By Bijan Razzaghi
The Jordanian armed forces have recently taken a front row seat in the battle against IS. Jordan’s military capabilities have been critical in the fight against IS and AQ as well as contributing to stability in the region. Jordan is situated right in between Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia making it in one of the world’s greatest hotspots. As a result Jordan has built up its military forces in particular counter terrorism forces in confronting these threats while protecting the kingdom.
Jordan’s military is primarily made up of a combination of US and British equipment and is modeled after a modern NATO force. US relations with Jordan improved significantly after the 1994 Israel Jordan peace treaty. Two years later Jordan would be added to the major non-NATO ally list along with Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Israel and Bahrain. This alliance gives these nations access to American technology and assures their protection from outside threats. In 2014 when IS moved into Iraq from Syria many feared Jordan would be next given their position despite the threat Jordan built ups its defenses and ramped up security to prevent any incursions. The branches of Jordan’s military primarily utilized in this effort have been the Army, Joint Special Operation’s Command (Jordan) and the Air force.
The primarily responsibilities of Jordan’s air force in the battle against IS is striking targets in Syria as well as supporting special forces during ground operations. Jordan uses its fleet of F-16s, which provide a precision strike capability during all weather operations. Jordan is among the many F-16 operators in the Middle East and they receive regular training from the US. Jordan’s air force uses its fleet of helicopters both AH-1 Cobras and Blackhawks to provide close air support and transport special operations forces. The helicopters can operate in all weather conditions and provide reliable up to date combat capabilities.
Jordan’s Special Forces known as Joint Special Operations command consist of counter terrorism specialist as well as soldiers trained in unconventional warfare. The purpose of these units are to train and equip friendly forces and conduct direct action missions such as going after high value targets and rescuing hostages. Jordan JSOC recently took part in an operation to take out a high value IS leader with Delta force in Syria. Jordan’s special operation’s forces regularly train with both UK Special Forces and US and are among the best in the Middle East. The Jordan JSOC regularly protects the kingdom from all threats externally and internally.
With a combination of Air power and highly trained Special Forces the Jordanian military plays a crucial role in shielding the region from the threat of IS and AQ and plays a crucial role in acting as a force multiplier for the US led coalition. Jordan’s military continues to evolve into a potent force capable of delivering significant damage to IS and AQ.