By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
If there is one thing that the Middle East does for us, it keeps us off-balance, and I mean that in a good way, as in keeping us sharp. And, if there is one thing that can change on a dime in the Middle East, it is alliances. When I was in Iraq, I was able to travel briefly to Jordan and spend some time with a family whose father was a consultant for King Abdullah. Prior to my going, I studied, as best as one can on the internet, the king and his family, and was fascinated at the time to discover that at least one of Abdullah’s children had done the unthinkable, which was to write an essay about the prospect of better relations between Israel and Jordan.
Additionally, while I was in Iraq I worked with a man who had flown with Abdullah back in their Jordanian Air Force days, and I used to go to church with a man here in Athens who had the same experience when he was still in. From time to time I find myself praying for Abdullah, as I sense he has an important role to play on the eschatological stage, and he functions at all times in a veritable mine field.
Abdullah got our attention back in 2015 when he stated he’d be willing to fly sorties against ISIS; this after a Jordanian F-16 pilot was burned alive in a cage by ISIS in Syria, and the execution video went viral. Let’s just say the king was not pleased, and was allegedly willing to both quote as well as become the Jordanian version of Clint Eastwood in “The Unforgiven,” where Eastwood’s character was ready to “burn his d- - n house down!” The “his” was in reference to ISIS, wherever Abdullah found them being their dastardly selves.
Interestingly, what has happened since 2006 between Israel and Jordan appears to be the realization of Abdullah’s daughter’s dream, and while they don’t advertise it, both nations have been involved with the U.S. in what are called Red Flag training exercises held in, wait for it… Alaska. What is significant about this shows up in the sheer logistics of getting to Seward’s Folly, as it took Israeli Air Force tankers to re-fuel both IAF and JAF fighter planes on their way from the Great Sandbox to the Great Ice Box.
This is a big deal, as the level of trust as well as the technological compatibility and familiarity to re-fuel over the sea demonstrates that Jordan and Israel have entered into something far more intimate than “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” And, well they should, as they now have common enemies in the form of Syria and Iran. Israel hosts a similar war games training event which is called Blue Flag, and while it is strongly intimated that Jordan has shown up there, if only for observational purposes, both Israel and Jordan have declined to comment as to whether that’s true.
We do know this, however. Israel has demonstrated to both Syria and Iran that its USA red-white-and-blue-made F-35s have been able to penetrate both Iranian and Syrian airspace completely undetected and make it back to “tell the tale” in a whisper. There is great speculation as to what Israel’s plans are, but air defense magazines theorize that such moves are necessary the closer Iran gets to going nuke, and Israel and very possibly Jordan have to act defensively against Iran, Syria, or both. Iran’s covert ops in Jordan have been exposed and denounced. Iran’s threats against Israel would fill an old NYC phone book. The threat against Israel’s very existence, whether it is from ISIS or Iran, has forged a fascinating alliance, and my spidey-sense tells me that this is much more than the aforementioned “enemy-enemy-friend” scenario. Stay tuned, my friends, as there is a new sheriff in town, and his name is John Bolton, our new National Security Advisor. He was a Churchillian crier against the Iran deal, and he just might make it easier for Israel and Jordan to be friends publically. That would surely do for the red, white and blue.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner