May 3rd, 2015
01:39 PM ET

King Abdullah: "what we ask is other religions and societies across the world, stand with us. "

CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with King Abdullah of Jordan. King Abdullah spoke with Fareed Zakaria in his first interview since ISIS released the video documenting the murder of the Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, Lieutenant Moath al-Kasasbeh.


TEXT EXCERPTS

King Abdullah on ISIS ideology: “Ideologically, they represent one percent of Sunni Islam, and we should not be - we should not be victimized because of this one percent. They will - false prophets always fail. True Islam will always succeed. But we cannot be victimized as the enemy by the rest of the international community. So what we ask is other religions and societies across the world, stand with us. Stand with the good Muslims that are out there fighting this fight. Be part of our partners against this issue. And we will be victorious.”

King Abdullah on military force against ISIS: ” the underlying issues is how the Kurds are properly supported. Because that is going to be very, very critical. How do we all reach out to the Sunnis to feel that there is a future for them, and that they are not alone? And if we do not solve the puzzle of a future, political future for the Sunnis in Iraq, then they're sitting there saying, Baghdad and ISIS - what's the difference?”

King Abdullah on whether the ISIS fighting troops are good on the battlefield: “...tactically what they do...they're basically the cannon fodder....they're considered sort of the light shock troops. They are the suicide bombers, whether by vehicles or by cars. And they are the expendables....And then the heavy infantry, which is the hard core ISIS, are the ones that then exploit their positions. So they have an abundance of these throwaway jihadists, and that's the sad part about it. And then any foreign fighter that comes into Syria that suddenly realizes that this is not what they signed up for get executed.”

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: Many of you tuned in last Monday hoping to see our new special on ISIS, only to find out it had been pre-empted for breaking news. We heard from a lot of disappointed viewers, but we have good news. The special, which is called "Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World," has been re-scheduled for Monday, May 11th at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

Given the great interest in understanding ISIS, that will be the topic of today's main event. As many of you will remember, I traveled to Jordan recently to interview that nation's king, Abdullah the Second. We did a special section of that interview on the ISIS threat - where it came from, how it surprised so many, how it will end. This has never aired before, but I wanted to show it to you now.

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ZAKARIA: Your Majesty, thank you so much for joining us.

KING ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN: Great to be here, Fareed. Thank you.

ZAKARIA: How did ISIS come about? What - in your mind, where did this come from?

ABDULLAH: That's the million dollar question. I mean, there's a lot of conspiracy theories out there. I –there is no set answer. From the Jordanian perspective, we saw ISIS several - almost two years ago, formed out of Raqqa in the north, which is their major headquarters.

And what was interesting is, as they were forming and being built and strengthened, they were not being hit. The regime, the Syrian regime, was hitting everybody else, but not ISIS. And that raised a lot of eyebrows - you know, why were they allowed to build?

Well, one argument was obviously because there was such international condemnation of the regime, let's get somebody out there that's worse, from the regime point of view, so that you can swing public opinion back towards Bashar. And they've been very successful in doing that. Because today if you ask, I think, everybody in the region, who's worse - the regime or ISIS? - I think a lot of people will point the finger at ISIS.

ZAKARIA: You're a military man. Are they good on the battlefield?

ABDULLAH: Well, you know, tactically what they do, and this is the sad part about it, is a lot of young, frustrated, and deluded Muslims around the world - you know, a lot of them from poverty backgrounds that believe into this false claim of this Islamic caliphate that has no relationship in our Islamic history, and believe the mantra that these people have - that come to Syria and to Iraq to fight the war. And they're basically the cannon fodder.

And so what happens is they're considered sort of the light shock troops. They are the suicide bombers, whether by vehicles or by cars. And they are the expendables. And so the tactics are is you've got these light troops that come in as the first wave, blowing themselves up either by vehicles or by blowing themselves up against the more regular troops that everybody else has.
And then the heavy infantry, which is the hard core ISIS, are the ones that then exploit their positions. So they have an abundance of these throwaway jihadists, and that's the sad part about it. And then any foreign fighter that comes into Syria that suddenly realizes that this is not what they signed up for get executed.

We heard, for example, that when our brave pilot was executed there were some Syrians and some jihadists that sort of said, look, this is wrong. They were executed on the spot. So anybody who says this is not right is not tolerated.

ZAKARIA: So how does this all end with ISIS?

ABDULLAH: Well, from the military tactical perspective, you’ll watch how the offensives develop inside of Iraq. But again, the underlying issues is how the Kurds are properly supported. Because that is going to be very, very critical. How do we all reach out to the Sunnis to feel that there is a future for them, and that they are not alone? And if we do not solve the puzzle of a future, political future for the Sunnis in Iraq, then they're sitting there saying, Baghdad and ISIS - what's the difference?

So I think the key is that unless we can unravel the future of a Sunni or a Sunni-stan as part of the future of Iraq, then the Iraqi puzzle will never be done. And I hope that our friends especially in the United States understand that crucial part.

From Syria, again, is how we reach out the Syrian tribes, and I think that this is the beginning of the end of ISIS in Syria - in Syria and Iraq. So I'm seeing that their heyday is behind them. It's not something that's going to happen overnight. But I think that their best days are behind them.

But again, the holistic approach. I mean, look at Egypt. The support for Egypt is tremendously important because they have the problems in the Sinai. The next elephant in the room, the big elephant in the room that nobody is really concentrating upon is Libya. And this is where Egypt plays a very vital role. And then Boko Haram and Shabab. Holistically, we have to figure out how to tactically and strategically, as part of the international community, deal with these issues, as well as the groups out in Asia.

If we don't do it that way, we can't just say, ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Then 2016, look at Sinai and Libya, and then 2017, start thinking about Africa. It has to have a holistic strategy in 2015.

ZAKARIA: Final, final question. Ideologically, they can be defeated?

ABDULLAH: Ideologically, they represent one percent of Sunni Islam, and we should not be - we should not be victimized because of this one percent. They will - false prophets always fail. True Islam will always succeed. But we cannot be victimized as the enemy by the rest of the international community.

So what we ask is other religions and societies across the world, stand with us. Stand with the good Muslims that are out there fighting this fight. Be part of our partners against this issue. And we will be victorious.

But we all have to come together. This is a generational fight. This is a third World War by other means. And we will only victorious if all of us put our differences aside. Move away from hate speech and move away from falling into the trap that the extremist wants by asking all of you to fall into the trap of giving them more power than they deserve.

ZAKARIA: Your Majesty, pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.


Topics: Fareed Zakaria • Fareed Zakaria GPS • Iraq • ISIS
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