Abdullah bin al-Hussein…

He’s King of Jordan and not a terrorist.  (I almost chose that name for a terrorist in one of my books.  What a mistake that would have been!)  I’m not into monarchs and dynasties, not even political ones, but he and his country represent the one shining star of sanity in a very troubled region.  Sixty Minutes, that venerable CBS news program, started its new season with him, and justifiably so.  In the interview he spoke candidly.  I came to admire this man whom I now consider a hero for not only his country but all the sane Muslims of the world (they’re in the majority) who want nothing to do with the torturers and murderers who call themselves jihadists.  It’s a wonder he’s still alive.  The region has a bad rep for killing anyone who speaks out sanely against terrorism and those who practice it.

I feel he’s a brother who understands the same things I do about how the West’s counterterrorism policies are ill-conceived at best and downright stupid most of the time—we’re riding a train into a dark tunnel with destruction waiting at the other end.  Radical Islam is NOT a geopolitical problem involving a few countries here and there.  We can’t chip at it here and there and hope to ever win.  As an example, the King pointed out that ISIS was (and is) losing ground in Syria and Iraq, so they moved into Libya and began exporting terrorists to Europe.  Everywhere a local economy in the Muslim world is failing (including Jordan’s because it’s receiving and/or taking care of thousands of refugees while besieged on all sides), angry, desperate young men take up arms against their scapegoat, the West, stirred up by psychotic leaders who don’t give a rat’s ass about those young men’s lives or anyone else’s.  ISIS and al Qaeda know these men are open to indoctrination and training and go about doing it.  At the same time, they do their best to create the economic conditions where hatred and intolerance can flourish.

Abdullah isn’t taken in by this, and he doesn’t fool around either.  While he understands the economic conditions that allow this to happen, generally created by conservative Muslim leaders practicing the very despotic traditions ISIS wants to create with its caliphate, he won’t tolerate the mayhem and murder.  Readers will recall when the Jordanian pilot was captured, thrown into a cage, and burned alive, with the ISIS savages dancing and cheering.  The king said that they’re going after every celebrant seen on that video and claims there aren’t many of them left.  He might be boasting a bit, but his intentions are clear.  He’s following my mantra exactly: the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist.

This king trains with his soldiers, they use real bullets in the training, and they cheer him afterwards.  Maybe that was just a show for Sixty Minutes, but I don’t think so.  He probably doesn’t go into real battles either.  Like any good general, he is too valuable to lose.  You didn’t see DDE battling on the front lines in WW II, and you won’t see Abdullah on the front lines of WW III either, what he calls the war against terrorism.  But he seems to feel the pulse of the battles, and that’s a good thing.  He doesn’t sit around on his fat derriere like other monarchs in the Middle East.  I can respect that, just like I can respect Prince Harry for being in Afghanistan, where his brother, the next in line after Charles, took a safer route.

Jordan has opened arms to those who are suffering, and he’s leading the charge against the people who caused that situation.  We tend to think only of the refugees from Syria, but Jordan also gave refuge to many Palestinians and Lebanese who fled violence in their countries.  I suspect that war refugees might outnumber Jordanians by now.  As time goes on, hopefully they will integrate into the country and join Abdullah in his battle against international terrorism.  Right now they are a tremendous burden on Jordan’s struggling economy because the West looks the other way for the most part.

These two roles for him and his country—unswerving compassion for the victims of war and unswerving strength and patience to combat those who cause it—are unique in the region.  Compare this monarchy to the duplicitous monarchy in Saudi Arabia (now subject to lawsuits by 9/11 survivors and families, and justly so).  Soft-spoken Abdullah only mentioned them once in the interview, calling Saudi Arabia a hotbed of terrorism.  He was referring to Wahhabism, of course, the extreme brand of Islam taught in the Saudi religious schools that are supported by the Saudi regime.  Maybe there are Jordanian terrorists, and there might be more as Abdullah’s economy struggles to survive the economic weight of being the region’s Red Crescent, but Saudi Arabia is by far the region’s leader in creating terrorists, including most of the 9/11 perpetrators.

Jordan is surrounded by enemies and war.  The king’s country is floundering under the combined weight of arming itself and taking care of refugees. It seems to be a hopeless situation, especially because the West does nothing about it.  Our myopic foreign policy wonks continue to arm the Saudis with modern weapons; Abdullah buys old stuff online.  The U.S. continues to be Netanyahu’s lackey—the Israeli sees Jordan as part of the Palestinian problem because Abdullah received Palestinian refugees—and funnels its weapons and foreign aid to Israel and Saudi Arabia instead.  Obama’s veto of the 9/11 bill shows how misguided the man responsible for U.S. foreign policy has become. He and his administration, and every administration before his, has picked at the diseased scabs in the Muslim world but failed to create a sane policy that would eliminate the disease.

Clearly Abdullah needs help.  Clearly he can’t do it all either.  It’s time foreign policy gurus get their heads out of you-know-where and do something constructive about winning the war against radical Islam.  We have to work with Muslims like Abdullah who recognize that terrorists are heretics who are so far removed from the Prophet’s good teachings that they have insured their place in whatever hell they are bound to go to.  Groups and countries like Jordan are more deserving of our aid and military support than faux-friends like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.  Until we can learn that lesson, the war on terror will continue to fester and the battle lines seem to be like a dance of musical chairs, draining our resources and killing our hopes for a world at peace.

[Note: in last Sunday’s “Mail” segment on Sixty Minutes, viewers echoed many of the above sentiments. One even suggested that Abdullah run for U.S. president. Considering the flawed four candidates we have running, that’s a great idea!]

And so it goes…


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