King Abdullah II of Jordan recently gave his first official interview since the death of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. That murder led to the veritable declaration of war against ISIS. In his interview, he made certain things clear.
First, King Abdullah objects to the name ISIS or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, saying that term gives credence to the terrorist group as a literal, physical state. He prefers the term Daesh, an acronym for al-Dawla-al-Islamiya al Iraq al Islam. This is Arabic for “to crush under the foot.” This is the term most often used for the group in Jordan and the region. Additionally, the Pentagon recently adopted and began using this name for the group. It is used interchangeable with ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.
King Abdullah next stated that Daesh, are “outlaws” of Islam who twist the religion, in addition to using intimidation tactics for submission. This lead to talks of the horrific video of the immolation of al-Kasasbeh, which King Abdullah has not watched. He says that it is propaganda and he will not submit himself. The pilot was captured after performing airstrikes in conjunction with America. The Kingdom of Jordan begged for his release for more than a month following his crash and capture. After the video release of the brutal murder, King Abdullah and the rest of his people were spurred on to avenge his death. Abdullah said that he empathized with al-Kasasbeh’s family. He felt disgust at the depravity of his murder. King Abdullah continues to feel badly for the pilot’s family, including his newlywed wife. They had been married for only five months.
After the violent death, King Abdullah promised an “earth-shattering” response to the attack. Critics may say that their barrage of airstrikes were not quite that, but King Abdullah says that even with all of their military capabilities that could not happen overnight. Still, he cites Iraq specifically and all other countries in that region as their partner in battling the group. In addition, he says they have “long-term plans” to defeat the group, but was wisely did not reveal his plans publicly. Clearly Jordan is taking this fight personally because of the death of al-Kasasbeh.
Jordan expects the rest of the Muslim world to help him in the fight. Although Daesh tries to paint themselves as victims, they are far from it, says Abdullah. King Abdullah referenced the hundreds to even thousands of people that they have killed as proof of their maleficence. He also intends to reach from eastern Syria to Western Iraq for other allies. King Abdullah feels it is his responsibility to protect himself and other Muslims.
King Abdullah concluded his interview by stating that Jordan in conjunction with Syria can work together to defeat Daesh. Although the terrorist group used civil unrest in that region to gain an advantage, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has the jointed aim of defeating ISIS. Even though the King has had problems with al-Assad in the past, they agree that those problems must be put on the back burner in an effort to defeat Daesh.
By Danielle Branch