Tag Archives: Jordan

It's Egypt's turn to express outrage

Islamic State terrorists are doing a marvelous job … of uniting the Arab world against them.

The latest expression of outrage comes from Egypt, which this morning launched a series of air strikes against ISIL targets in Libya. Egyptian air force pilots were striking in retaliation for yet another hideous video, this one showing the decapitation of 21 Egyptians, all Coptic Christians, apparently being held captive in Libya.


Egypt has struck back hard at the terrorists, joining Jordan — which this past week suffered its own tragedy with the immolation death of the young Jordanian air force pilot, which also was video recorded and broadcast around the world.

The U.S.-led coalition needs more of this outrage, although we shouldn’t wish more death and misery to bring our Middle East allies into the fight with us.

In a televised address, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi described IS as “inhuman criminal killers.” He added: “Egypt and the whole world are in a fierce battle with extremist groups carrying extremist ideology and sharing the same goals.”

The Egyptians already are fighting ISIL-sympathetic terrorists operating in the Sinai desert, so they’ve already been battle-tested.

It might be too much to hope for at this moment, given that the struggle ahead appears to have no end. However, ISIL’s brand of ghoulish and ghastly murder against captives well could be the sort of galvanizing series of events that finally — finally! — brings the Arab world fully into a fight that it should have joined at the beginning.

Welcome aboard, friends.


Kayla Mueller: another ISIL victim

It now appears that Kayla Jean Mueller has died as a result of an air strike by Jordan air force fighter jets.

The Prescott, Ariz., aid worker died while being held captive by Islamic State terrorists, which in my mind makes her a victim of the monsters who kept her in bondage.


Mueller’s family confirmed the young woman’s death in a statement released today.

The fight must go on.

Mueller’s death now becomes another rallying cry for the good guys seeking to destroy ISIL and end its campaign of brutality against the world.

She was doing good work, trying to lend aid and comfort to those who were suffering in Syria. ISIL captured her and no doubt subjected her to unspeakable horror.

The Jordanians — enraged at the ghastly immolation death of that young fighter pilot — have stepped up their air strikes against ISIL targets, becoming more fully involved in the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIL in Syria and Iraq. We should welcome Jordan’s participation in this effort.

Yes, it comes at a terrible cost. The fight must continue. “No matter how long it takes,” President Obama said, “the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.”

Kayla Mueller’s tragic end is on the hands of the terrorists.


War on terror gets a new identity

Muath el-Kaseasbeh may have become the new face in the global war on terror.

The young Jordanian air force fighter pilot is the latest high-profile victim of the Islamic State’s hideous campaign of brutality and this week Jordanians poured out in large numbers to pay their respects to the officer who died an unspeakable death at the hands of his ISIL captors.


Jordan has gone into mourning over the pilot’s death. He was set afire by ISIL terrorists, who were retaliating against Jordan’s participation in the bombing campaign launched by the United States and its allies to destroy the terrorist organization.

ISIL’s latest act of brutality has become a rallying cry for those who now are beginning to realize that they, too, must join the fight — all the way.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has vowed his country will launch a “relentless” campaign against ISIL, no doubt understanding that such an effort well might produce more captives who could be subjected to the fate that befell el-Kaseasbeh.

The Middle East region, though, is full of other nations in close proximity to the havoc that is being played out by ISIL and other terror cults carrying out these dastardly deeds in the name of a great religion.

They, too, must step up. They need not suffer the pain being felt by Jordanians at this moment. They need to join the fight as a preemptive measure against these hideous monsters.


ISIL's latest act must intensify world scorn

The Islamic State well might have performed an act that finally — finally! — has produced a unity in resolve among Arab states to wage all-out war against the terrorist monsters.

ISIL burned a Jordanian pilot to death, causing Jordan’s King Abdullah to declare his nation will conduct a “relentless” pursuit of the terrorists.


As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opined in an editorial: “The latest brutal execution by the Islamic State group, of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh, may be hardening Middle East perceptions of the organization.”

The civilized world should hope that is the case.

President Obama today, at the National Prayer Breakfast, called ISIL a “cult of death.”

ISIL terrorists have beheaded prisoners and shown those brutal acts to the world. Now the immolation of the fighter pilot has occurred and it well might steel the Arab world to join the fight fully, along with the United States and other Western allies, in seeking the destruction of ISIL.

The beheading of those two Japanese journalists was appalling in the extreme as well, prompting an angry response from the Japanese government. As the Post-Gazette noted: “The reactions of Japan and Jordan were strong. The prime minister of Japan, with its post-World War II tradition of nonmilitarism, is talking about a new constitution that would permit a more robust Japanese military role.”

These acts of sheer brutality and barbarism have defined this new world war.

May the nations closest to the fight — those in the Middle East — now join the fight in earnest.

The civilized world needs their righteous anger on the side of human decency.


ISIL strategy laid out … more or less

President Obama has laid it out there.

We’re going to bomb the daylights out of ISIL in Iraq and will start doing so in Syria; we’re going to enlist the aid of regional allies, such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to join in the fight; we’re going to arm and equip “moderate rebel forces” in Syria fighting against the dictator Bashar al-Assad.

What I didn’t hear tonight from President Obama was how we’re going to know when we’ve defeated the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.


Ever since the war on terror began after the 9/11 attacks, the United States never has set a standard for declaring victory. We cannot ever actually win this war. The president tonight noted that it is impossible for the United States to root out every single individual who terrorizes others. Therefore, I believe, the war against terror will continue probably forever, for as long as people coalesce into groups with the intention of committing terrorist acts.

I heard a commander in chief dedicated to keeping us safe from evil. I saw in his face precisely the same level of determination I’ve seen, say, in President George W. Bush when he announced his intention to go after the “axis of evil.” I heard Barack Obama declare his immense pride in our military personnel.

Can we defeat ISIL with air power alone? Barack Obama believes we can, if we’re smart and if we work diligently with our allies in the region to hunt ISIL fighters down and destroy them.

Although it might be impossible to declare ultimate victory against ISIL or any other terror group that seeks to harm us, it isn’t too much to hope that there might be a day when we can declare the imminent threat to America has been eliminated.

The fight, though, must go on.


Obama seeks to thread dangerous needle

Talk about a much-anticipated speech.

President Obama is going to speak Wednesday about his planned strategy for “degrading, defeating and destroying” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In that speech, the president is going to lay out a plan that will preclude American “boots on the ground.” What he will need to explain — and he’ll need to use his tremendous rhetorical skill to do so — is how this nation is going to defeat ISIL’s efforts to overthrow the government in Syria without aligning ourselves with the government that we also hate.

The president offered a hint of that strategy this morning in an interview broadcast on Meet the Press. He talked to new MTP moderator Chuck Todd about working with “moderate opposition forces” that also are fighting the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. ISIL is the new enemy on the battlefield in Syria, he said, and the United States will deploy its enormous air power to hit ISIL’s whenever and wherever we find it.

This, I submit, is where the equation gets very tricky.

Assad’s regime is as hated as any in the Middle East. He, too, is a monster who needs to go. ISIL, though, is an even worse monster. Do we take sides in this struggle, wishing for one enemy force to defeat another enemy force?

Obama said the aim ought to be to help those so-called moderates in Syria — with help from other Sunni Arab states in the region. He mentioned Saudi Arabia and Jordan, two nations that have received significant U.S. military support over the years.

It’s time, Obama said, for those nations to deploy the assets we’ve provided for them in the fight against ISIL.

The president took a lot of heat when he said recently that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in dealing with ISIL. The critics who pounded Obama over that statement forget the “yet” part of that statement.

It appears a strategy is forthcoming. I’ll wait with interest for what the president has to say.

I will be particularly interested in hearing how he plans to keep fighting Bashar al-Assad while destroying the dictator’s No. 1 enemy.


Pope emerges as peace broker?

Can there be any doubt that Pope Francis I is the rock star everyone believes him to be?

The pope, in a stunning gesture to two sides in one of the world’s most contentious regions, invited them to the Vatican later this year in what has been called a “common prayer for peace.”

Who knows? A real deal that forges a permanent peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority could be next.


“All of us … are obliged to make ourselves instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers,” the pope said after a public Mass in Bethlehem.

The pope is touring Israel, the West Bank and Jordan on a whirlwind tour of the Holy Land. He just might get more out of this trip than anyone in the world ever imagined.

At issue are peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that broke down when PA President Mahmoud Abbas brokered a unity government deal with Hamas, the reviled terrorist organization that vows to destroy Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended the talks, declaring that Abbas cannot seek peace while sidling next to such a notorious terrorist organization.

Now comes the Holy Father. He wants to bring both sides together for a meeting in the Vatican. Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres have been invited.

“The time has come to put an end to this situation which has become increasingly unacceptable,” the pope told Abbas, adding that he was “expressing my closeness to those who suffer most from this conflict.” And who might that be? Some observers believe he is referring to the Palestinians.

If ever there was a time to pray for a solution that has evaded presidents, kings, sultans, imams, rabbis and just about anyone else with a semblance of moral authority in the world, this could be it.

Let’s hope Pope Francis I can deliver some pastoral guidance that helps end a centuries-old conflict.

Can His Holiness work a miracle in Holy Land?

Pope Francis’s tour of Israel and Jordan is getting some hearts fluttering.

It’s not just that the head of the Catholic Church is making his first trip to the Holy Land. It is that this man who’s been dubbed a “rock star” on the world stage might be able to move Israelis and Arabs closer to a peace deal.


The Holy Father will deliver a Mass in Bethlehem on the West Bank. Just a hunch, but he’ll pack the place with worshipers. His predecessor, Benedict XVI, delivered a Mass in Nazareth in 2009. I had the pleasure of touring the amphitheater built for that event. He drew an overflow crowd in a city that is now 80 percent Muslim. Yes, they came from all over Israel to hear it, but I think you get my point, which is that the pope represents something quite special to folks of all faiths.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have broken down. PA President Mahmoud Abbas struck a deal that gave Hamas — a notorious terrorist organization — a role in governing the Palestinian Authority, which Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu said correctly was a non-starter for Israel.

Hope is emerging that Francis might be able in private talks to persuade the two sides to resume talks. Indeed, there must be a path to peace and it well might take someone with Francis’s global stature to help the two sides find their way toward that path.

He’ll be there only for a brief time but, hey, miracles can occur in an instant.

Make peace or deal with Hamas?

Put yourself in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shoes.

You govern a country of some 8,000 square miles surrounded by nations that at one time or another vowed to exterminate you and your constituents. Yes, you’ve made peace with a couple of those nations — Jordan and Egypt. The rest of the region remains iffy.

You’re in the middle of peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and then you learn that the leader of that government has brokered a deal with one of the world’s most ferocious terrorist organizations, Hamas. That organization has orchestrated terrorist attacks on your country from the Gaza Strip, which the Palestinian Authority governs.

The PA now wants to form a “unity government” that includes Hamas.

Do they want peace with Israel or not? Netanyahu has called off peace talks because the PA has formed that arrangement with Hamas, which still vows to exterminate Israel.


Can you really blame the Israeli prime minister? I cannot.

Netanyahu is furious with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for agreeing to the Hamas deal.

Having seen some of the damage that Hamas has inflicted on southern Israel myself, I understand fully why Netanyahu has called off the peace talks. I was part of a group that toured Israel in the spring of 2009 and we saw damage done by rocket fire in Sderot and Ashkelon, near the border with Gaza, which had erupted in violence prior to our arrival in Israel.

It’s a blow to Secretary of State John Kerry, who persuaded the sides to talk to each other after they didn’t speak for five years. Kerry still believes a path to peace is still open, but it’s now been littered by the presence of Hamas in this arrangement with one of the principals in the talks.

“He can’t have it both ways,” Netanyahu said of Abbas. “He has to choose: Peace with Israel or a pact with Hamas.”

Netanyahu is right to be angry.