Obama calls Jordan’s king as strikes begin

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President Obama spoke Friday with King Abdullah of Jordan as the United States launched airstrikes in Iraq.

Reporters were allowed to observe Obama, seated behind his desk in the Oval Office, placing the phone call. Four staffers, including deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken, sat on nearby couches listening in on the conversation.

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The White House said details about what the leaders discussed would come later Friday.

Jordan, a key U.S. ally, has so far been able to resist efforts by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — the Islamist terror group being targeted by the U.S. military action in Iraq — to push into its territory. 

In June, ISIS militants posted a video to YouTube denouncing King Abdullah as a "tyrant" and calling for his "slaughter." Fighters affiliated with the group were shown destroying their passports and vowing suicide attacks within Jordan, according to the Gatestone Institute.

The kingdom has struggled under the weight of more than half a million refugees who have fled the conflict in neighboring Syria, where ISIS and other, more moderate groups are in a civil war with Bashar Assad’s regime.

The presidential phone call follows a conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordan's foreign minister on Thursday, ahead of the U.S. airstrikes. Kerry also spoke to his counterparts from France, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. 

Some Republican lawmakers have pressed for Obama to expand the U.S. airstrikes against ISIS.

A senior administration official said Friday that President Obama's authorization for airstrikes against ISIS did not extend beyond the borders of Iraq.

The U.S. and leaders in Jordan have also consulted in recent weeks on ongoing peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

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