Jordan currently has a peace treaty with Israel. Why, then, do you believe Jordan will participate in the War of Gog and Magog?
To be clear, I am not certain that Jordan will participate. I sincerely hope not. I had the privilege of visiting that beautiful, historic country in 2005 and have many friends among the Jordanian people. The late King Hussein was a man of character and courage who deserves great respect for signing a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. His son, King Abdullah II, has impressively carried on in his father’s tradition. He sided with the West against Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein after the 9/11 attacks. He is working hard to fight radical Islamic insurgents inside his country. He is also building bridges of friendship with evangelical Christians and Jews, even speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2006—the first Muslim king ever to do so.
That said, however, I fear Jordan may tragically wind up being part of the Russian-Iranian coalition. Not only did the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan participate in numerous wars against Israel prior to the treaty that currently exists, its present leadership is increasingly at risk of a coup or revolution. Terrorist forces from Iran, Al-Qaeda and Hamas, and others are trying to gain a foothold in Jordan. They would like nothing more than to assassinate or overthrow the current king and create a new radical Islamic regime there that could help them in their battle to annihilate Israel.
In April 2004, Jordanian authorities narrowly stopped a terrorist attack in the capital city of Amman meant to decapitate the Jordanian government as well as destroy the U.S. Embassy. An astounding 20 tons of explosives and chemical weapons were discovered. Authorities said that if the poison gas attack had been successful, more than 80,000 people could have been killed and over 160,000 wounded. The Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (who until his death in June 2006 was Al-Qaeda’s top man in Iraq) was believed to have been behind the attack.11
Iraqi general Georges Sada told me the only place Al-Qaeda could have gotten 20 tons of chemical weapons for that attack was from Syria, which he says now possesses Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Sada explains that Saddam Hussein moved all of his WMD to Syria in the summer of 2002—several months before U.S. and coalition forces invaded—a charge now being followed up by U.S. and British intelligence.12
On November 9, 2005, Al-Qaeda struck in Jordan again, launching three attacks on hotels in Amman—including one where a wedding party was taking place—killing 57 people and wounding more than 150 others. Zarqawi further vowed to behead King Abdullah II.
“These people are insane,” the king responded, vowing to hunt down and destroy radical Islamic forces trying to use his kingdom as a base camp. Jordanian authorities said they had thwarted fifteen separate terrorist plots since April 2004 but noted that the hotel bombings were further evidence of just how determined the jihadists were to destabilize the kingdom.13
Al-Qaeda isn’t the only threat, of course. At a luncheon I attended in Washington as I was finishing this book, I asked Bernard Lewis—the renowned Middle East scholar and author of numerous important books about the region including The Crisis of Islam—to assess the potential impact of Hamas coming to power in the post-Arafat environment. “The Hamas-Palestinian government may pose more of a danger to Jordan than to Israel,” he said.14
Lewis is right. Some 70 percent of Jordanian citizens are Palestinians, and Hamas would love to radicalize them and use them to help overthrow the king and unify Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza into one jihadist state poised at Israel’s throat.
The good news is that King Hussein was one of the longest-serving monarchs in modern Middle Eastern history, and we can and should hope and pray that King Abdullah II is likewise able to maintain stability, defeating the radicals while continuing to give the Jordanian people more freedom and building bridges to Christians and Jews.
But we must acknowledge this is by no means certain. Should Jordan falls into the hands of the jihadists, Israel will be in grave danger, as will the newly democratic government in Iraq, and the nominally pro-Western government of Egypt.