Jordan’s military has promised an “earth-shattering” response against ISIS after the group released a video of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbe being burned alive.
There are already unconfirmed reports that Jordan has carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Mosul. Beyond airstrikes, Jordan could further contribute to the fight against ISIS through the use of their extremely effective Special Forces units.
Jordan’s Special Forces, grouped under Jordan’s own Joint Special Operations Command, is 14,000 strong and is one of the most effective fighting and intelligence forces in the region. Jordanian Special Forces frequently train alongside US forces.
Meanwhile, Jordan itself is a global center for Special Forces training operations. Jordan’s King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) is the centrepiece of the country’s Special Operations capabilities and is routinely used by other countries around the world.
The facility, which can be used for anything from simulated airline hijackings to close-quarter fighting and K9 integration exercises, also plays host to the annual Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference.
This focus reflects King Abdullah’s own past assignment within the nation’s Special Forces and his certification as a Cobra pilot. In 1996, alongside US help, Abdullah began the reorganization of the country’s Special Forces into a more modern force.
Formed in 1963, the Jordanian Special Forces have been trained to conduct reconnaissance, combat, and counter-terrorism operations.
One of the Jordanian Special Forces’ chief duties is guarding Jordan’s national borders. This mission took on increased importance following mounting instability in Iraq after 2006.
The potential for violent spillover from Iraq and Syria has caused the Special Forces to put increased emphasis on counter-terrorism operations. Here, service members conduct a mock anti-hijacking operation.
Jordanian forces have also trained alongside the US for anti-hijacking missions.
Most of Jordan is a dry desert, but the Special Forces train in all manner of environments. Here, Special Forces train to carry out a water-borne assault.
Jordan’s Special Forces have also benefitted from actual combat experience, including multiple deployments to Afghanistan.
Aside from military capabilities, Jordanian Special Forces have proven to be adept at intelligence gathering. Internal stability and terrorism have turned into major concerns for the Jordanian monarchy.
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