Jordanian honor guards perform during a ceremony to honor war veterans and retired servicemen during Veterans Day, as part of celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt, at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan, February 15, 2016.
ISIS Meets Its Match?
How Jordan Has Prevented Large-Scale Attacks
Further, the Hashemite Kingdom’s economy faces serious challenges, with youth unemployment at 28.8 percent, according to the International Labor Organization’s most recent statistics. The economic situation has surely pushed some of the Jordanians—approximately 2,000
—who have left the country to join ISIS, according to government officials. (A Lebanese study
recently cited by U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Michael Lumpkin has noted that financial considerations are a significant factor, but certainly not the only one, pushing civilians to enlist in ISIS.)
In other words, the country seems primed for trouble. But ISIS has not carried out a single large-scale attack inside the kingdom. Deaths inside the country from ISIS-linked incidents stand at five at most, even though the attack that led to those deaths is disputed. So what has Jordan done right?
Protesters hold up pictures of Jordanian King Abdullah and pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh with national flags, as they chant slogans during a rally in Amman to show their loyalty to the King and against ISIS, February 5, 2015.
ISIS’ 2015 immolation of captured Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh
inside Syria was a unifying moment
for the country. Whereas a month before the attack only 72 percent of Jordanians believed that ISIS should be considered a terrorist group, after Kasasbeh’s death the proportion jumped to a staggering 95 percent of the population
. Jordan’s influential Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, called the killing “heinous
” and “criminal.”
Yet popular anger after Kasasbeh’s brutal death cannot entirely explain Amman’s success in avoiding ISIS attacks; after all, the terrorist group has displayed shocking brutality everywhere it goes. The second fact protecting Jordan, then, is the country’s well-trained security services. “Jordan has strong military and security services despite its economic
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