April 18, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iran Attempts to Destabilize Jordan

April 18, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iran Attempts to Destabilize Jordan

Latest Developments

Iran has sought to leverage its militias and proxies, including Lebanese Hezbollah, to destabilize Jordan, reported the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on April 16. There are “intensive Iranian efforts to target security in the kingdom over the last few months,” an unnamed Jordanian source said. The report accused Iran-backed militias of engaging in arms and drugs trade along the Jordan-Syria border. 

Illicit smuggling by Iran-backed militias in Jordan is not the only threat facing the Hashemite Kingdom. Following Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attack, Iranian-backed militias have attempted to carry out infiltration operations inside Jordan to support Palestinian terrorist groups, Asharq al-Awsat noted. The Jordanian army thwarted these attempts when it conveyed “serious threats to shell” terrorist groups active on its border with Iraq, subsequently forcing militias to retreat 40 kilometers (about 24.85 mi) into Iraqi territory.

Separately, Iran threatened Jordan with retaliation if the Hashemite Kingdom intervened during the April 13 Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel. Despite the warning, Jordan’s cabinet stated that “objects” in its airspace were intercepted by the kingdom on the night of April 13.

Expert Analysis

“Iran has sought to increase its influence in the Kingdom of Jordan in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. It wants to exploit divisions in Jordan by using Iraqi-based militias that are supported by Iran. Tehran prefers that Jordan be destabilized so that Iran can then operate through Jordan to support Palestinian terrorist groups in the West Bank. In recent years, Iran has sought to traffic weapons to the West Bank and has worked with drug smugglers in Syria who have threatened Jordan. It is essential that Iran’s attempts to destabilize the kingdom be prevented as part of a wider effort against Iran’s increasing support for terrorist groups in the region.” Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

It has been a tried-and-true practice for Iran to identify potential areas in the region to exploit. Through its militias in Iraq, Iran is attempting to undermine the ruling authority in the Hashemite Kingdom by threatening to arm Jordanians to aid Palestinian terrorist groups. Make no mistake, those weapons will eventually be turned on the kingdom, posing a significant threat to its stability.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Iraqi Militia Threatens to Arm Jordanians for Attacks Against Israel

On April 1, Iran-backed Iraqi militia Kata’ib Hezbollah threatened to retaliate against Israel for its airstrikes in Damascus and its operations in Gaza. Abu al-Askari, the spokesperson for Kata’ib Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, attributed the deaths of two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) generals and five other officers in Syria to a “Zionist-American attack.”

Al-Askari said that the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, an umbrella organization for Iranian proxy militias, can arm 12,000 members of the “Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Jordan” with “light and medium weapons, anti-armor launchers, tactical missiles, millions [of rounds] of ammunition, and tons of explosives.” These arms would be used “in the defense of our Palestinian brothers” and “revenge for the honor of Muslims” killed by Israel, al-Askari said. The spokesman also discussed the prospect of “cutting off” the land border between Jordan and Israel as soon as the group receives approval from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Iraqi Militia Threatens to Arm Jordanians for Attacks Against Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Sidestepping Tensions With Israel, Jordan Helps Repel Iran With U.S.-Led Coalition,” FDD Flash Brief

Jordanian Activists Demand End to Peace With Israel,” FDD Flash Brief


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