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Preparing for after Raqqa

May 07,2017 - Last updated at May 07,2017

As the battle to liberate Raqqa inches closer to an end, the growing instability in the south of Syria underlines the need for Jordan to prepare for the consequences.

One of those likely consequences is Daesh regrouping and rebasing in the border regions.

Any Daesh presence on the border represents a clear threat for Jordan.

There is no apparent strategy for protecting the south of Syria amongst allies.

The US presence is currently focused on Raqqa and the surrounding areas, with the objective of reaching stabilisation in the first stage.

However, the unintended consequence of this renewed US presence could be a new wave of escalation. Any such result will have a direct impact on the security of Jordan’s borders.

Jordan currently faces multidimensional risks.

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq pose a real threat to the border regions.

Jordan is in the middle of the global red zone of terrorism. However, the security establishment must also keep in mind that the threats are also internal.

There are, undoubtedly, dormant terrorist cells in Jordan. The threat of these cells greatly increases as Daesh is routed.

Dormant cells will activate to prove that the terrorist organisation is still operating, capable of successful attacks and of expanding its territory.

We can expect to see a transformation in Daesh to a more decentralised model as its assets and people are isolated and separated.

It is important to understand the recent US strike in Syria as political rather than operational.

The target, location, style of attack and the fact that the US informed the Russians of the attack prove that the US was sending a message regarding its new position in Syria.

Direct US military action represents a significant shift in its role and in the nature of the conflict itself.

US allies, including Jordan, must be mindful of this development and respond accordingly.

Jordan’s focus should be to prevent border attacks and maintain stability in the border regions.

We need greater cooperation between our intelligence and military, and a strategy that uses local proxies to fight Daesh on Syrian soil, avoiding sending troops on the ground.

While we may not see sophisticated attacks in Jordan, traditional and disorganised insurgency still presents a threat.

We must enhance the capacity of our security forces and dedicate greater effort to securing sensitive areas and inhibiting the growth of local terrorists. 

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