Not that they ever were going too easy on the jihadist group. As Andrew Bowen pointed out in the National Interest yesterday, Jordan has been at the forefront of the anti-ISIS fight from the beginning and has served as a staging ground for “moderate” rebel forces in the region like the Free Syrian Army.
But this is certainly an escalation, and a big one:
Jordan has deployed “thousands” of troops at its border with Iraq as it ramps up a campaign against ISIS militants who set a pilot ablaze, two Jordanian government officials told NBC News on Tuesday.
The troops were sent to prevent the infiltration of ISIS fighters into Jordan and as a show of force, according to the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
This is what happens when you gruesomely immolate a Jordanian pilot and then release the video for the world to see. Jordan’s King Abdullah has long been a (relatively) staunch ally of the United States and foe of Islamic extremism. No doubt he’s buoyed by reports showing ISIS losing strength—the group has been bleeding militants since it lost Kobani and is reportedly facing a shortage of suicide bombers—and sees an opportunity to finish the job.
Many of us here at Rare have argued that the best way to defeat ISIS is for the Middle East, Sunni and Shia, to step up and confront the threat themselves rather than waiting for an omniscient superpower on the other side of the planet. If Jordan is any indication, that may be happening. An ISIS defeat in which Jordan plays a key role would increase Abdullah’s clout in the region. That sounds like a pretty good outcome.
Ah, but wait! Jordan is a monarchy, not a democracy! It doesn’t always align with American values! Any hawks or leftists care to revisit their old Arab Spring rhetoric right now? Anyone?