Jordanian intervention in the Syrian Civil War

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Jordanian intervention in the Syrian Civil War
Part of the Military intervention against ISIL (Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War)
Syria and Iraq 2014-onward War map.png
Current military situation, as of May 31, 2016:
(For a clickable version of the map without shaded areas, see here for Syria and here for Iraq and here for both in one map)
Date 22 September 2014 – present
(4 years, 7 months and 3 days)
Location Iraq, Syria
Status

Ongoing

Belligerents
Jordan Jordan
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Jordan Abdullah II
Jordan Abdullah Ensour
Jordan Mashal Al-Zaben
United Arab Emirates Khalifa Al Nahyan
United Arab Emirates Mohammed Al Maktoum
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Alaa Afri[1]
Strength

Jordanian Forces:

Emirati Forces:

Up to 200,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria
Casualties and losses
Unknown

The Jordanian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War began on 22 September 2014, with air strikes on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets, and escalated after the murder on Muath al-Kasasbeh, a captured Jordanian pilot, by ISIL, in early 2015.

Background

ISIL sees Jordan's King Abdullah as an enemy of Islam and an infidel, and early June 2014 posted a video on Internet threatening to "slaughter" Abdullah whom they denounced as a "tyrant". Jordanian ISIL members in the video vowed to launch suicide attacks inside Jordan.[4]

A report from the Gatestone Institute, also early June 2014, said that ISIL was planning to take their jihad to Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.[4]

Jordanian security sources early June 2014 said to breitbart.com, that Islamist movements already have a significant presence in Jordan.[4]

Attempts by ISIS to invade have been made repeatedly,[5] however, none were successful.

Jordanian motivation for attacking ISIL

23 September 2014, Jordan's Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications, Mohammad Momani, declared: "We took part in the strikes which are part of our efforts to defeat terrorism in its strongholds."

Together with a statement, that same day, of the Jordan Armed Forces, saying their Air Force had at dawn launched strikes against "terrorist groups", and with U.S. announcements that they had begun strikes inside Syria together with partner nations, this brought The Jordan Times to conclude that, apparently, Jordan had joined the US-led strikes against ISIL in Syria.[6]

First Jordanian airstrikes

The Jordanian Air Force joined in the US-led bombing of ISIL in Syria, as of 22 September 2014. Jihadist troops have retaliated by firing into Jordan and there has been increased sniping at the border.[7]

Escalation

Capture and murder of Lieutenant Al-Kasasbeh

On 24 December 2014, a Jordanian fighter jet was shot down over Syria and the pilot, Jordanian air force Lieutenant Muath Al-Kasasbeh, captured. The pilot was later murdered at some point.

Fake negotiations

The murder was initially kept secret. ISIL, instead, tried to persuade Jordan into an "exchange" of prisoners, to recover jailed terrorists. Jordan offered to make the exchange, but demanded "proof of life" first, which was not given.

Release of murder video

Instead, the video of the pilot's burning to death was released, late Tuesday 3 February 2015.[8]

Realising that the murder had happened well before the negotiations had begun, King Abdullah II and much of the rest of the nation, were outraged and vowed revenge.

Reaction to murder of Jordanian POW

Executions

The terrorists whose release was demanded, Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouli, were executed, at dawn of Wednesday 4 February.[9]

Airstrikes

That same 4 February, Jordanian airstrikes on ISIL positions in Iraq started. The next day, the first of a series of airstrikes on ISIL positions in Syria commenced. King Abdullah paid a condolence call to the pilot's family as the first bombing run in Syria hit its targets. The lower house of Parliament voted to support the war effort.[10]

The rolling air strike campaign, dubbed "Operation Martyr Muath", between 5 and 7 February hit over 56 targets, in and around the Syrian city and ISIL stronghold Raqqa, and it was claimed that 20% of ISIL's "military capabilities" had been destroyed.[11] The number of ISIL casualties was estimated at 7 thousand, although this may have been for the entire coalition since the bombing campaign began the previous summer.[12]

The UAE joins in

The air force of the United Arab Emirates, which had left the coalition when the Lieutenant's jet went down, rejoined the coalition under Jordanian command; they were to be based near Amman.[13] Soon they had joined in for a few bombing runs.

