Jordan, probably the safest nation in the Middle East, is not immune from home-brew extremist thought and acts of violence. Recently, three Special Forces soldiers were killed in Jordan outside of al-Jafr air base. The recent loss of life in Jordan reminds us how fragile safety is in the Middle East and throughout the world, where extremism and extremist thought spreads like a virus.
Years ago, a deadly shooting unfolded at Ft. Hood. The shooter was an American, radicalized. I was unsure if this was a terror attack. If it was, how’d they do it? They, I guess, didn’t do it, but their linguistic virus and thought process won the day, overtook the man, and spurred a violent act.
We do not have details regarding the recent shooting in Jordan. Many will be quick to assume a great deal about it. However, just as we can’t throw the towel at all Americans for the American psychologist-turned-shooter in the Ft. Hood tragedy, we need to wait and see with the Jordanian shooter and avoid demonizing the entire nation for the acts of a single person. Jordan, as a whole, remains a steadfast ally. That Jordanian shooter may have been manipulated or paid to commit the act. He could have harbored a strange vendetta, converted to an extremist belief system, or was just a psycho who opened fire. He could also be an incompetent soldier who did not know what he was doing.
Regardless, this is a sad loss. This may also prove a detriment to the work our soldiers were doing there while being an unspeakable tragedy to their families and potentially damaging to the U.S./Jordanian partnership at the base and at the embassy. It’s disruptive to many lives. Jordan is a place many assume is safe. But it’s still in the Middle East, and the region has their share of home-brewed extremists.
Not far from Amman, Jordan is Zarqa, the birthplace of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—the extremist leader who, in many ways, is at the root of ISIL’s story of origin. Al-Qaeda in Iraq had always deviated from al-Qaeda proper, led by Osama bin Laden. ISIL is more extreme and cares even less for civilian life. They are less conspiratorial and more confrontational.
I heard if you make over 50,000 dollars a year, you’re in the one percent of global society. There are a great many people who live on a single dollar a day. They’re hurting badly compared to most of us. But it’s not just the poor and desperate who are easy targets for extremist recruiting; it’s anyone who feels like the odds are stacked against them. Anyone who didn’t get into the school of their choice. The guy who did not get the girl because of a meager salary or unbecoming title at their work. Those who feel like there are preset loopholes for other people in life to get ahead while they languish. They’re all vulnerable to extremism.
Maybe, at one point or another, we are all vulnerable. It’s not impossible to wrap your head around the mentality and excitement of joining a global conspiracy to redraw borders and realign the power apparatus in the world.
It is, however, extremely destructive and violent. You’re choosing a path that most do not for moral reasons—no matter the rhetoric meant to absolve you from senseless acts of violence.
Featured image courtesy of Reuters