In 2016, it will be 70 years that Jordan will have been an independent country. This is worth remembering as one contemplates the speed, force and zeal with which the Royal Jordanian Air Force has launched airstrikes against ISIL targets. According to reports, they’ve killed 55 ISIL fighters, including a senior commander known as the “Prince of Nineveh”. The operation is named “Martyr Muadh,” after the Jordanian fighter pilot who was burnt to death alive in a black cage.
According to analysts, the attacks and the deaths of ISIL fighters re-confirms that the extremist group lacks an effective air defense. (Perhaps but what about reports that ISIL tries to minimize the impact of air campaigns by spreading its fighters out through a city or any location rather than keeping them all together?)
Some believe that Jordan’s fury is doubly stoked by the knowledge that its pilot had been already dead for several weeks when the kingdom agreed to ISIL’s demand of a prisoner exchange. No one expected ISIL to have any honour but this perfidy is particularly base.
Anyway, what options does Jordan have but to go raise the pitch of the war on ISIL? It’s vulnerable, being on the front lines of long-running regional conflicts, and has to balance the demands of its foreign partners and donors with the needs of its citizens.
It’s managed this pretty well since 1946.