Kick-ass King Abdullah! The Jordan monarch vowing to destroy Daesh
Social media rumors were rampant last week claiming that King Abdullah II of Jordan was leading the next airstrike on Daesh, jumping into the cockpit himself to avenge the barbaric murder of fighter pilot Moath al-Kasasbeh. Photos flooded the internet, lifted from the King’s official Facebook page and the Royal Court’s Instagram, showing an intense-looking leader geared up for battle.
Abdullah was swift to react to the killing of the captured pilot, ordering immediate execution of two Iraqi prisoners (one a pawn in the aborted three-way hostage swap between Japan, Jordan and Daesh) and intesnsifying bombings on Daesh positions. His immediate and angry response and full public presence has helped a shocked a grieving kingdom unite. Continue reading below »
Is his rapid emergence as a macho monarch myth or mandatory for these times?
The King has sizeable street-cred as Jordan's "action man" King. He attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and had a stint in the British Army. He served as an officer in the Royal Jordanian Army, and in 1998 became a Major General in charge of Jordan's special forces - a role he held ‘til he was tapped as successor by his father, King Hussein, a few days before the latter's death in 1999.
But is the tough-guy role the best way to play this?
His majesty can’t control the social media spin. Some of the most-shared images are actually old photos from perfunctory military events held as far as a year ago. American journalist Andy Carvin dug into the story in detail and found that most of the pictures of the king in military gear were taken out of context.
Like his father, Abdullah is a qualified pilot with a passion for fast motorcycles. A youthful attraction to adventure movies led him to a one-time (and often-clicked YouTubed clip) role as an extra on Star Trek. Warrior, biker or sci-fi fan: what Jordan now needs is a King who is above-all an unflappable statesman. His Highness is emerging as a hero-leader for our time.