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Jordan to face numerous security challenges

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Terrorism is a security and political challenge that Jordan will face in the next decade. The country has been a target for terrorist groups (Daesh and al-Qaeda) for many reasons due to Jordan’s proximity to Iraq and Syria, which have been suffering from terrorism for many years. As Jordan rejects Salafi-Jihadi ideologies, Jordan has been a target for Jihadist movements. This explains why Jordan has joined the international coalition for war on terrorism as the country witnessed many terrorist incidents which targeted hotels, tourist sites, places of worship, restaurants, schools, and malls.

To better understand extremism and terrorism in Jordan, one should take into account the following:

1. Jordan is governed by violent geopolitical position that brings benefits to the kingdom but at the same time further threats and risks including extremism and terrorism. Thus, Jordan cannot avoid such threats in the foreseeable future.

2 – Jordan has succeeded during its historic journey to deal with terrorist cases caused by Islamist groups.

3 – Though the number of terrorist attacks in Jordan has decreased over the past decade, there is a high risk as the threats of terrorism are quite different than they were before in terms of methods and targets as recent attacks were targeting security services.

4- The rising impact of means of social communication in the recruitment of terrorists using propaganda, to recruit them to be leaders, planners and manufacturers of explosives.

5. The tight measures imposed by security and intelligence forces on extremists and terrorists, have prompted radical factions to resort to “lone wolves” to carry out attacks to cause heavy casualties among security men and civilians.

6. The risk of using Unmanned Aerial Systems including the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to carry out terrorist operations against government and public institutions have been clear in the aftermath of investigations with the cell which planned for Fuhais and Salt terrorist incidents. Investigations revealed that the cell members were planning to manufacture a drone capable of carrying 10 kilograms of explosives to target civilian and military buildings. Such a drone would be able to carry explosives, loaded with biological or chemical substances that would cause heavy toll of death cases and injuries.

7. Jordan is expected to face the problem of the return of some Jordanian fighters from Syria and Iraq, which calls for the development of methods to combat terrorism, violent extremism, hate speech and the modernization and development of the Jordanian strategy to combat terrorism and violent extremism.

8. Jordan must develop the judicial system in conjunction with the establishment of a program of rehabilitation, integration and subsequent care that is transparent and constructive, involving the private sector and civil society institutions to provide necessary financial support, especially as the international community and the United Nations are moving in this direction.

In Jordan, the number of terrorist incidents during the period from February 28, 1979 until the last August 12, 2018 amounted to 110 terrorist attacks. The death toll of these operations was 140, leaving more than 300 injured.  The number of attacks attributed to Islamist groups was 22 since 1970, 20 per cent of the total operations. Daesh adopted 8 operations since 2015, most recently Fuhais booby-trap on August 10, 2018. Al-Qaeda adopted 4 attacks; three of these attacks were on hotels in 2005.  Al-Qaeda in Iraq which was led by Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi adopted the three attacks and one attack was attributed on Hamas.