January 15, 2010

Jordan's War on Terror

What's been happening in Jordan for the past month has been truly unprecedented.

Hummam al Balawi, a Jordanian informant pulled off the worst attack against the CIA in over 25 years. Balawi, a trusted informant of the General Intelligence Department was recruited by the CIA to try and infiltrate the higher circles of AL Qaeda and help in the capture of Al Qaeda's second most important man, Aiman al Thawahri. Balawi, however, had kept his allegiance to Al-Qaeda all along, and in a suicide bombing, he killed 7 top CIA officials along with his Jordanian GID supervisor, Sharif Ali Bin Zeid, a distant member of the royal family.

The repercussions of this attack have been staggering. Besides resulting in immense embarrassment for both the CIA and the Jordanian government, it raised too many questions to be answered.

Should Jordan be helping the CIA in their war against terror? Some say after the Amman bombings in 2005, we had no choice but to enter such a war, while others argue that fighting a war alongside the US will only drive more people into Al Qaeda . One cannot ignore the similarity to the US's decision to fight the war against terror in Iraq after the 9/11 bombings.

Even after the Amman bombings, more than 30% of the Jordanian population was actually pro-Qaeda, and if the Sharif Bin Zeid wasn't one of the victims, the majority would've idolized Al Balawi and considered him a hero.

I have no answers on what stance we should be taking, but whatever it is, Jordanians need to be made aware of it. How can Jordan fight a war against al-Qaeda if there's a not-so-small percentage of Jordanians who are actually supporting them? Just the past week a Jordanian fighter in the Taliban was killed in an American military operation. The government says of its involvement in Afghanistan as "finding the root of where terrorists plot and stopping them there". While that is legitimate, it is also pointless if there are terrorists in the making right here. It is time for the government to address the mentality that defends terrorism, rather than pretend it doesn't exist.


1) Shooting Your Foot: Jordan’s Afghanistan And CIA Connection (Black Iris)
2) Humam Balawi Video Surfaces On Al Jazeera & Other Notes From Jordan (Black Iris)
3) Photo Of The Moment | Jordanian Taliban Fighter Mahmoud Zeidan’s Funeral Contrasts (Black Iris)
4) Islamists Press Jordan to Stop Aiding U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (New York Times)
5) Jordan emerges as key CIA counterterrorism ally (Washington Post)
6) هل يؤيد الأردنيون "القاعدة"؟ (Alghad)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Needless to say, that it is the responsibility of any country – government and security apparatus – to ensure the safety and protection of its citizens. Jordan suffered from the mad and indiscriminate attacks of terrorists in 2005. We remain to be the target for Al Qaeda operations and sadly they have succeeded in recruiting a segment of our disillusioned and frustrated youth. The nature of this terrorism is that it is international. Fighting and containing the destructive activities of these organizations requires the sharing of intelligence between all countries. This is the reason why the influence of AQ is diminishing to a certain extent and so many horrific attacks against our country were averted. That is what we are doing in Afghanistan. We are not fighting anyone else’s war. We are fighting our war for the safety and security of our Jordan. But Jordan is not fighting this war on the security coordination level only, but also on the ideological level by countering the message of those extremists. Here is where the government can do more to understand the needs of the youth and their frustrations in order to strengthen them against being lured by the twisted logic of those demons of death and destruction. We can all do something to help.