Preparations for possible invasion

Mobilization

It was announced in the media that "thousands of troops" had been sent to the eastern border with Iraq,[14] which, from time to time, (see map on upper right hand corner) has been occupied by ISIL fighters. This led to speculation that Jordan was preparing an armed invasion of ISIL occupied territory. However, this was later denied by some in the military.[15]

Negotiations with Iraq

On February 12, Khaled al-Obaidi, the Iraqi Defense Minister, announced that "The king of Jordan has requested that all means of the Jordanian armed forces be made available to the Iraqi army," which means that Jordanian ground forces have asked permission to cross into Iraqi territory,[16] in order to assist in a previously announced major offensive.[17] The offer of troops was made again in April.[18]

June/July 2015

On June 28, 2015, rumors began circulating through the press that there was going to be a coordinated attack on Syria by Turkey and Jordan.[19][20] Reports in major newspapers said that the Turkish and Jordanian militaries would invade from their respective sides of the border and create buffer zones well within Syria.[21][22]

Domestic criticism

Weekly newspaper Die Zeit, on reportage in Jordan shortly after 4 February, said the war against ISIL is extremely unpopular in Jordan because it is being led by the U.S.[23]

The mayor of Ma'an, a southern Jordanian city known for its often critical stance toward Jordan's national policies, interviewed by Die Zeit, said: "with all due respect for His Majesty (King Abdullah II), but we are never asked anything when such wars are under consideration."[24]

International reaction

While the Assad regime indicated that it was okay for Jordan to bomb ISIL, it warned that ground troops were out of the question. "We will not allow anyone to violate our national sovereignty and we do not need any ground troops to fight Daesh," Syrian foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said.[25]

The NGOs Human Rights Watch[26] and Amnesty International[27] denounced the executions of the terrorists, and demanded an end to hostilities.

References

  1. Engel, Pamela (23 April 2015). "Report: A former physics teacher favored by Osama bin Laden is now leading ISIS". Business Insider. Retrieved 29 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Adams, Paul (February 3, 2015). "Jordan pilot hostage Moaz al-Kasasbeh 'burned alive'". BBC News. Retrieved February 3, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Jordan pilot ejected over Syria after 'technical failure'". Yahoo! News. Agence France-Presse. December 26, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "ISIS Threatens to Invade Jordan, 'Slaughter' King Abdullah". breitbart.com, 13 June 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  5. "ISIS fighters 'set to move into Jordan'". Mail Online. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Jordan confirms its planes joined strikes on IS in Syria". Jordan Times. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Jordan troops clash with militants on Syria border". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 13 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Shiv Malik (4 February 2015). "Isis video shows Jordanian hostage being burned to death". The Guardian. United Kingdom. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/02/03/islamic-state-jordanian-pilot/22798055/ (USA Today)
  10. "Lower House fully supports anti-terror fight — speaker". Jordan Times. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Jordan says it has bombed ISIL 56 times in three days". Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Jordanian air force destroyed '20% of Daesh capabilities' - commander". Jordan Times. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "US welcomes UAE decision to base fighter jets in Jordan". The Jerusalem Post - JPost.com. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Jordan Moves 'Thousands' of Troops to Iraq Border: Jordanian Sources". NBC News. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Jordan can respond to any threat in less than one hour — army chief". Jordan Times. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/02/12/Iraq-says-Jordan-offers-all-military-means-in-is-fight-.html
  17. "Iraq To Launch Ground Offensive Against ISIS As Jordan Pounds Group's Strongholds In Syria". International Business Times. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Abdelhak Mamoun. "Jordan's king confirms country's readiness to help Iraq in liberating Anbar and Mosul - Iraqi News". Iraq news, the latest Iraq news. Retrieved 2 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Sharona Schwartz. "Are Turkey and Jordan Planning to Invade Syria?". The Blaze. Retrieved 2 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Crown Prince briefed on border security situation". Jordan Times. Retrieved 2 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Jordan is mulling a serious military intervention in southern Syria - Business Insider". Business Insider. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Turkey Plans to Invade Syria, But to Stop the Kurds, Not ISIS". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Die Zeit, 12 February 2015.
  24. Die Zeit, 12 February 2015. In German: "Bei allem Respekt für Seine Majestät, aber wir werden bei solchen Kriegen nie gefragt".
  25. "Syria says it doesn't need Jordan in Islamic State fight". Yahoo News. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Dispatches: Jordan's Executions Are Not the Answer to ISIS Brutality - Human Rights Watch". Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Killing of Jordanian pilot 'abhorrent' but 'revenge executions' not the answer - Amnesty International". 4 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>