King Abdullah II restructures Jordanian army replaces head of military

King Abdullah II of Jordan wrote several royal decrees in the form of 3 letters this week, replacing the Chief of the army in addition to an order to restructure the Jordanian army, citing increased terrorism threats as a justification.

A royal decree was first issued on Sunday appointing Major General Mahmoud Freihat as the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to Jordan’s state-run Petra News Agency. This first letter also included specific requests from the King to “modernize and advance” the country’s armed forces by restructuring the General Command, increasing levels of coordination between security agencies, upgrading the capabilities of the border guards, and more, the agency noted.

The Jordan Times reported on the royal decrees as well.

Repeatedly throughout the letter, Abdullah II makes references to terrorism stating that, “the war on terror is foremost our war”. He further says that Jordan must confront it on various levels.

The King’s second letter was to the outgoing chairman and military advisor, General Mashal Al Zaben, instructing him to retire to a new position. This letter praises Zaben’s extensive military service and devotion to the country.

A third letter, this time written by Freihat, was in response to the King’s letters. The new Chairman pledged to fulfill the royal orders requested of him.

The reforms come at an important time for Jordan. Jordan is currently holding at least 70,000 refugees near the border with Syria, citing security concerns. In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, King Abdullah II discussed the aforementioned refugee issue as well as frustration with Western allies.

Further, there have been several attacks on Jordanian security forces from militants believed to be inspired by Daesh/Islamic State. However, no major attacks have occurred since the Amman hotel bombings of 2005.