Jordanian Interior Minister to CNN’s Becky Anderson: “This is our war – not the West’s war.”
Speaking to CNN’s Becky Anderson (@beckycnn) in Amman, Jordanian Interior Minister Hussein Majali says the war against ISIS is “our war – not the West’s.”
“We look at ourselves as principals in this coalition. This is our war. This is not the West’s war. We are the spearhead of this war.”
Majali continues: “His Majesty – in his latest visit just a few days ago to the States – I think he was promised extra assistance on military hardware, which will make our forces more effective and more sustained.”
On whether he’s satisfied by support from the U.S. and other allies:
“We are extremely satisfied. The United States have gone the extra mile for Jordan.”
On ISIS claim that Jordanian airstrikes killed an American hostage:
“This is another PR stunt by ISIS. They tried to cause problems internally in Jordan and haven’t succeeded. They are now trying to drive a wedge between the coalition with this latest low PR stunt.”
BECKY ANDERSON, ANCHOR, ‘CONNECT THE WORLD’: Joining me now is Jordan’s Interior Minister, Hussein Majali. If this is just the start — sir, please join me — what happens next?
HUSSEIN MAJALI, JORDANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER: Well, as you’ve stated, it is just the start. And those forces of darkness, forces of evil, they probably use the torch and they’ve used some kerosene, but as far as we’re concerned, we’ve just opened up the gates of hell on them. And they haven’t seen the best of it yet.
And there will be combined operations. There will be security operations. And we will not stop till this forces — these forces of darkness are eradicated completely.
ANDERSON: Are you satisfied that you have the support the regional allies and what you need from the United States at this point?
MAJALI: We are extremely satisfied. The United States have gone the extra mile for Jordan. We look at this coalition — we look at ourselves as principals in this collation. This our war. This is not the West’s war. We are the spearhead of this war and His Majesty in his latest visit just a few days ago to the States, I think he was promised extra assistance on military hardware, which will make our forces more effective and more sustained.
ANDERSON: How significant has this week been for Jordan?
MAJALI: I believe this is — every crisis, we discover ourselves. We’re united; we’re one voice; we’re rallying around His Majesty the King, whom we look at as a guardian, as a father. It’s not a joke. He’s our father, he’s our guar — he’s our linchpin. And we’ve given him a carte blanche in order to stop them.
ANDERSON: With respect, I hear from Jordanians that they are united in mourning the very brutal death of the young pilot. But not everybody’s on board with this effort by Jordan. When you talk about eradicating this group, surely you need the will of the people? And people tell me this is America’s war, not Jordan’s war.
MAJALI: I’ll repeat again: this is definitely not the U.S.’s war. This is definitely our war.
And I would tell you, we have joined and we’ve given a carte blanche to His Majesty the King and to our armed forces. Not only united in mourning, we’re united in action. This — I don’t want to equate ourselves with this evil force. But we will revenge for our pilot.
ANDERSON: There is certainly a sense of people, as I say, being united over what was this brutal death. I wonder how long you think this public support, though, will last, given that this was a disunited country ahead of this week.
And what needs to happen next? It feels like there is a window of opportunity here to get on with the job; but things take time, don’t they?
MAJALI: Oh, definitely takes time. First of all, Jordan was always united. Probably there were a couple of dissenting voices here and there, but the majority of Jordan — that’s your point of view; this is my point of view.
ANDERSON: It’s just when talking to people here and even sources at a high level.
MAJALI: That’s your right, and I mean, that’s very professional of you, to get things from both sides. But I believe, in my job, we do monitor, we do get the feedback of people. No, we are fully geared.
But, remember, this operation is not only a military operation/security operation. There is the war of ideology. This is going to be a very long war. We’ve got to fight this ideology, because you might eradicate them in the northern Syrian area and in some areas in Iraq, but the production line has got to also stop.
So you’ve got to visit schools, you’ve got to visit mosques, and programs and all that.
ANDERSON: But I’ve heard this rhetoric for a year now, this is how we go about annihilating ISIS, not just on a military front but on an ideological front.
ANDERSON: And yet the group continues with its propaganda; it continues to gain ground in areas. So I ask you again, what do you do? When you talk about annihilating or eradicating this group, how does that physically happen?
MAJALI: It will. If you notice the last 72 hours, there have been a lot of dissent in, within those groups. The brutal way they come across, people who came (ph) thinking truly that they are an Islamic nation, so to speak, and they are way too far away from that. And I think they’ve discovered that that’s not the case. Muslims don’t do that. People of the faith, whether Muslims, Christians, Jews, they don’t do that. This is way beyond — this is subhuman.
And what we’ve seen — what we’ve seen here, if anyone had middle ground knowing who is right and who is wrong, this event was a turning point. It’s a milestone in the defeat of these forces of darkness, not only by governments but by the public themselves, by the people.
ANDERSON: How concerned are you if this isn’t a job done quickly? That there is a festering problem on your borders and within your borders, that of refugees who’ve turn this perverted ideology because they’ve simply got nothing else at this point? I mean, you sit on the border with Syria and Iraq. Clearly, this is a problem for Jordan, but how long do you have and how big a problem is this internal extremist ideology? Be honest.
MAJALI: I’m being extremely honest. Internally, we can manage. But the problem is, as you stated, externally. That’s beyond our reach. We cannot play with the rules of the game in Syria or in Iraq, or any other place where these creatures are breeding. But I believe there is a will, there is a strategy, and we will continue. We keep going.
And this is where your first question, or second question came in, is we do need help to sustain this campaign, whether the military/security or the war of ideology.
You should have seen today, Friday noon prayers. There was an immense rally headed actually on the forefront, Her Majesty the Queen. This is a reflection to all people, and yesterday was also a testament. When people said His Majesty — or not His Majesty, they’ve said that some tribes in the south are not really with it or not. His Majesty, when he arrived to the condolences site, to pay condolences for the people, he was received as a hero. He was received by the family and he was taken in by the heart of every single person.
ANDERSON: This will continue.
MAJALI: This momentum will continue. Jordanians are very proud people. You can do whatever, but don’t insult our pride. And I tell you, a message for those forces of evil: wait. The best is yet to come.
ANDERSON: Thank you, sir.
MAJALI: Thank you so much.
ANDERSON: I know it’s been a very long week. Thank you —
MAJALI: Oh, it has been an extremely long week. Thank you.
ANDERSON: — for joining us here on CNN, the interior minister of Jordan.