By DoD News
By Jim Garamone
Partnership is the lifeblood of special operations forces, King Abdullah II of Jordan told the attendees of the National Defense Industrial Association’s virtual conference.
Speaking to the group Tuesday from Amman, Jordan, Abdullah said countering the novel coronavirus must be everyone’s priority now, but that doesn’t mean other threats don’t exist, or that malign actors are not using the pandemic to their own purposes.
“It is in these most difficult and uncertain circumstances that we must remain vigilant,” the king said. “Every day we are being presented with new challenges and even the resurfacing of previous ones.”
He noted that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is increasing attacks in Iraq, and threatening to undo years of local efforts.
“These groups are also taking advantage of COVID-19 and targeting recruiting via social media, while foreign fighters continue to move from one conflict zone to another,” he said.
The king said he is worried that the economic fallout from the virus and the proliferation of weapons will encourage militias and extremists. People with little hope are prone to extremism, he said.
“These realities mean we need to be ahead of the curve,” he said. “The grounds we have to function within are ever more dangerous and more complex, and risks are going to be much higher.”
To combat this, there needs to be solid partnerships and information sharing among those partners, he said. Political solutions to the problems of the Middle East and Central Asia are more urgent now than before, and avoidance of escalation measures or decisions is going to be an absolute must, he said. “We need to continue working together and collaborating to bridge gaps in security and enhance cyber security and defense and offensive ops accordingly.”
The king said Jordan was among the first countries to join the global coalition to defeat ISIS. “We truly remain committed to closely coordinating with international partners to face these challenges head-on,” he said.
Jordan has millions of refugees living in the nation and has been a witness to the horrors of the Syrian civil war. The king sponsored a meeting in the southern Jordanian city of Aqaba in 2015 that resulted in a process to coordinate efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism and collaborate on quick impact projects with international partners.
“What we’ve learned from the Aqaba process, and most recently from COVID-19 crisis, is that our chances of success increase exponentially only if we partner and that, in order to survive, address challenges and thrive, we need desperately to work with each other,” he said. “We need to seek better integration, or what I call globalization that builds capacity, cooperation and positive interdependence.”
“Our cooperation is essential to securing a brighter, more peaceful future for the next generations,” he said.