Finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the utmost priority of the Jordanian government.
Although Jordan joined other neighboring Arab states in a series of military conflicts against Israel between 1948 and 1973, the late King Hussein (ruled 1952-1999) ultimately concluded that peace with Israel was in Jordan’s strategic interests due to Israel’s conventional military superiority, the development of an independent Palestinian national movement that threatened both Jordanian and Israeli security, and Jordan’s support for Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War which isolated it from the West.38
Consequently, in 1994 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty,39 and King Abdullah II has used his country’s semi-cordial official relationship with Israel to improve Jordan’s standing with Western governments and international financial institutions, on which it relies heavily for external support and aid.
Nevertheless, the continuation of conflict continues to be a major obstacle to Jordan’s development. The issue of Palestinian rights resonates with much of the population, as more than half of all Jordanian citizens originate from either the West Bank or the pre-1967 borders of Israel. There are an estimated 1.9 million United Nations-registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, and, while many no longer regard their stay in Jordan as temporary, they have retained their refugee status both as a symbolic sign of support for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and in hope of being included in any future settlement.40 Furthermore, for King Abdullah II and the royal Hashemite family, who are of Arab Bedouin descent and rely politically on the support of East Bank tribal families, finding a solution to the conflict is considered a matter of political survival since the government cannot afford to ignore an issue of critical importance to a majority of its citizens. The royal family and their tribal constituents vehemently reject periodic Israeli calls for the reunification of the West Bank with Jordan proper (dubbed the “Jordanian Option”), a maneuver that could inevitably alter the political status quo in Jordan. Like his father before him, King Abdullah II has repeated the mantra that “Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine.”
Opposition to Normalization
King Abdullah’s efforts to normalize relations with Israel have faced significant resistance within Jordan, particularly among Islamic fundamentalist groups, parts of the Palestinian community, and influential trade and professional organizations. Among many mainstream Jordanians, there is some disappointment that peace with Israel has not brought more tangible economic benefits to them so far. Opponents of normalization have repeatedly called on Jordanians to boycott contacts with Israel, and activists among them have compiled “black lists” of Jordanian individuals and companies that deal with Israel. The Jordanian government has arrested organizers of these lists, but courts have upheld their right to publish them. In addition, IAF parliamentarians periodically propose legislation to prohibit cooperation with Israel in various sectors. The IAF also has proposed legislation to abrogate Jordan’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
Reviving the Arab-Israeli Peace Process
For nearly a decade, King Abdullah II has attempted to convince U.S. policy makers and Congress to become more actively involved in mediating between Israelis and Palestinians. King Abdullah II is a strong supporter of a Saudi initiative, dubbed the “Arab Peace Initiative,” which calls for Israel’s full withdrawal from all occupied territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for full normalization of relations with all Arab states in the region. In a March 2007 address to a joint session of Congress, King Abdullah II pleaded for U.S. leadership in the peace process, which he called the “core issue in the Middle East.” He suggested that the Arab Peace Initiative is a path to achieve a collective peace treaty. Jordanian officials also have repeatedly condemned Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank, especially in Jerusalem, claiming that they violate international law and heighten tensions in the region.
King Abdullah II supported the convening of the U.S.-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November 2007, and he has encouraged the United States to push for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over core issues (status of Jerusalem, refugees, and borders). He has warned repeatedly that, without a settlement to the conflict, armed Islamist movements like Hamas and Hezbollah will grow in strength and radicalize Jordan’s own Islamist movements. According to King Abdullah II:
The process that started in Annapolis is, from our perspective, a positive development, but it also may be our last chance for peace for many, many years to come…. For us to fully realize the benefits of reform, we need to be able to exchange goods and services with our neighbors and facilitate the movement of people…. So in that respect, conflict holds everyone up, and the longer we delay conflict resolution, the more we risk greater instability down the road.41
For two decades, Jordan has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group and U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Throughout the 1990s, the late King Hussein tolerated a Hamas presence in his kingdom.42 Upon his accession to the throne in 1999, King Abdullah II, perhaps realizing that Jordan’s relationship with Hamas was a political liability, reversed his late father’s longstanding policy of tolerating Hamas and closed its Jordan offices permanently.
Since then, Jordan has been a strong backer of Palestinian moderates (such as the Fatah party) loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas and has been determined to bolster the capacity of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank in order to prevent Hamas from gaining strength there. Jordan has provided training for several battalions of U.S.-screened Palestinian recruits to serve in an overhauled Palestinian Authority National Security Force.43 The training is conducted by Jordanian police at the Jordanian International Police Training Center near Amman.
