COVID-19 pandemic inequalities favor ‘terrorism’: Jordan’s King Abdullah

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Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Thursday inequalities and the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic created fertile ground for the flourishing of “terrorism.”

“Directing our attention and resources to counter the pandemic has taken away from our focus on fighting terrorism and extremism... although the battle may be won, the war is not yet over,” Abdullah said in a speech for an online conference held by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think-tank.

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“Rising inequalities and emerging crises caused by the pandemic will fuel the recruitment efforts” of jihadist groups, he added.

He cited examples including al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The conference brought together leaders and experts to discuss priorities for the new US administration of President Joe Biden in the Middle East and North Africa.

Abdullah also spoke of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which abuts Jordan, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Occupation and peace simply cannot coexist,” he said.

“There is no alternative to the two-state solution,” which would see a viable Palestinian state created alongside Israel, he added.

“Continued unilateral steps will only kill the prospects of peace.”

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