Jordan Frees Al Qaida Spiritual Advisor

When we last left off with Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (spiritual mentor to Al Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, bio here), he had just been jailed in Jordan for communicating with terrorists while working with U.S. lawyer Stanley Cohen to negotiate with Maqdisi's enemy ISIS to free Peter Kassig. The F.B.I. was aware of the effort, and paid for Cohen and his translator's travel. (Cohen began serving his own federal prison sentence on tax charges this month.)

Today Jordan confirmed it released Maqdisi two days ago. [More...]

Maqdisi says he worked from behind bars to free the Jordanian pilot for a month, trying to bring about a hostage exchange with the al Qaida failed suicide bomber since executed by Jordan(although he also claims he learned early on he was already dead.)

Why did Jordan release him? Analysts say the likely reason is it wants him to keep criticizing ISIS. A Jordanian TV station is promoting an interview that will air with Maqdisi Friday morning, in which he touts his efforts to save the pilot and denounces ISIS.

What kind of message is Jordan sending? If it's going to fight terrorism, it shouldn't play favorites. Al Qaida (and its Syrian arm Jabhat al Nusra) is no less brutal than ISIS. Al Qaida has always encouraged Westerners to launch attacks in their home countries. The so-called Khorasan Group is part of al Qaida, not ISIS.

When Maqdisi tried to save an American, Jordan jailed him at a critical point in the negotiations for communicating with his ISIS counterpart. But now that he tried (and failed) to save a Jordanian, he gets freed?

Cohen claimed Jordan gave the U.S. assurances Maqdisi wouldn't be arrested for attempting the Kassig release. Cohen says it was Maqdisi's arrest that torpedoed the Kassig negotiations and resulted in his being killed.

Cohen is still angry about the way the negotiations ran aground. He wants to know why the protocol he’d established was violated by the Jordanians, and why the US government failed to intervene at a crucial moment to get Maqdisi released from custody – why the US wasn’t able to get Jordan and Kuwait to cooperate to save an American citizen.

Al Qaida loyalists are already celebrating Maqdisi's release. Also, Maqdisi has long been an enemy of the West:

Maqdisi's animosity for the West and the US is clear. On Sept. 30, 2014, he and other jihadist thinkers released a proposal calling for a ceasefire between the warring factions in Syria. Their main argument was that the Islamic State, Al Nusrah and other groups had a common enemy in the "Crusaders." The US-led coalition began bombing Syria one week earlier. The proposed ceasefire appears to have been rejected by the Islamic State.

The U.S. is seeking to increase financial aid to Jordan for fighting ISIS. Why, when Jordan is willing to act at cross-purposes by tolerating al Qaida as evident from its release of one of its most ardent ideologues?

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  • Display: Sort:
    What is happening is exactly what you lobbied for (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 07:11:23 AM EST
    It is what Manning said would happen too under established ISIS governance.  ISIS is so nuts, so toxic, it will implode in the Middle East.  I don't know why anyone thought that was going to be pleasant to watch.  I suppose because it was only words vs what that reality would be on the ground.

    What is NOT going to happen is that ISIS disappears in a child magic show style.

    According to the (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 06:44:10 PM EST
    NYTimes, President Obama tells King Abdullah that the US supports Jordan.

    Jordan supports al Qaida

    If A = B, and B = C, then A = C and we are in one sorry mess.