What would Israel do if Islamic State terrorists attacked or threatened Jordan?
Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz answered the question on Israel Radio on Sunday. While saying that the Jordanians could probably take care of themselves, but if not, Israel might well become embroiled in such a conflict.
“Jordan is a strong state, but still if Jordan was truly in danger from these jihadist extremists and asked for our assistance — Israel has a very clear interest in the existence of Jordan,” Steinitz said.
He added, however, that recent successes of Kurdish fighters, bolstered by U.S. airstrikes, in turning back Islamic State advances and retaking some areas, may indicate that the danger to Jordan is fading.
On Friday, Israeli media quoted unnamed diplomatic sources saying that IS-caused instability in neighboring Jordan would indeed bring Israeli military intervention.
In June, The Daily Beast revealed that senior Obama administration officials told senators in a classified briefing that if Jordan were to face a military onslaught from IS, it would “ask Israel and the United States for as much help as they can get.”
According to the London-based newspaper a-Sharq al-Awsat, Jordanian security forces arrested 71 radical Islamic activists recently, including IS and Syria’s al-Nusra Front, throughout the kingdom.
In addition, hundreds of Jordanians are known to have traveled to Syria to fight in the uprising against President Bashar Assad and some have joined extremist groups, including the Islamic State.