Jordan and its military force have captured the world’s interest in the midst of its current declaration of revenge for the killing of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh by the members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Kaseasbeh was captured by the militants when his plane crashed into northern Syria in December during the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS.
During the hostage crisis faced by Japan last month, ISIS asked for $200 million ransom money in exchange of the two lives of the captured Haruna Yukawa, 42, and Kenji Goto, 47. Without payment, after the 72-hour deadline, the militants allegedly killed Yukawa.
One life down and with Goto left, the exchange was altered. Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant promised to release the remaining Japanese hostage plus Jordanian Kaseasbeh in exchange for freeing Sajida al-Rishawi, the Iraqi woman suicide bomber who is on Jordan’s death row for her involvement in the November 2005 terror attack. It was one of the deadliest in Jordan’s history, which claimed more than 50 lives.
Japan then worked with Jordan to arrange the release of Rishawi, the deadline for which was January 29. Though Jordan was willing to give in to the militants’ demand, as they prioritize Kaseasbeh’s safety, officials wanted a proof that the young pilot is still alive before releasing the captive woman. The young Royal Jordanian Air Force lieutenant came from a high-ranking tribe which is regarded as very loyal to the royal family.
With no proof given by the militants, and Rishawi still not free, the extremists released two sickening videos in a row to demonstrate Goto’s death. As for Kaseasbeh, he was reportedly put in a cage and burned alive. According to Jordanian state TV, the pilot was killed on January 3.
The Arab kingdom has become vengeful with a national outrage after seeing the video, vowing an Earth-shuttering revenge. Queen Rania, who comforted the young pilot’s widow, even participated in a rally with thousands of people to show their support of the government’s response to the killing of Kaseasbeh. Rumors circulated that ex-pilot King Abdullah would fly a mission, albeit it is very unlikely.
While Kaseasbeh’s family mourns for his death, his countrymen become united to avenge his tragic fate. The country hanged Rishawi last week as a retaliation, and its military conducted airstrikes against ISIL in both Iraq and Syria on Thursday.
The Middle Eastern country’s retaliation is something not to be taken lightly. While it is small and only ranks 67th in the Global Fire Power, CNN reports that it can deploy a powerful warfare hardware, enough to pose as a formidable foe.
Jordan and its military force are capable of waging a war with its advanced armed forces . Most of their armaments are Western technology. Its Air Force flies F-16 fighter jets, three squadrons, plus a squadron of older F-5 Tiger II warplanes and two squadrons of Cobra attack helicopters.
The country’s land forces have 1,321 tanks, 4,600 armored fighting vehicles, 88 multiple-launch rocket systems and 72 towed artillery. It has nearly 400 challenger tanks which were made in Britain.
Beyond the overall military equipment and fighting strength are the actual human resources that drives the force. Out of the 3.2 million people available, 2.8 million of the Jordanian population are fit to serve. Active frontline personnel are at 110,700 while there are 65,000 active reserves.
On top of it all, Jordan and its military force have special staff who are frequently trained with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. These capable men have enough combat background and training because of the ongoing chaos in the adjacent country of Syria.
By Judith Aparri
Photo courtesy of Lance Cpl. Juanenrique Owings – Flickr License