Jordan has mobilized its military forces along Jordan's 180 kilometre border with Iraq - deploying rocket launchers, armored personnel carriers and tanks following the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) reportedly taking control of the Trebil crossing between Iraq and Jordan on 23 June.
Other reports said members of this Salafist jihadist group took over a number of Iraqi towns in Anbar - including al-Rutba - 40 kilometres from the Jordan-Iraq border.
Osama Al Sharif reports:
Jordan maintains close ties with the Sunni tribes of Iraq, especially in Anbar. But these tribes provided sanctuary to ISIS founder, Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. It is believed that Jordanian intelligence and an anti-terrorist squad helped the Americans locate and liquidate Zarqawi. The spread of ISIS in Anbar will raise red flags in Amman.
Taylor Luck - Amman-based political analyst specialized in jihadist movements - opines:
Jordan's greatest national security threat currently is neither the Syrian regime or the potential use of chemical weapons - it is the spread of the Islamic State's ideology and the spillover of the jihadist civil war into Jordan.
Al-Monitor confirms these assessments:
The quick takeover by ISIS and Sunni rebels of at least three Iraqi governorates in the past two weeks, including the city of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, has created unease in Jordan for a number of reasons. ISIS has in the past threatened the regime and video clips on YouTube by Jordanian members of the organization, vowing to march on the kingdom and burning their passports, have generated concern. No one really knows how many Jordanians have joined this radical Islamist group, but there are estimates that at least 2,000 jihadists have joined Jabhat al-Nusra, which is associated with al-Qaeda, and ISIS to fight in Syria.
These developments followed Jordan's King Abdullah's surprise meeting with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya last week.
Europe Online magazine explains:
Jordan has a significant community of ethnic Chechens stemming from 19th century emigration from the Russian empire, while Chechens are thought to make up a significant proportion of Islamic State fighters, who are currently spreading unrest in Iraq.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - currently waging offensives in Syria and Iraq - claims that up to 2,000 fighters in both regions are from the Caucasus.
Kadyrov, who has been battling Islamist insurgents in Chechnya and neighbouring regions, has in the past vehemently denounced Chechen jihadists in the Middle East.
Abdullah was obviously concerned about the extent to which Chechens already in Jordan might make common cause with ISIS Chechen militants outside it.
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