The country appears set to play a larger role in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, but the war looks to be long and difficult. Jordan, a country of just 6.6 million people, is already hosting more than 600,000 Syrian refugees. This has placed great strain on a country with limited resources and a fragile economy.
Jordan's military is a key player in all this, and NPR got to see it up close at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center, which is just outside Amman.
The Jordanian armed forces are closely aligned with the West, and the commander at the training center, Brig. Gen. Aref al-Zaben, is no exception. He has been trained at Fort Bragg, N.C., and also studied at the National Defense University in Washington
|Jordan's Brig. Gen. Aref al-Zaben runs a special operations training center outside Amman. He believes it's inevitable that Jordan and other countries in the anti-ISIS coalition will send in special forces at some point to fight the extremist group.|
Zaben, who has also served in Afghanistan and Yemen, stressed the ideological dimension of special operations: spreading the message of moderate Islam that Jordanians, and he would say most Muslims, practice.
Served in Afghanistan AND Yemen?
I asked about Jordan's role in Syria. Support for airstrikes is strong, though a ground invasion is not on the table. But what about special forces?In other words, Jordan will, as it has already, send special forces and/or all those NATO jihadi trainees they have been prepping into Syria. On the ground in the future
"The fight against ISIS will [include] special forces, special operations on the ground, in the future," he said. "That's going to be a coalition initiative."
Asked if that meant that other regional countries, not only Jordan, were likely to send in special forces, he answered definitively.
"Must be," he says. "I think we all have to stand together.