King Abdullah. (photo credit:Reuters)Jordan's king Abdullah II described the fight against Islamic State as akin to a third world war last week.
“We have to stand up and say, ‘This is the line that is drawn in the sand,’” the king said in an interview that was broadcast on CBS’s This Morning on Friday, jpost.com reports.
“It’s clearly a fight between good and evil.”
“This is a Muslim problem. We need to take ownership of this. We need to stand up and say what is right and what is wrong,” Abdullah told CBS News’ Charlie Rose.
“I hope the short term part of it is going to be the military, the medium term is the security aspect of it. But the long term is going to be the ideological one,” the king said of defeating Islamic State.
The king also linked the Israeli- Palestinian conflict to extremists’ rise in the region, asserting, “You know, whether it’s true or not, that argument is still being used by the extremists.
And countries around the world realize that they have to solve the problem for their benefit.”
In a longer interview with Rose broadcast on Wednesday, Abdullah mentioned that an Islamic State recruit is offered about $1000 a month, which is similar to a colonel’s pay in the Jordanian army.
King Abdullah met with US President Barack Obama in Washington on Friday, and the two leaders discussed ways in which to overcome the Islamic State threat.
Obama and Abdullah made a show of solidarity against Islamic State, holding Oval Office talks that covered the gamut from Iran’s nuclear program to tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
The United States and its allies are making slow but steady progress in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Obama said, pledging more aid to Jordan to grapple with Syrian refugees.
“We recognize that it’s a longterm and extremely complex challenge, but it’s one that we feel optimistic we’ll be able to succeed at,” Obama said of the Islamic State battle, with Abdullah seated at his side.
Beyond the military challenge, they discussed some of Abdullah’s ideas about organizing within Islam a way to allow peaceful Muslims to over time “isolate and ultimately eradicate this strain” of the religion that has swept the region, Obama said.
Abdullah has absorbed into his country some 1.5 million refugees from Syria’s civil war.
To continue to deal with the challenge, Obama pledged $1 billion in aid and a new loan guarantee to help Jordan.
The White House talks also covered international efforts to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program, which Tehran denies is aimed at developing an atomic weapon. A deal eluded negotiators late last month, but the effort continues.
Obama said it was unclear whether Tehran would seize its chance for a deal in nuclear talks with Western powers.
“I briefed His Majesty about our negotiations with Iran, and indicated to him that we would prefer no deal to a bad deal, but that we continue to hold out the possibility that we can eliminate the risk of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Obama told reporters.