Formerly a key U.S. ally, increasingly Jordanians have joined the ranks of extremist groups like al-Qaeda in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and more recently in Syria.
Ma’an, Jordan (CNN) — The quiet, sandy streets of the southern Jordanian city of Ma’an belie the pro-jihadi sentiments simmering just under the surface.
Black graffiti showing the ISIS flag defaces walls and shopfronts on the main road, the backstreets where children walk to school, and roundabouts where cars packed with families speed past.
One hundred and fifty miles south of the capital, Amman, Ma’an has always been known as a rebellious city in Jordan. For decades it has been at the center of repeated episodes of violent riots and confrontations with the security forces.
But Ma’an is also an important city, historically a key base of tribal support for Jordan’s Hashemite monarchy.
In recent months, videos of small but vocal pro-ISIS demonstrations have circulated on social media, with some Ma’an residents waving the black flag of the hardline extremist group which has taken massive swaths of land in Syria and Iraq.
Demonstrators brazenly called for an Islamic state and chanted anti-government slogans.
The government says it has the situation in Ma’an under control, despite the apparent tensions.