Event

Isis’ burning of a Jordanian pilot in Syria triggered a strong reaction among a shaken population. In reaction, King Abdullah II swore revenge and declared a “harsh war” against Isis. In the following days, two jailed  Iraqi jihadists - whose liberation was demanded by Isis - were hanged while the Jordanian army made air strikes for a few days against several Isis targets in Syria. Troops would also have been deployed at the Jordanian-Iraqi border to prevent Isis militants’ infiltrations.

Impact on country risk

This much mediatised murder - that apparently already happened a month earlier - facilitates Amman’s stance against Isis’ serious threat to its territorial sovereignty, first and foremost vis-à-vis its population. So far, while Jordan is a US traditional regional ally, its involvement within the US-led international coalition has been very unpopular, not only because of sympathy among the many radical Jordanians for Isis’ goal of setting up a caliphate in the region, but also given the opposition to any close relation with the US and Isis’ security threat to its border that is likely to increase with Jordan’s involvement. Now, in a context of rising mobilisation against Isis (e.g. lastly from Egypt), Amman has a solid argument for raising military  intervention together with other Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE...). This is true at least in the short term as any adverse development (e.g. the killing of other Jordanians or domestic terrorist attacks) and limited support for a too active role within the coalition could progressively erode the magnitude of Jordan’s anti-Isis commitment. Therefore, Jordan should not overplay its role. Still, Isis’ heightened threat to Jordan’s stability – already weakened by hundreds of thousands of refugees, and potentially by an estimated more than 2,000 Jordanian Islamists fighting with Isis - will continue justifying Amman’s active security policy and involvement in the international coalition.

Analyst: Raphaël Cecchi, r.cecchi@credendogroup.com