Meanwhile, 1.3 million people, mostly Muslims, have fled Syria and are currently residing in Jordan. Some 600,000 are contained inside refugee camps. The rest are freely moving about the country. How many are plotting against the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and how advanced and sophisticated are their plans?

The good news is that King Abdullah understands full well that he is in a winner-take-all showdown with ISIS, which he describes as “a Third World war.” As a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, the king sees himself as a moderate Arab reformer. He believes Islam is the answer to the challenges facing his region, but he does not believe violent jihad is the way forward. He has built good relations with the West, maintains a solid peace treaty with Israel, and has worked hard to protect Christians in Jordan. But he is acutely aware that the jihadists are gunning for him. Indeed, upon hearing the news of the pilot’s murder, he immediately cut short his visit to Washington and returned to Amman to launch an “earth-shaking” military response to ISIS.

The urgent question right now is whether American leaders fully understand just how catastrophic it would be for Jordan to fall to ISIS, and whether they are truly committed to taking all measures necessary to crush ISIS and stand firm with Jordan, one of our most important Arab allies.

Friends and enemies alike have pointed out that President Obama has been indecisive and inconsistent in responding to the turmoil caused by the extremists. U.S.-led airstrikes have slowed the jihadist advance in Iraq, but ISIS is steadily expanding its control of Syria. Yet inexplicably, the White House has failed to set forth a clear strategy to defeat the Islamic State in either Iraq or Syria, even as the rest of the neighborhood — from the shores of Tripoli to the Hindu Kush — is falling apart before our eyes.

Obama is now asking for congressional authorization for his half-hearted war on ISIS. Yet his very request shows how unsure and unserious he is. Congress should pass a resolution authorizing the use of “all means necessary” to defeat the enemy. But the president’s draft explicitly rules out any serious use of ground forces, even if America’s military leaders deem them essential.

Obama specifically refuses to put an adequate number of U.S. special forces and technical advisers on the ground to help Iraqi forces retake their country. Last month, retired four-star U.S. Army General Jack Keane testified before Congress that at least 10,000 U.S. special operators are needed in the theater to prosecute an effective war against ISIS. Thus far, the administration adamantly disagrees.

At the same time, President Obama refuses to directly and adequately arm the Kurds in their fight against ISIS, despite their heroic efforts on the battlefield. Obama should be providing Jordan and the Iraqis far more arms and other resources to fight ISIS, but he hesitates.

Meanwhile, he exhibits a dangerously dysfunctional attitude toward two key American allies in the region, namely Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Like Jordan’s King Abdullah, both Netanyahu and al-Sisi clearly see the grave threat posed by the Shia brand of radicalism advanced by Iran and Hezbollah, and the similarly ominous threat posed by the Sunni brand of violent extremism advanced by ISIS, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Netanyahu and Sisi are quietly but actively working together – and with Jordan – against these threats. Yet Obama’s public disdain for the Israeli and Egyptian leaders in the midst of a hot war is both counterproductive (the Egyptians are now turning to Moscow for help) and risks undermining the trust and confidence of Jordan’s leaders, as well as that of other Mideast allies.

With so many other major challenges in the Middle East at present, it would be easy for American policy-makers to overlook Jordan’s importance — easy, but a mistake. Jordan is the cornerstone of any future Arab-Israeli peace plan. If it fell to ISIS, Jordan would quickly become a launching pad for terrorist attacks against America and its allies.

Fortunately, the American people instinctively understand the magnitude of the threat posed by ISIS. In a recent survey 74 percent of Americans said they worry ISIS will launch a “catastrophic terrorist” attack inside the U.S. if they are not defeated soon. Nearly as many Americans (72 percent) worry ISIS will soon try to launch a massive attack against the State of Israel. At the same time, 65 percent are afraid ISIS “will also try to overthrow the King of Jordan – an important, moderate Arab ally of the United States – and use Jordan as a base camp to launch terrorist attacks against America and Israel.”

Not surprisingly, therefore, Americans want President Obama and congressional leaders to work closely with America’s most trusted allies in the Middle East – including Jordan — to crush ISIS quickly and decisively. God help us if the president does not start making the right moves before it is too late.

Joel C. Rosenberg is a New York Times best-selling author of novels and non-fiction books about the Middle East. His latest political thriller, The Third Target, centers on an ISIS plot to attack the U.S., Israel and Jordan.

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ALSO WORTH READING:

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THE THIRD TARGET stays on Publishers Weekly best-seller list for 5th straight week. With ISIS dominating global headlines, readers are asking about a sequel. Here’s an update & my current speaking schedule.

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2015 at 6:59 pm
Register today for the April 19th event.

Register today for the April 19th event.

As readers of this blog know, the Islamic State, ISIS, and ISIL were not household words or concepts in 2013 when I began writing a new political thriller about this Radical Islamic jihadist movement plotting mass casualty attacks in the Middle East and the West.

By the time I handed in the manuscript in the summer of 2014, however, ISIS was on a jihadist rampage across the epicenter and dominating global headlines.

With interest in — and concern about — ISIS growing rapidly in the U.S. and Canada, Tyndale House Publishers decided to move up the release of The Third Target to January 6, 2015, from its original planned release in March.

