We are all fighting the outlaws of Islam

Op-Ed by His Majesty King Abdullah II
The Daily Telegraph
02 December 2015

Events taking place in the Middle East today will shape the security and stability of Europe and the world for decades to come. This is why I call the war on terrorism a Third World War, by other means. It is also why it is imperative for all of us to be united in this existential war. This is not a war that should divide us, but a war that should unite us in shared interests, common principles and fundamental human values.

I have said before that we are fighting a war within Islam against the outlaws of Islam, the Khawarej. Yet, as we have painfully seen, these terrorists and outlaws threaten the entire world. They target all of us, innocent men and women regardless of race or faith. It is a war we all have to fight, and win, as a united global community. It is a war that knows no boundaries, no geography or demography. One that is not limited to Syria and Iraq, but extends to Africa, Asia, with its flames reaching Europe and the rest of the world.

Jordan considers the United Kingdom a close and historic friend, and a key ally. The United Kingdom certainly appreciates that these criminals are as much a threat to its own population as they are to us and the rest of the world. We have witnessed with shock and sadness the brutal murder of British hostages. We have seen many failed plots against the UK, and the campaign to lure youngsters from Britain and across Europe to commit the most atrocious crimes, everywhere. And you have seen how they have also brutally murdered Muslims in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. The horrific images of the burning of our brave young pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, remain forever in the collective conscience of the civilised world today.

Both our countries are working side by side in fighting the Khawarej in Iraq, and we see the capabilities of your Royal Air Force and its determined pilots. But again, while we respect borders, terrorists do not recognise them. Therefore, we need to look at the bigger picture. It is not enough to focus just on Iraq because they also control large areas in Syria and are establishing footholds in other areas in Asia and Africa.

I do not believe our countries, or our world, can afford to wait much longer. While we pursue the political solution in Syria, we must work together on fighting them in that country, and everywhere. And this is what we have been doing. We need to work with Syrian opposition forces, who are on the ground in Syria, to defeat the Khawarej, while working with equal determination on advancing the political process. The Syrian opposition, especially in the south, is both capable and willing to fight and they deserve our support.

Of course, military action is only part of the answer in delivering a secure future for all of us. We need to coordinate our efforts on a strategy that includes humanitarian support, as well as diplomatic and political progress.

Your Prime Minister, David Cameron, visited Jordan in September and saw the huge burden we are bearing, with a fifth of our population now Syrian refugees. We remain grateful for British aid in helping those refugees and the Jordanian communities that host them.

I draw hope from the ongoing talks in Vienna. A real opportunity now presents itself to bring together the global coalition that is required today on both the political and military levels.

It is up to all of us to face this moment of truth with determination. All of us in the fight against Daesh [known in Britain as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or Isil] need to decide where we stand. On behalf of the international community Jordan has made its decision and taken on a burden far beyond its size. We believe this is the right thing to do, to stand up for our values and do everything we can to protect our religion, our people, and our nation.

As you go through your internal debate on this major global threat, it is important to understand that your country’s contribution to this undertaking, by carrying out air strikes against Daesh in Syria, can be crucial.

We ask you, our friends in the United Kingdom, Europe and the World, to stand together with us in meeting the challenge and eliminating this global threat.