Jordan has adopted a new strategy in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) aimed at defending the kingdom against possible incursions by the militant group from western Iraq and eastern and southern Syria. On two separate occasions, King Abdullah declared that Jordan will do its best to support tribes in Syria and Iraq “that are engaging terrorist groups in both countries.” The king told the heads of southern Jordanian tribes on Dec. 18 that Jordan is implementing “a security strategy to confront challenges [on fronts with Syria and Iraq] in accordance with programs that are being followed by the armed forces and the security bodies.” He added that the Jordanian armed forces will not hesitate to carry out their duty toward “Arab neighbors and brethren.”

On Dec. 20, Abdullah reiterated his position to former prime ministers underlining Jordan’s ability to deal with regional challenges and stressing the importance of building an Arab-Islamic coalition against terrorism. He said that the war against the terror groups is an Arab and Islamic affair, “because the groups with extremist ideologies will not stop at Syria and Iraq if they gained more power, but will work to extend their grip to other Arab and Islamist countries, and worldwide.”

Jordan is an active member of the US-led coalition that is carrying out airstrikes against IS positions in both Syria and Iraq. But the new strategy of extending support to mainly Sunni tribes in both countries underlines the kingdom’s concern over the ability of airstrikes alone to stop the advance of militants closer to Jordanian borders. […]