MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Jordan’s foreign minister said Sunday his government wants to send the message that America’s Arab allies are not pursuing the U.S.’s goals in the battle against ISIS, but instead have their own reasons to battle the group’s advance.
“This is our war,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said on This Week.
Jordan’s aggressive pursuit of military strikes, Judeh said, supports “this idea that we’re promoting, that is an Arab fight and it has to have an Arab stamp to it.”
“This is not the West’s fight and we are joining it,” the foreign minister continued. “It just so happens that there’s a convergence with the West.”
Judeh said it is an Arab fight because the battle is partly a religious one.
“When I say Arab stamp, what I’m saying essentially is Arab Muslim stamp,” he said, explaining that “this is a fight against people who are distorting our religion.”
Crucial to defeating ISIS, therefore, is “the ideological war,” Judeh added.
Judeh told George Stephanopoulos he believes Jordan’s increasing commitment to the fight against ISIS was inspiring other Arab Muslim countries to go above and beyond their commitments to the coalition.
“You saw for example yesterday the United Arab Emirates’ deciding to send a squadron of F-16s that will be stationed in Jordan,” the Jordanian official said.
Judeh nonetheless painted a dark picture of the current state of affairs in Iraq and Syria.
In the wake of the horrific killing by ISIS militants of the young Jordanian Air Force pilot they had captured, Judeh acknowledged that ISIS “still control[s] vast territory, they still have access to serious cash and funds, and they have access to sophisticated weaponry.”
Victory over the group, he said, was “not going to be easy and it’s not going to be quick.”
But Judeh praised retired Marine Gen. John Allen, the new coordinator of the military effort against the Islamic State, who he says is “doing amazing work.”
Judeh further maintained that the significant dissent and disagreement within his country when Jordan first joined the anti-ISIS operations was “gone.”
“The ugliness and the most horrible way of how our pilot was murdered” changed the mind of “the few who were perhaps opposed to this intervention against terrorists,” Judeh said, adding that that Jordanians were “all united now that these people have to be fought and be eradicated.”
Still, Judeh said, “We are extremely fortunate to have all the Western countries helping us.”
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