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Need for new strategy to tackle jihadist salafists

Mar 05,2016 - Last updated at Mar 05,2016

A new strategy and a new chapter are due to start with affiliates of jihadist salafist groups in Jordan. 

The clashes in Irbid last week, between a Daesh-affiliate group and security forces, require a sober analysis since new signals emerge from the entire incident.

The first shows that there are dormant cells of highly trained terrorists; in this case, although they were only seven, they managed to resist, without surrender, a superior force of 150 gendarmes for nine hours.

This exposes the futility of the old strategy of refraining from brutal force in dealing with jihadist salafists and using kid gloves persuasion techniques that some of their ideologues in Amman, Sheikh Abu Mohammed Al Maqdisi or Abu Qutada, Omar Mahmoud Othman Omar, advocate. 

So far, nearly 350 Jordanians were killed in Syria and Iraq, out of a total of 1,300 jihadist salafists fighting alongside Daesh or Al Nusra, which is currently in control of Daraa and has Iyad Toubasi, a Jordanian, as its commanding officer, or emir.

Do we still have “true believers” in Schneller Refugee Camp, in Maan or in Zarqa, who have been converted to Al Qaeda ideology of jihadist salafism? 

Sure. We have nearly 5,000, according to confirmed reports.

Do they constitute a threat to the country, as dormant cells or as “true believers”?

They certainly do not.

The General Intelligence Department, with its greatly commendable achievements, has accumulated a wealth experience for the last 25 years, when the first clone of jihadist salafism was born.

The first mentor of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was a Jordanian Abu Mosab Al Zarqawi who was neutralised by the intelligence agency in 2006.

Osama Ben Laden’s first ideologue was a Jordanian, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, who disappeared in a mysterious car explosion in Pakistan.

Our religious clerics, during their Friday sermons, are still preaching to the believers against Daesh, while neglecting the cyber warfare which is used to recruit in what is called online indoctrination, more Jordanians to be converted into jihadist salafists, capitalising on their unemployment, frustration and despair.

We still have in Jordan many anti-Daesh ideological groups who have not been approached yet and whose great resources still have not been tapped.

The Irbid clashes are more of an alarm bell; they should make us realise that a new strategy of handling jihadist salafists amongst us is needed.

Friday sermons cannot combat Daesh, Jabhat Al Nusra or Al Qaeda.


To avenge for our martyr Major Rashed Zyoud, who was killed in the Irbid clashes, a squadron of cyber warfare experts should be mobilised to address the task of planning a counter-offensive against attempts to brainwash more of our younger generation.

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