The King of Jordan Is Personally Leading Combat Missions Against ISIS?

News: The King of Jordan is rumored to be personally leading airstrikes against ISIS.

On 4 February 2015, Western media reports began to circulate claiming Jordan’s King Abdullah II planned an exceptionally hands-on response to the brutal execution of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh at the hands of Islamic State militants. According to the rumors, the King planned to retaliate for the pilot’s killing by personally leading airstrikes against ISIS.

One such claim, in part referencing “social media reports,” was published on Breitbart:



Jordan’s King Abdullah is reportedly personally involved in executing air strikes against Islamic State positions in the aftermath of the terrorist group’s brutal execution of Jordanian pilot 1st Lt. Moaz Kasasbeh.

Shafaqna news and Iraqinews.com claimed to have confirmed with their sources that King Abdullah is personally involved in conducting the air strikes. What remains unclear is whether Abdullah is personally suiting up and flying a plane, or instead commanding units involved in the mission.

“The Jordanian King Abdullah II will participate personally on Thursday in conducting air strikes against the shelters of the terrorist ISIL organization to revenge the execution of the Jordanian pilot [Kasasbeh] by the ISIL,” said the IraqiNews report.


The rumors appeared to spring in part from an image posted to the official Facebook page of the Royal Hashemite Court on 3 February 2015. The photograph in question depicted the King clad in combat attire, and its translated caption read:


His Majesty King Abdullah II, The Supreme Commander of Jordanian Armed Forces, cuts his visit to the United States of America after the martyrdom of Muath Al Kasasbeh.



 

Not long afterwards, that image was circulated as proof King Abdullah II was literally taking part in combat missions against ISIS operatives:

It is true upon his return from the U.S., the King declared his intent to retaliate against Islamic State militants:



After a meeting with security chiefs, AFP news agency quoted him as saying in a statement: “The blood of martyr Moaz al-Kasasbeh will not be in vain and the response of Jordan and its army after what happened to our dear son will be severe.”

Meanwhile government spokesman Mohamed al-Momani said a collaborative effort was needed between members of the US-led coalition to “undermine, degrade and eventually finish [Islamic State]”.

“This evil can and should be defeated,” he said, adding that Jordan was “more determined than ever” to fight the militant group.


However, the prominent Arabic newspaper Al-Shorouk reported on 5 February a spokesman for the Jordanian king called the rumors “baseless,” something Al Arabiya also confirmed:



Meanwhile, a Jordanian government official told Al Arabiya News that King Abdullah was not flying missions against ISIS himself, after local media reports — also taken by some international outlets — indicated he is set to do so.

The official also noted that observers should refrain from calling King Abdullah a fighter pilot as he does not officially hold the title. He is, however, the commander-in-chief of the Jordanian Air Force.

The king is a trained combatant, part of the parachute brigade and flies civilian planes and helicopters, the official added.


While Jordan’s King Abdullah II explicitly vowed revenge against Islamic State upon his return from the U.S., the monarch is not planning to lead any retaliatory strikes in person.

Last updated:   5 February 2015