His Majesty King Abdullah II interviewed on the Charlie Rose show aired on PBS Saturday, 6 December 2014
I. Jordan’s role against ISIS: an international coalition
His Majesty :
“We’re part of the coalition. We have been working in Syria as part of the coalition. We’ve been talking to the Iraqis how we can assist them in Western Iraq. I think that’s going to increase in the very near future. And then the role of Jordan elsewhere because we’re part of I think this regional international capability. We’re a very small country, but with many responsibilities throughout this region to combat from this global threat.”
“I don’t want anybody to think that any of us are talking about the concept of boots on the ground, foreign boots on the ground, to solve the problem. At the end of the day Syrians have to solve the Syrian problem and Iraqis have to solve the Iraqi problem.”
II. An international challenge: How to combat a global problem of extremism and terrorism?
“This is no reflection of our religion. This is evil. And all of us have got to make that decision. We have to stand up and say, “This is the line that is drawn in the sand. And those that believe in right should stand on this side. And those that don’t have to make a decision to stand on the other.” It’s clearly a fight between good and evil. I think it’s a generational fight. As I said to, actually, to President Putin, I think this is a third world war by other means.”
“I hope the short-term part of it is going to be the military. The medium-term is a security aspect of it. But the long-term is going to be the ideological one. So, what I’m saying is, we as Muslims have got to look ourselves in the mirror and realise that we have this problem; make this very difficult call, and then all of us come together and clearly say that, you know, these people are renegades. These people have nothing to do with Islam.”
III. Reasons why recruits join ISIS and its extremist and terrorist ideology?
His Majesty :
“The media play that what ISIS and their groups are doing are quite successful. Because they take cherry-picking bits of the Quran and saying that this is what the Quran stands for, which is completely and utterly untrue. And they’ve been very successful in new media, in reaching out to youth all over the world, frustrated people, who are young people without jobs and being able to create or recruit the other part of it.”
“All extremists, all these jihadist groups, use the injustice of what’s happening to the Palestinians and Jerusalem as a rally call. Now, I know there’ll be a lot of comments made after I say that’s not true. It no longer matters whether it’s true or not. What is true is that’s what the jihadists use as recruiting element.”
IV. What worries His Majesty about the threats to Jordan?
“I don’t fear much. I have the confidence in my people. I have the confidence in God. I think the question you want to probably ask is what keeps me up at night.”
“So from that point of view, I think the morale is high. The Jordanians, politically, militarily are in a very good place. But where we suffer from is poverty, unemployment. The economy is struggling, mainly because of large number of refugees… So what keeps me up at night is the economy, poverty and unemployment and our people suffering because of the refugees.”
V. Did the recent peace process efforts fail to accomplish final peace in the Middle East?
“Well, it hasn’t failed yet. It’s still an ongoing issue. The door is still open…So the world has moved on. But if we don’t unravel and solve this problem between the Israelis and Palestinians, we’re really going to be fighting this problem with one arm tied behind our back. So how critical it is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to be able to move forward. Secretary Kerry has some ideas. There were things that were discussed.”
“So why is it now that all these governments around the world are either indirectly recognising the state of Palestine, or say that, in a year or two, if you don’t solve the problem, we’ll are going to recognise the state of Palestine.
Because of the foreign fighter problem that all these countries are having around the world, they’re beginning to realise that all roads do lead to Jerusalem, and that if the Israelis and Palestinians don’t solve this problem, it does have an effect with extremism and how it affects the Muslim populations in their country.
That at the end of the day, the core issue is still the Israeli-Palestinian problem and Jerusalem, even though people, certain people, don’t like a reference made to that. You know, whether it’s true or not, that argument is still being used by the extremists. And countries around the world realise that they have to solve the problem for their benefit. So it’s no longer politics because of the Middle East. It now affects the national security of countries around the world.”
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