April 19, 2024 | FDD's Long War Journal

Iran and its network of militias threaten to destabilize Jordan

April 19, 2024 | FDD's Long War Journal

Iran and its network of militias threaten to destabilize Jordan

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 told Asharq al-Awsat.

Illicit smuggling by Iran-backed militias in Jordan is not the only threat facing the Hashemite Kingdom. Following Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack, Iranian-backed militias have attempted to carry out infiltration operations inside Jordan to support Palestinian terrorist groups.

“Iraqi militias loyal to Iran have tried, since last Oct. 7, to carry out infiltration operations across the Jordanian border with the goal of ‘popular mobilization’ to support the Palestinian resistance,” Asharq al-Awsat noted.

The Jordanian army thwarted the attempts when it conveyed threats to Iraqi militias active on its border with Iraq.

“However, the Jordanian army succeeded in foiling many of those attempts, directing ‘serious/credible threats’ which were delivered through official sources to bomb the Shiite masses which set up encampments for itself in the area of Trebil on the Iraqi side [of the border], which led to those militias withdrawing to a depth of more than 40 km within Iraqi borders,” Asharq al-Awsat reported.

Despite threats by the Jordanian Army, Hezbollah Brigades security official Abu al-Askary issued a warning on April 4, saying his organization can arm the “Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Jordan” to support Gaza. Askary added that if given the green light from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the group would cut “off the land route that reaches the Zionist entity.”

While it may seem at first glance that Askary’s threats are solely directed towards Israel, the warning extends beyond one country. Despite the lack of an officially recognized Islamic Resistance in Jordan, the potential establishment of a militia aligned with Iran in the kingdom could have profound implications for its security. It is important to note that Iran has a well-documented history of supporting a network of clients on Israel’s borders to foment violence and create an active front against the Jewish state. A militia supported by Iran in Jordan could not only incite violence against Israel but also create a challenging geopolitical dilemma in the region. Worse yet, there is a risk the militia could eventually turn its weapons against the kingdom.

Joe Truzman is a senior research analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.


Arab Politics Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Jordan Military and Political Power