Jordan Vowing Revenge On ISIS Could Spell A Stronger Coalition Against The Terrorist Group
On Thursday, Jordan began launching renewed airstrikes against ISIS, and a day later the terrorist group claimed Jordanian strikes had killed a female American hostage. (The State Department says there's no evidence of this.) Jordan's newest airstrikes follow the brutal death of a Jordanian pilot at the hands of ISIS militants, and the public hanging of two Iraqi prisoners by Jordan as revenge. Now that Jordan is rallying, a stronger coalition could develop to fight the militant group.
It is very clear that Jordan is serious — it immediately executed the hostage ISIS desperately wanted returned — and it doesn't appear the country will back down any time soon. In a CNN interview, Jordan's foreign minister Nasser Judeh stated that these attacks against ISIS are just "the beginning of our retaliation." Meanwhile, King Abdullah publicly stated:
The response of Jordan and its army after what happened to our dear son will be severe.
So far, the U.S. has been conducting most of the air raids against ISIS — 72 percent in Iraq and 92 percent in Syria — while Western and Arab allies have carried out the remaining strikes. But Jordan's recent actions could be a sign of an expanded, more powerful coalition in the works.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, commented on ISIS and the death or the Jordanian pilot and its wider implications:
It goes from one unconscionable, inhumane action to the next. And it makes you wonder what these people hope to achieve. If anything, it’ll unite a coalition against ISIS [as] the brutality is unprecedented.
The Associated Press reports Obama is vying to receive an authorization for war powers from Congress as he continues to mount the fight against ISIS. But the president is facing some challenges from lawmakers. Speaker of the House John Boehner stated on Thursday:
His actions are going to be an important part of trying for us to get the votes to actually pass an authorization. This is not going to be an easy lift.
Not only would a stronger coalition require the U.S. to bolster domestic support, but Iran's interest in fighting the conflict is disheartening to some of the Arab allies. Iran is a Shia state, and its Sunni neighbors fear that Iran's backing of Iraqi Shia militias will only increase sectarian conflict. Reportedly, this is why the United Arab Emirates suspended air raids in December. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain remain the only members of the Arab coalition.
As ISIS continues to use brutal force and expand its influence across Syria and Iraq, Jordan may become a stronger player in the fight. That said, it could take time for a stronger coalition to develop to unite against the terrorist group.
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