The five countries where the U.S. has involved itself the most militarily — Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Afghanistan — are failed states that account for 55 percent all deaths caused by radical Islamist terror in the world.
ISIS filled the vacuum in Iraq and Syria created by a lack of effective governance.
Libya became a rat's nest of extremism after NATO helped depose dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and it now exports weapons, jihadists and ideology to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Iran are currently fighting a deadly proxy war in Yemen. (Afghanistan never had a functioning central administration.)
Jordan could potentially be next.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) will soon release an analysis on trends in global Islamist terror that finds relatively stable regimes in the Middle East — Jordan prominently among them — that will face increasing pressure from jihadists who will threaten their ability to provide security, stability and an effective governing authority.
On Wednesday Jordan security forces killed seven radical Islamists linked to ISIS in an eight-hour raid. The campaign in Irbid, located 12 to 13 miles from the Syrian border, resulted in the death of one Jordanian security officer and injuries to four others.
Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate (GID) said that the raid foiled attacks plotted by ISIS to blow up civilian and military targets in the country. A statement posted by the government on its official news website Petra said that the terrorists were carrying suicide belts in their hideout.
Other weapons and explosives were found as well.
The GID also said that 13 people linked to the cell were detained in earlier offensives in Irbid.
Tweets from ISIS supporters around the time of the security operation indicate, however, that the Islamist terror organization is not done there, a concern shared by the IPT.
"Irbid# will be liberated. The north# of Jordan will return to the land of the Caliphate. Support, oh partisans, to reach more followers," the tweet from @abomojahed41 reads.
Tweeted @Dr_HBoterbeel: "If the Bitar Battalion of the army of the Islamic State# were to come in against Irbid#, it would make Abdul Injaliz [Slave of the English, instead of Abdullah, slave of God] drown in blood with His permission. Him and his scattering army. May God grant life to the Mujahid rebelling people."
The IPT in its upcoming report predicts that the Middle East will experience increasing instability not only in Jordan, but in Turkey and Saudi Arabia as a consequence of regional violence spilling over its borders.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia will likely survive, but they are facing suffocating pressure.
Turkish security forces prevented 18 suicide attacks since the start of 2016. A car packed with explosives killed 29 people – most of them soldiers – in Ankara in February. Yemeni rebels have murdered or captured hundreds of Saudi soldiers in cross-border clashes.
Ground taken and controlled by ISIS provides bases for planning and preparing attacks throughout the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Genocide against religious minorities is causing untold suffering. It is also prompting millions of refugees to overwhelm the region and Europe.
Jordan is currently hosting more than 1 million refugees, in a country of 8.1 million, who have fled the fighting and savagery occurring in neighboring nations. The cost of housing Syrian refuges alone could cost as much $4.2 billion in 2016, the country warns.
Jordan is not sitting back, however. It is part of a U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It conducted airstrikes against ISIS in Syria in 2014 and has cracked down on suspected sympathizers inside the kingdom.
King Abdullah became personally involved in flying sorties against ISIS positions in response to the immolation of al-Kasabeh.
It has unfortunately not diminished the threat.
This disturbing trend of radical Islam's growth in lethality and scope will continue, the IPT fears, until the West develops effective, broad-based strategies for containing and defeating it.