Tag Archives: De-radicalization

What de-radicalisation implies

Any successful de-radicalization strategy requires an understanding of the nature of the problem and anticipation of the risks. It is it not an easy mission to comprehend the level of challenge unless there is, in the mind of the state, a long term vision with clear ideas about the model of the future Jordan.

Even with a solid approach, it is a difficult task. Frankly, we do not have strong de-radicalization narratives; instead we rely on the insufficient strategy of moderate clerics countering radical narratives. Without serious concrete changes in policies, communication and socio-economic development, this is unlikely to make a difference. 

This is not a religious battle, but rather it is a battle of existence, of life and death, where people should be integrated into the present rather than being prisoners of the past.  We need to make people feel positive about life, being productive and appreciating their existence. A comprehensive plan is essential, otherwise we are treading water towards failure.

Many would argue that radicalization is not the primary issue in Jordan, and that we just need to minimize the risk of violence and terrorist attacks. While we don’t have frequent terrorist attacks or major incidents at the moment, this kind of complacency will only lead to one outcome.

Radicalization is not only measured by security outcomes. The latent evolution of the phenomenon should be analyzed with a progressive methodology. If the current situation in many Jordanian villages and cities continues, radicalization will grow and in order for the state and its institutions to reflect societies positions, then policies and programs will adopt these radical tendencies.

These radical thoughts and approach will quickly spread through the security and military establishment as most recruits come from these villages and cities. Many would argue that the model we have is not radical, but the definition of radical will shift with the mentality of the people. The risk is when people reach the point where their attitudes, social behaviors, and thoughts are unconsciously radical, the state moves with them and radicalism is normalized.

The major challenge is, understanding the deep cultural problem of radicalism. We need a serious political will for change so we can hope to have smart minds to predict the problems and future implications through a serious diagnosis of the problem across all sectors of the population. Radicalization is not limited to school curricula or religious narratives. It needs to be at the top of the agenda for national security, from the revision of the security system, the state communication strategy and the socio-economic process. While it is a long process, a concerted and serious effort is required now to ensure that outcomes are achieved in the long-term.

Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh

Visiting British PM’s message

May’s visit is important because it initiates a new phase of discrete UK polices in the Middle East. Aside from the international coalition which Jordan and UK are part of, a UK-Jordan initiative to counter the terror threats is in train. This bilateral understanding aims to develop new capabilities to strike ISIS targets by enhancing the capacities of the Jordanian Air Force.

It is also important that the British initiative includes a long-term cooperation that aims to improve countering violent extremism in the region. This is an integral issue for both Jordan and the UK. For the British it is important to address the sources of radicalization in the region, many of which have connections with radical members on their soil. Any de-radicalization process in Britain requires a measure of addressing the source of funding and training of terrorism in the Middle East.

Clearly it is also an essential issue to address for Jordan. Jordan requires concrete support in applying a more decisive process of de-radicalization. Indeed, Jordan needs to focus on accelerating the de-radicalization to counter their citizens who have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight, as well as those who are radicalized within its borders.

The Obama strategies that created a vacuum in Syria, which was eventually filled by Russia are being remedied and the lessons are being learned. During the visit, May also discussed ways in which the UK can assist Jordan to address the consequences of the Syrian conflict. Clearly the UK is taking steps to support Jordan and ensure a direct role in Syria and the rebuilding process.

We are also seeing the Trump administration seeking to protect its interest in Syria by engaging in Raqqa. The UK is seeking to maintain and build its presence in the Middle East in order to protect its interest. Jordan is strategically important for this, as it is central to Syria, Iraq and regional terrorism.

The symbolism of the visit during the post-Brexit transition demonstrates the shift in UK policies to secure UK interests. This may be the first step of a transition in strategy that London will adopt to guarantee its presence and interests in around the world.

Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh