A turning point for Jordanian security

On June 6, the first day of Ramadan, Jordanians woke up to tragic news about an attack on an intelligence office by a radicalized young man that left five personnel dead.

On June 21, in the middle of the holy month, a suicide attack against a military unit on the Syrian border killed seven Jordanian troops and injured 10. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility.

Following the first attack, the government faced domestic accusations of doing next to nothing to curb homegrown radicalization and terrorism. Citing the 2015 report on terrorism by the US State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, some local media outlets went further, accusing Jordan’s government of having no plan against violent extremism.

Homegrown radicalization is a complicated phenomenon that needs a 10-year, multi-pronged plan to at least significantly weaken if not eradicate it. Jordan is not alone in this regard – homegrown terrorism is today the biggest threat to many countries worldwide.

ISIS’s attacks have enabled the government to be more strident in resisting international calls to take in more Syrian refugees. Security is now Jordan’s top priority

Raed Omari

Policy change

The ISIS attack on border guards left a deep impact on Jordan’s open-border policy, which it had maintained since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in March 2011. The kingdom announced that it was sealing off the part of the border where the attack occurred.

NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Doctors Without Borders, called on Jordan to reconsider the closure in light of the impact it would have on Syrian refugees. However, they also expressed understanding of its security concerns.

Although ISIS’s attacks have increased Jordanians’ fear that their country is not immune to terrorism, they have enabled the government to be more strident in resisting international calls to take in more Syrian refugees. Security is now Jordan’s top priority, with an emphasis on protecting its borders and tackling sleeper cells.
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Raed Omari is a Jordanian journalist, political analyst, parliamentary affairs expert, and commentator on local and regional political affairs. His writing focuses on the Arab Spring, press freedoms, Islamist groups, emerging economies, climate change, natural disasters, agriculture, the environment and social media. He is a writer for The Jordan Times, and contributes to Al Arabiya English. He can be reached via raed_omari1977@yahoo.com, or on Twitter @RaedAlOmari2

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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