As the United States prepares to intensify airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, the Arab allies who with great fanfare sent warplanes on the initial missions there a year ago have largely vanished from the campaign.If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance you have problems with America's deepening military involvement in this campaign. But I'm thinking back to last February, when the "grisly execution" cited above took place: a downed Jordan pilot was locked in cage and burned alive on video. With great fanfare, the king of Jordan vowed revenge -- and conservative America decided that the king was the warrior President Obama refused to be.
... the air campaign has evolved into a largely American effort.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have shifted most of their aircraft to their fight against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Jordan, reacting to the grisly execution of one of its pilots by the Islamic State, and in a show of solidarity with the Saudis, has also diverted combat flights to Yemen. Jets from Bahrain last struck targets in Syria in February, coalition officials said. Qatar is flying patrols over Syria, but its role has been modest.
* New York Post editorial board, February 5, 2015:
Finally there’s a world leader who knows how to stand up to radical Islamists. Too bad it’s the king of Jordan and not the president of the United States.* Cristina Corbin, FoxNews.com, February 5, 2015:
After the Islamic State released a video showing the gruesome burning to death of a Jordanian pilot, King Abdullah cut short a visit to Washington and returned to Jordan -- and executed two ISIS terrorists.
The king promises a “relentless” war against the al Qaeda offshoot because he understands these are not men much impressed by Nobel Prizes or lofty speeches.
Jordan's King Abdullah is a former general and special forces commander who experts say has the resolve to follow through on his vow to crush ISIS.* Todd Starnes, Fox Nation, February 5, 2015:
Following the release of a ghastly video showing a captured Jordanian air force pilot being burned to death, the 53-year-old monarch warned that retribution will be swift. And with an army of more than 100,000 well-trained soldiers, tens of thousands more in reserves and a capable air force, Abdullah's kingdom is more than up to the task, Middle East experts told FoxNews.com.
"Their ability to do difficult things with small numbers of highly trained people is up there with some of the best militaries in the world," Jon Alterman, director of the Center for Strategic & International Studies' Middle East Program, said of Jordan's military.
"The king is very serious about being a military guy," Alterman said. "For much of his life, he thought he was going to be a special forces commander and for some time he was."
"He didn’t do that from the back of chauffeured cars. He did that from Black Hawk helicopters and command posts at the site of terrorist raids," he noted. "The military is what gets him excited."
Abdullah Fights ISIS on the Battlefield, Obama Fights ISIS on the Golf Course* CBSDC/AP, February 19, 2015:
King Abdullah is going full beast mode on the Islamic State. The king cut short a visit to the White House so he could return to Jordan and personally lead the effort to fight the Islamist savages....
He was visiting our capitol when the video was released – the video that showed a Jordanian pilot burned alive in a cage – surrounded by ISIS.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill say the king was extraordinarily angry after watching that video. He warning that retribution will be swift.
Congressman Duncan Hunter told the Washington Examiner that the king quoted from Unforgiven - the Clint Eastwood movie.
The excellent writer Byron York noted there is a scene in the picture in which Eastwood's character says, "Any man I see out there, I'm gonna kill him. Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only going to kill him, I'm going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down."
The contrast in leadership is striking.
When the Islamic State murdered a Jordanian - King Abdullah prepared for war.
When the Islamic State murdered an American - President Obama played golf.
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley would like to see President Barack Obama act like Jordan’s King Abdullah II when dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.* Jordan Schachtel, Breitbart, February 4, 2015:
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, the TNT analyst was asked who he would like to meet today and he answered with the Jordanian king. When asked why, Barkley said it was the actions he took in response to ISIS burning alive captured Jordanian pilot Muath Al-Kaseasbeh on video.
“Because I think his actions when they burned that kid alive, I thought his actions were heroic. He was like, ‘No, you cannot do that to my people.’ I wish President Obama was like that sometimes. I do. I think that is the way we have to treat ISIS,” Barkley told Sports Illustrated. “We can’t keep thinking it will go away. I thought it was heroic what Abdullah did.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah is reportedly personally involved in executing air strikes against Islamic State positions in the aftermath of the terrorist group’s brutal execution of Jordanian pilot 1st Lt. Moaz Kasasbeh.* Evan McMurry, Mediaite, February 5, 2015:
Shafaqna news and Iraqinews.com claimed to have confirmed with their sources that King Abdullah is personally involved in conducting the air strikes. What remains unclear is whether Abdullah is personally suiting up and flying a plane, or instead commanding units involved in the mission....
Jordanian Author Waleed Abu Nada Tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, “Local reports here in Jordan say that King Abdullah will personally fly and lead the airstrikes against ISIS tomorrow.”
Fox & Friends got very excited Thursday morning over rumors, which they credited to Jordanian TV, that King Abdullah of Jordan had potentially participated in retaliatory airstrikes against ISIS after the immolation death of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh.But as McMurry reported, rumors that Abdullah was personally flying airstrikes weren't true, as even Fox's Doocy went on to acknowledge (reluctantly):
“What a statement that would make,” Steve Doocy said.
“He is stepping up with strong leadership and clarity,” Elisabeth Hasselbeck said. “What is our president doing?
Fox aired photos of of King Abdullah in flight gear, which had been making the rounds on Twitter since Wednesday evening....
The photos were eventually revealed to be from a video last year in which Abdullah took several young cancer patients on a flight. Doocy acknowledged the photos were old before adding, “But he is a pilot.”Doocy added, "What a statement that would make."
... Doocy quietly corrected he record at the end of the next segment. “By the way, I should point out we understand that so far the king has not taken part in any of the raids,” Doocy said. “But he may going forward."
But now we learn from the Times that Jordan hasn't conducted any airstrikes against ISIS in three months:
The United Arab Emirates last carried out strikes in Syria in March; Jordan in August; and Saudi Arabia in September, according to information provided by allied officials last week.Maybe King Abdullah is too busy playing golf. Politically correct golf. Using a Teleprompter.