“Ma’an is the Falluja of Jordan!” shouted thousands of Bedouin Saturday, June 28, in the southern Jordanian town of Ma’an. This legend was inscribed on the placards and flags they bore aloft with one hand in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In the other, they waved automatic rifles.
Ma’an (pop: 50,000) is in a sensitive location: 218 km south of Amman, it also lies 104 km from the Israeli port town of Eilat and some 60 km from the main artery cutting south from northern Israel to the south.
But although pro-Al Qaeda riots have been going on for days in Ma’an, capital of the southern province of the Kingdom of Jordan, military and security personnel have not been seen in its vicinity.
For now, King Abdullah is conferring urgently with his army and intelligence chiefs on how to suppress the Islamist revolt in Ma’an without it spilling over into other Jordanian towns, especially Salt, Irbid and Zerka, which have large clusters of Al Qaeda followers.
There was anxious talk in Washington Sunday about the prospect of Abdullah’s throne being rocked by an Islamist revolt, in which case the Obama administration would have no option but to approve the intervention of American and Israeli special operations forces to defend the king, and push back against an Al Qaeda-ISIS invasion. However the domestic Islamist peril may be more immediate and acute than the external one.
A US military source consulted by debkafile revealed that the Jordanian army is now concentrated in three sectors: The Syrian border in the north, the Iraqi border in the east and the capital.
Full article: Jordanian Bedouin hoist Al Qaeda flag in Ma’an – 104 km from Eilat. US, Israeli forces on the ready (DEBKAfile)