The international geopolitical thriller — the only novel about ISIS of its kind on the market — immediately hit all the major hardcover fiction best-seller lists, including the New York Times. It is currently the #1 best-selling novel in the Christian publishing industry. And we have just learned that The Third Target has hit the Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction best-seller list for the 5th week in a row.

Many readers are asking me, “Is this the first book in a series?”

It is — and I’m glad to announce that I began writing the sequel to The Third Target today here in Israel.

My editors would like the manuscript by May. Tyndale hopes to release the next book early in 2016. So I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.

I also have several speaking commitments that I need to fulfill over the next few weeks. Among them:

I hope to see you at one of these events. In the meantime, please keep praying for America, Israel and our Arab allies at this critical moment.

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Egypt’s President el-Sisi orders military strikes after ISIS beheads 21 Egyptian Christians. Details & analysis. [Register today for special simulcast on April 19th: “Do Christians In The Mideast Face Genocide?”]

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2015 at 9:16 am
ISIS jihadists prepare to behead 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. (source: screen capture from new ISIS video)

ISIS jihadists prepare to behead 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. (source: screen capture from new ISIS video)

>> On Sunday evening April 19th, I’m doing a special simulcast event for churches: “Do Christians In The Middle East Face Genocide? How Serious Is The Threat of ISIS & Radical Islam? What Can Christians In The West Really Do To Make A Difference?” With so much interest in these topics, I hope your church or small group Bible study will take advantage of this special event. Please register today.

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UPDATED: Much of the West remains asleep or lethargic concerning the threat posed by the Islamic State, even as the movement’s gruesome killing spree continues unabated.

The latest: an Islamic State affiliate has beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were working in Libya, according to a new ISIS video released on Sunday. “In the video, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange jump suits, to a beach the group said was near Tripoli,” reported Reuters. “They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded.”

“The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” read a caption on the five minute video, Reuters noted.

President Obama spent eight hours golfing on Sunday.

But Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi vowed to “avenge” the “criminal killings.” He immediately ordered the Egyptian air force to bomb ISIS sites in Libya, and he announced that more attacks against the jihadists were coming. He also called for a seven-day period of mourning for the murdered Christians.

“These cowardly actions will not undermine our determination” said el-Sisi, who also banned all travel to Libya by Egyptian citizens and said his government reserves the right to seek retaliation, reported the Associated Press. “Egypt and the whole world are in a fierce battle with extremist groups carrying extremist ideology and sharing the same goals.”

The AP report noted that “the killings raise the possibility that the Islamic militant group — which controls about a third of Syria and Iraq in a self-declared caliphate — has established a direct affiliate less than 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the southern tip of Italy. One of the militants in the video makes direct reference to that possibility, saying the group now plans to ‘conquer Rome.'”

“All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together,” states one of the jihadists on the ISIS video. “Therefore we will fight you all together. The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”

A few thoughts on these horrific new reports:

  • My heart is grieving for the growing number of ISIS victims from Syria to Iraq to Jordan to Egypt and Libya and beyond.
  • Let us pray for the families and friends of all who have been murdered.
  • Let us pray for the safe and quick release of all those whom ISIS is holding captive.
  • Let us pray for the Egyptian Church — to be brave, bold, courageous witnesses for the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to be faithful lights amidst such terrible darkness.
  • Let us pray for Egyptian President el-Sisi to know best how to deal with this crisis.
  • Let us pray for President el-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as they continue to form a quiet but fiercely determined alliance to protect their people from Radical Islam, as I wrote about yesterday.
  • Let us also understand that ISIS is a demonic movement. This is not mere terrorism. These barbarians are making blood sacrifices to their god. They must be stopped.
  • I will continue to pray faithfully for President Obama to have a change of heart and mind, to truly come to understand the magnitude of the threat Radical Islam — from Iran to ISIS — poses to the American people and our allies.
  • But I also believe that with the gathering storm of Radical Islam building, 2016 cannot come fast enough.
  • We need new leadership — but we must choose very carefully and prayerfully.
  • We are not simply looking for a leader who will revive America’s economy and put tens of millions of unemployed and under-employed Americans back to work in good, high-paying jobs that can support their families.
  • We are not simply looking for a leader who will get America’s fiscal house in order, and stop borrowing massive amounts of money from the Chinese.
  • We are not simply looking for a leader who believes in the Judeo-Christian values America was founded upon, and will operate according to the Constitution, and will defend the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — in that order.
  • We are not simply looking for a leader who understands the moral and spiritual dangers facing America, and the need for God’s grace and mercy and a Third Great Awakening.
  • We are looking for all these qualities, but we are looking for more.
  • We need a War President — someone with a well-developed understanding of the rising threats we face from Radical Islam to Russia, someone who believes in “Peace Through Strength,” someone who is building around him or her a team of wise and experienced foreign policy and national security advisors, someone with a plan to rebuild America’s military, someone who will rebuild our tattered global alliances, someone who will defeat ISIS and neutralize the Iran nuclear threat, someone who isn’t trigger-happy but is ready to use force when necessary, someone who will lead the free world from the front, not from behind.
  • We are not facing a jayvee squad, and we cannot afford a rookie.

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