Enforcing security and stability and controlling international borders in unstable regions are never achieved by luck. Jordan’s location places it on the front lines in the war against Daesh, an enemy that has no principles and shows no remorse for shedding innocent blood.
The role of leaders is essential to maintaining the high morale, loyalty and tenacity of troops. So when Jordan needed a commander to lead its elite forces, it demanded a man with nerves of steel and strategic foresight. That man is Brig. Gen. Adnan Al-Abbadi of the Joint Special Operations Command.
Gen. Adnan began his military career in 1983 and scaled the leadership ladder, serving as an officer in Jordan’s 71st Counter Terrorism Battalion, considered one of the nation’s most advanced units. He graduated with honors from Jordan’s War College.
After being deployed to command the first Jordanian special operations unit in Afghanistan and staying there for seven months, he attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. That advanced training helped him ascend to command the 71st Battalion.
Gen. Adnan considers himself blessed that His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein is not only Jordan’s civilian leader but one of the nation’s leading military figures.
“My military idol is His Majesty King Abdullah II. He was the commander of Jordanian special operation forces from 1996 to 1999, when I served as an officer in the 71st Battalion. Before that, I was an intelligence officer in the 101st Special Forces Group, and we were in constant communications with His Majesty, as he was our commander,” the general said.
“His Majesty has a sharp military mind, and we learned patience, tolerance and humility from him. He inspired us to adopt his leadership values. We are honored that His Majesty left his position as special forces commander to become king of Jordan.”
King Abdullah has retained a place in his heart for special forces, personally overseeing the progress these elite troops are making in the field. Gen. Adnan and his colleagues are gratified by the attention they receive.
“Since I became the commander of special operations in July 2015, I have been blessed with four visits by the king,” he said. “These visits boost our morale and make us proud. He personally discusses security challenges in the region, reviews our plans and exchanges ideas.”
Gen. Adnan believes that defeating terrorists requires multiple efforts that transcend special forces, encompassing conventional military units, the civilian security sector, allied forces and society at large.
He believes it is the duty of every Muslim nation to develop plans to counter extremist ideology, clarifying the true nature of Islam to deprive Daesh of recruits misled by its lies.
“We are not working on the military objectives only; we are working on social media to educate the youth and counter extremism through a national plan,” he said. “Modern war no longer uses only conventional forces and weapons. This is a new kind of war that deals with ideology. There is a race between good and evil to win the hearts of the populace.”
This new kind of war also requires international partnerships united against terrorism, the general said. His dream is to create a global network of special operations troops that share the same doctrine and training. They would operate together not just during training exercises but on the battlefield as well. Key to that effort is a system of information sharing.
“As we all know, terrorist organizations across the world share ideology and enjoy cooperation and support among themselves. When evil unites, good must unite to defeat it. Our goal is to bind all efforts of the world’s special operations forces to work in the same direction to set back terrorism,” Gen. Adnan said.
The most pressing concern of Jordanian forces is guarding the kingdom, particularly the volatile northern border it shares with Syria. The general quoted King Abdullah’s concern about the need for special forces to play both a strategic and tactical role in areas favored by terrorists.
“I have units stationed there and work daily with border forces. We help our brothers, the Syrian refugees, as they cross the border and head toward the refugee camps. At the same time we act as a rapid response force and engage the smugglers and drug traffickers who attempt to cross our borders,” the general said.
“We also have an emergency unit ready to deploy, whether it’s defending the integrity of the kingdom or deploying anywhere in the world where our leadership identifies a target that’s essential for our security and interests.”