January 30th, 2013
06:13 PM ET

King Abdullah: New Taliban likely to be in Syria

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed Zakaria speaks with King Abdullah II of Jordan about the future of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and radical Islamists in the region.

What would you like to see happen in Syria? You are facing an extraordinary crisis. And I think people need to remember you have now 300,000 refugees from Syria. You have just gone through a decade in which you took in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees. The Iraqis have just started going back, and you now have this new influx. Do you think that the fall of al-Assad will, in some way, end this crisis? Or will that launch the beginning of a larger Syrian civil war?

Well, the challenge that we have with the longer this conflict goes on, the more the country will implode. And so for the first time, again, there’s talk of is there going to be a fragmentation of Syria? The breakup into different smaller states, which I think would be catastrophic and something that we would be reeling from for decades to come? But the longer it goes on, the nastier it gets, the more complicated it gets. But at the same time, anybody who’s saying that Bashar’s regime has got weeks to live, really doesn’t know the reality on the ground. They still have capability. So I give them a strong showing, at least for the first half of 2013.

Why is it that the army has not gone to al-Assad and said, you have to leave?  In other words, there’s been relatively little defection at that highest level. Help us understand what the dynamic is that keeps the regime together.

Well, the regime was based on Alawite leadership that gives this a lot of its strength.  And, again, part of the problem is with some of the minorities, especially if you look at the Christians and the Druze. Part of the issue that we’ve been tackling over the past several plus years and a half is seeing this influx of radical fighters coming into the country. So if you’re a Druze or you’re a Christian, who is sitting on the side of the fence…and even certain Alawites are not happy with the way Bashar is dictating the future of his country. But the other alternative, radical Islamist groups coming…is more frightening. So I think that’s what’s kept them on the sidelines.

How much jihadi penetration into Syria do you sense?

Well, al Qaeda is established in Syria. They’ve been there for about a year. They are getting certain supplies of materiel, weapons and financing, unfortunately, from certain sectors. So they are a force to contend with. And even if we get the best government into Damascus tomorrow, we have at least two or three years of securing our borders from them coming across, and to clean them up. So, you know, Jordan is today and has been committed since three weeks into the Afghan campaign. We've been there for many, many years. But today, when we look at Jordanian troops deploying to Afghanistan, we’ve got to really think, because I think the new Taliban that we’re going to have to deal with is actually going to be in Syria.

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Topics: Middle East • Syria • Taliban

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. JAL

    I like Jordan and their King seems like a cool dude.

    January 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Yes, but his country is at the mercy of the rich and might Saudi Arabia. So Abdullah was cautious, when he said about the Al Qaeda in Syria, "They are getting certain supplies of materiel, weapons and financing, unfortunately, from certain sectors". From where? From Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. The Saudi Wahhabis are the ones who impose Sharia, based on their Wahhabi school of Islam.

      January 31, 2013 at 5:22 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        please read: rich and mighty neighbour, Saudi Arabia.

        January 31, 2013 at 5:23 am |
  2. moshe

    CNN used to be my news channel, now its the worse news channel. Pro Muslim anti Israel just bad reporting.

    January 30, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply
    • Capricorn

      Do you always wanna hear just one side of the story? Maybe you should hang out on Fox news

      February 2, 2013 at 11:32 am | Reply
  3. Bob

    King Abdullah II is a very wise man, like his father before him. We should listen to what he is telling us.

    January 30, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  4. Dick

    Everyone loves a lack of democracy, right your highness?

    January 30, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  5. Bobby

    King Abdullah is good for the country but bad for the people. This may not make sense to you, but his willingness to give in to the U.S. demands keeps war out of the country, but the people in the country suffer. Makes sense why this is... He's not Jordanian, his family is Saudi. Funny, his english is better than his Arabic.

    January 30, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  6. Harry Kuheim

    Who's this guy think he is?...Obama? He'll have to be a better liar and get Hollywood on his side first.

    January 30, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  7. Walter

    Seriously... How many actual Jordanians support him – Zero. While his people starve his family takes million dollar vacations. All hail the king. You can fool the world but not a real Jordanian. Not with that accent of yours.

    January 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
    • Amer Jordan

      Sir, I am a real Jordanian and I support this guy 100%. not only me, I can assure you that at least 85% of Jordanians are really happy with the guy and will follow him no matter what, especially after the pilots killing, only those who are "Pro ISIS" misfits. He has done a great Job in Jordan, just like his father. I am quite sure of what I'm saying

      February 27, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  8. Tom

    King Abdullah decried YEARS ago when the arab spring began that his people would have expanded freedoms, that is why he is not facing an uprising. The majority of people from Jordan love their king. I actually know people from this country.

    January 31, 2013 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • zd

      It is not easy for the people to oppose the tyrant as family back home are usualy a easy target to teach the voice of decent a lesson they wont forget.

      February 3, 2013 at 3:13 am | Reply
  9. Andrey

    This forum keeps me from beliving into conspiracy crap! Thank you democracy junkies: who needs invisible conspiracies with so much sheer stupidity around!

    January 31, 2013 at 11:03 am | Reply
  10. Mahmoud Bako Doguwa

    King Abdullah's comment "That al Qaeda has been in Syria for about a year now & unfortunately getting material & financial support from another sections. He stoped there without mentioning those backing al Qaeda in Syria. If this support is from any of the Arab nations I can then say SHAME ON THEM who take pride on seeing their brothers & sisters in flame.

    January 31, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  11. rightospeak

    If the bad guys are fighting Assad, what are we doing demonizing him ? Insanity as usual instead of peace -there is McCain for you.

    January 31, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  12. David

    We should support and arm Assad to finish with this rebels. At the end of the day they are the same people killing our services men in Afghanistan .They rebels will be the first to thank us by killing our ambassadors.

    January 31, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  13. Hawthorne


    • VISHWA HINDU PARISHAD (World Hindu Council)

    LEADERS: L.K. Advani/ Ashok Singhal/ Bala Saheb Devaras/ Bal Thackeray(EXTERMINATED)/ A.B. Vajpayee/ Savarkar/ Baikunnth Lal Sharma “Prem”/ Balraj Madhok/ The Shankaracharya of Puri, Niranjan Dev Theerth/ Rama Gopalan/ Variyar – Vishwan Hindu Parishad/ Dharmalinga Nadar/ Cho Ramaswamy

    January 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • Kody

      Hawthorne – you might be a joker. The article is about Jordan and Syria. Who needs your input on India. If u don,t have anything Bout this article, just keep silent buddy.

      February 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  14. plumbline

    Out of the ashes will arise a ten nation confederacy out of which the anti-christ will arise.........

    .........Revelation 17:12-14.......

    12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.

    February 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Reply

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