This Week’s Big Story: Jordan Fight Back Against ISIS


This week  US Daily Review is taking a different approach to covering this week’s big story.  We have gone out and brought in the views of some leading experts on the Middle East regarding the situation with ISIS and the latest escalation with Jordan.  Specifically, we asked about Jordan’s response and any lessons the United States might learn from  them.

Dr. Pamela A. Collins has worked for the EKU Department of Homeland Security as a principal and program manager since 2005.  She holds a PH.D in educational policy studies from the University of Kentucky, an MS in criminal justice and loss prevention from EKU, and a BS in security and public  safety:  “Before I can comment on what the United States can learn about Jordan, it’s important to highlight the nuances of the relationship Jordan citizen’s have with their government. While the killing of the Jordanian pilot was atrocious, I don’t foresee the citizens of Jordan bearing arms and storming the border for revenge. The response will primarily be a military one, as we’re already seeing from the reports of the deaths of 55 members of ISIS. Jordan is a very unique country that is tribal in nature. There isn’t a centralized voice but many fragmented ones. I was able to see this first hand when I was working with the US Government on a program to train Syrian refugees on community safety from the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. The government wants to protect its borders, but the people do not want to become embroiled in a larger conflict and civil  war.

“So keeping this complicated balance in mind, one of the most important takeaways from this crisis is analyzing the approach taken by King Abdullah II of Jordan. He has handled this situation with great delicacy, poise, and determination. He walks a fine line in his country, trying to placate the strict culture of Islam while having one of the more Westernized countries in the Middle East. Concurrently, they have to bridge cultural polarities and maintain a strong economy without valuable resources like oil. There is no economic gain in a long civil war with another country, but he still can’t allow his borders and people to be tortured and killed. One way he is balancing security with a country filled with social and religious diversity is to ensure that military action serves as a response to a specific attack, rather than against an ideology or county. Jordan will not use the pilot’s death as a rallying cry for war (he knows it will never please his citizens). What we can learn as a country is how to respond to threats against our people without engaging in long military campaigns, while balancing the needs of polarized stakeholders that are essential to economic  viability.”

In addition, we also contacted Susan Froetschel, with YaleGlobal Online.  She is the author of Allure of Deceit and Fear of Beauty, mystery novels that examine extremism and parenting in Afghanistan.  Here are her  thoughts: “Terrorists are bullies in the extreme.  They use religion in a self-righteous way to insist that no other alternative points of view exist Jordan and other Muslim nations must condemn the Islamic State, not with panic and fear, but with calm resolve and zero tolerance for ideology.  Silence signals acceptance of the  atrocities.

“Neighboring countries to Syria and Iraq and beyond must put plans into place to monitor foreigners crossing into Islamic State territory. By now, IS tactics are well known; members and would-be members cannot claim ignorance. Any foreigners who cross the borders into Syria and northern Iraq, who cannot prove they work for aid groups, the media or foreign armies battling IS cannot be allowed to cross back. National leaders should be unequivocal: Even if IS followers try to escape – and reports suggest many have been beheaded trying to do just that – they should expect to be tried for war  crimes.

“Jordan and other nations cannot allow religious bullying to become entrenched. Parents must raise their children to detest the swagger, coercion and ‘holier than thou’  attitudes.

Jordan and other Muslim countries – with the help of Western nations – must monitor and manage the swelling refugee camps to counter IS sympathies.  As of October 2014, more than 600,000 Syrian refugees had registered in Jordan after fleeing violence in Syria.  More than 1.5 Syrian refugees are in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon and 1.5 million are in  Turkey.”

These are the the perspectives of two experts on the field, we would love to hear your  perspective.

This week, in addition to ISIS, we considered  the Brian Williams controversy about “risking his life” in Iran and the Super Bowl controversy. What did you think of our choice?  Next week look forward to Kristie Marcinczyk contributing our big story next week.  Follow her on Twitter  @kMarcinczyk.

Do you agree with our pick for This Week’s Big Story? Tell us on Twitter @USDailyReview  #BigStory 

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.