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.
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.”
What did a Jewish Washington Post columnist write about the Christian #RallyForIsrael? It’s worth reading. @JRubinBlogger
At the US Capitol on Sunday, Gov. Mike Huckabee rallied Christians to support Israel in our joint fight against Iran, ISIS & Radical Islam.
Jennifer Rubin is an intriguing voice inside the Washington Post. She’s not simply a columnist, she’s also a conservative, and she’s Jewish. This week, she wrote a column about the “Rally For Israel” that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Sunday and was organized by Governor Mike Huckabee and Concerned Women For America’s Penny Nance. It’s a fascinating take — one worth reading in full, and sharing with others. For the full text, and a link, see below.
On a personal note, I was deeply grateful to the Governor and Penny for inviting me to speak at the event. Since we are now living in Israel as a family, I wasn’t able to attend in person. But I strongly supported the Rally and recorded a video for it. And I want to thank everyone who attended, and all those who spoke.
It is absolutely vital that Christians stand with Israel and the Jewish people at this critical hour. It is also vital that we fully support efforts to defeat the Iranian nuclear program, Hamas, ISIS, and all other Radical Islamic threats to the U.S., Israel, and our Arab allies. For as I write about in my forthcoming novel, The Third Target, the stakes are incredibly high. If we do not stop the jihadists in the Middle East, they are coming here, and their goal is not simply to terrorize us, but to annihilate us.
CHRISTIANS STAND WITH ISRAEL
By Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post
On the day after Jews’ holiest day of the year (Yom Kippur), a mostly Christian throng of zealous pro-Zionist Christians held a “Stand with Israel” rally on Capitol Hill on Sunday. For two hours plus, they sang, they prayed, they cheered and they spoke in defense of Israel. The rally was co-sponsored by Concerned Women for America (over half-a-million religious women voters who adopted Israel as a core issue) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Both CWA president Penny Nance and Huckabee repeatedly delivered the message: America — and Christians in particular — must stand with Israel. Implicitly and sometimes explicitly mentioned was the argument that the administration is insufficiently supportive of Israel and clueless about the enormity of the jihadist threat.
In essence preaching to his flock, Huckabee made clear how central Israel and the defeat of radical Islam are to their faith. He declared, “There is no other nation that reflects the United States as Israel does.” Arguing that both nations value religious liberty he proclaimed that the United States can only be understood in the context of “God’s providence.” They fervently believe that if they break faith with Israel, God will break faith with them.(“If America doesn’t stand with Israel God will remove his hand from us,” Huckabee told them.)
This is the largest and most politically active “Israel Lobby” in the country. (Attendees came from as far away as North Dakota.) If the theology is not quite comprehensible to all Americans, then the geopolitical arguments the speakers made may sound familiar. These Zionists understand Israel and the U.S. are up against the same Islamist fundamentalists who want to cleanse Christians, Jews and non-fundamentalist Muslims from their midst. Journalist Eric Stackelbeck, reviewing the persecution first of Jews in the Middle East and then of Christians, reminded the crowd of mindset of radical Islamists who first go after Jews and then Christians. (“First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people,” he explained is their outlook.)
Huckabee and other speakers were emphatic that even if Americans don’t see this in theological terms, our shared enemies do. “Israel isn’t the ultimate target. We are,” Huckabee said. When the deputy ambassador from Israel spoke to express his appreciation for the support, he reminded the crowd that in the Middle East it is only Israel which allows women full participation in all facets of society, has a free press and allows Christians to practice freely. But what brought a rousing cheer from the crowd was his declaration, “We are proud to be the Islamic Republic of Iran’s little Satan.”
Several aspects of the gathering are worthy highlighting.
First, the evangelical Zionists are acutely aware of the uptick in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric in Europe and on American campuses. Nance and Huckabee both spoke about it directly, warning of the danger of passivity. (A large student contingent from Liberty University was present.) Beyond support for the Jewish state, this group much more so than the administration or the MSM is following this development closely and sees the passivity of elites in the West as nothing less than a repeat of the 1930′s.
Second, Huckabee speaks to these kind of voters in a way that few other politicians do. It stems from his faith, not from a political agenda. He embodies their values and world view, and they know this. He speaks with the passion of a preacher, not with the anger of a politician bent on inflaming the crowd. If he chooses to run in 2016, other candidates will have their work cut out for them if they want to poach voters from Huckabee’s base. The question is whether since his 2008 run and with the benefit of years of Fox News hosting he now has developed the range to appeal beyond this core group.
Third, this crowd sees themselves engaged in an existential threat against radical Islam. These people do not separate Israel from that fight; they are one and the same. A politician who labels himself as pro-Israel but is less than fully committed to the fight against jihadists is unlikely to find much support here. In that sense, they are looking not merely for a pro-Israel leader but an anti-jihadist warrior who understands the stakes if jihadists are not defeated. And for many, this issue ranks right up there with abortion and marriage.