Rabat – King of Jordan Abdullah II said on Monday that Morocco pulled back from the US-led coalition against terror group Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.The Jordanian monarch, who was interviewed on Fox News’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” said that Jordan is now the only Arab country carrying airstrikes alongside the United State in Syria.He said that the UAE and Bahrain joined his country straight after the murder of a Jordanian pilot burned to death earlier this year by Islamic State terrorists. They have since pulled back because of the ongoing tensions in Yemen, he added. “We are the only Arab country operating alongside the Iraqis in Iraq alongside the coalition,” he said. As the Iraqis and the coalition increase their tempo for the next operation in Iraq, so will Jordan increase their tempo inside of Iraq.”He said he is glad to see his country’s relationship with Morocco is getting stronger, especially as both countries are dealing with threats from terrorist groups.“The king of Morocco is a strong partner with me in dealing with Khawarij [the outlaws of Islam] the Islamic terrorist organizations, especially in Western Africa. His relationship with the United States has improved and I think that is a good thing,” he told Fox News’s Bret Baier.King Abdullah II said he hates to use the word “extremists” to describe terror group the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, “because they take that as a badge of honor.”“These are outlaws that have nothing to do of understanding what our religion is about. And they have basically targeted Muslims before they target other religions and more Muslims have died because of them than any other religion,” he said.Asked about the Islamic State, King Abudllah II said that it’s a franchise whether it is Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram in Nigeria or Somalia’s Al Shabab.“The next worst element that comes up whatever name they give themselves everybody else will turn and give allegiance to that group,” he said.
The programme, named Action Against Desertification and launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), will devote some €41million to bolstering sustainable land management across the world’s most vulnerable areas in an effort to fight hunger and poverty. “Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, themselves at the root of many conflicts,” FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said in a press release marking the programme’s launch. “But recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. We can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change.”The FAO reports that more than 70 per cent of people living in drylands and other fragile ecosystems across Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific derive their livelihoods from natural resources. At the same time, an uptick in population growth and climate change has placed increasing pressure on these ecosystems, intensifying degradation and desertification and putting millions of lives at risk. In an effort to thwart the costly effects of desertification in Africa, the Action Against Desertification will build on an already existing “flagship programme” – the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative – which supports local communities, Government and civil society in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal with the sustainable management and restoration of their dryland forests and rangelands. Two-thirds of the African continent is classified as desert or drylands and climate change has led to prolonged periods of drought; over-intensive farming and over-grazing have caused land degradation; and deforestation has turned once fertile land into desert in many areas. On that note, the FAO-backed programme it will support agro-forestry while also incentivizing the creation of farmer field schools where farmers can learn about the causes of desertification and the best ways to combat and prevent it. Meanwhile, in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, the new initiative will target the problems of soil loss and degraded natural habitats by helping local communities adopt improved sustainable land and forest management practices.