Toward the end of 2008, perhaps in order to hedge against the prospect of yet another round of failed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Jordan opened a dialogue with Hamas officials. Led by General Muhammad Dahabi, Jordan reportedly discussed “political and security issues” with their Hamas counterparts (Muhammad Nazzal). Most analysts interpreted this limited engagement as a pragmatic Jordanian maneuver designed to open channels of communication with an emboldened Hamas now in firm control of the Gaza Strip. Jordan may have sought a pledge from Hamas not to interfere in Jordanian domestic politics. According to one observer, “Hamas wants to talk with Jordan and Jordan wants to listen to what Hamas has to say. And it is in Jordan’s interest today to communicate with all and sundry—north, south, east, and west, without changing the underlying fundamentals of its policies, instead of concentrating on an alliance with only two states, the United States and Israel.”44
Since the 2006 Hamas victory in Palestinian Authority legislative elections, the Jordanian government has been placed in a difficult position. Much of its citizenry sympathizes with Hamas and Jordan’s own Islamist party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), reportedly maintains close ties to Hamas. The IAF has been careful to downplay these ties and, in August 2009, three high ranking moderate Brotherhood figures resigned from the group’s leadership bureau in protest over Hamas-Jordanian Brotherhood ties. According to one IAF statement, “Abbas is the legitimate Palestinian president and Hamas’s battle should be with the Zionist enemy, not other Palestinians, so we ask them to return to a policy of dialogue and to restore the institutions in Gaza.”45 Some critics of King Abdullah II assert that the Hamas threat to Jordan is a specter used by the royal family to consolidate its rule and repress potential opposition.
The 2008-2009 Israel-Hamas War in Gaza
The Jordanian public and some government officials were extremely critical of Israel’s 2008-2009 military operations against Hamas (Operation Cast Lead) in the Gaza Strip. During the month-long war, hundreds of protests broke out across the country. Most public demonstrations were small in size, but in early January 2009, the Muslim Brotherhood organized an estimated 50,000-person rally at an Amman sports complex. During the event, Dr. Hamam Said, the Brotherhood’s new general guide, stated that the rally’s large size indicated that “this is a vote on the peace treaty with Israel,” as protesters chanted, “no Israeli embassy on Jordanian land.”46 Media coverage focused largely on the Palestinian humanitarian dimension of the conflict. Some protesters tried to approach the Israeli Embassy in Amman but were met by riot police and were dispersed without any major incident.47
At the official level, some Jordanian lawmakers burnt an Israeli flag during a parliamentary session. Lawmakers set the flag aflame inside the lower house chamber during a special session of parliament dedicated to the Gaza war. Other parliamentarians called on the king to sever diplomatic ties with Israel and expel its ambassador. Some members of Jordan’s professional associations also held a demonstration where they burnt Israeli and American consumer products.
At a press conference in Egypt following a January cease-fire, King Abdullah II reiterated the need for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating that “If we do not take action towards a permanent solution based on the two-state solution, the world leaders will find themselves once again forced to convene to address a new Israeli aggression on the Palestinians.”48 The King also reportedly dismissed the director of the Jordanian General Intelligence Department (GID) General Muhammad Dahabi during the war, perhaps as an indication that the kingdom would not be further strengthening its relations with Hamas. As noted above, General Dahabi had conducted talks with Hamas leaders just months before the war. At the height of the conflict, some experts feared that the war in Gaza would destabilize moderate Arab governments like Egypt and Jordan which have respective peace treaties with Israel.
Because Jordan has a high percentage of citizens of Palestinian origin, any outbreak in Israeli-Palestinian violence is typically accompanied by speculation over Jordan’s (and the monarchy’s) stability. Nevertheless, though public anger ran high during the war, authorities managed to prevent any large-scale outbreak in violence. In Jordan, the right to assemble and hold demonstrations requires a government permit, and though many spontaneous protests broke out during the war, most Jordanians kept within the bounds of permitted political activity.
The Road Ahead
Jordan’s pro-peace regional foreign policy may continue to face obstacles in the months and years ahead due to the domestic political situation amongst Israelis and Palestinians respectively. Some Jordanians fear that the largely right wing Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will table Israeli-Palestinian peace talks indefinitely. Meanwhile, the lack of a Palestinian unity government also will continue to stall progress on peace talks as many countries refuse to deal with Hamas until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel. Senator George J. Mitchell, the U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, travels regularly to the region for consultations.
In May 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Jordan where King Abdullah II reportedly asked his counterpart declare Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution and acceptance of the Arab peace initiative. That same month, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) debated a bill to make Jordan the official homeland for Palestinians now living in the West Bank.
According to one Jordanian lawmaker, “It has done big damage…. Even if it’s not passed, when 53 members of the parliament [Knesset] accept this law in the first reading, this is very important. We can’t think it’s just for show; it’s the real thinking of the Israeli parliament and they represent the people.”
In October 2009, King Abdullah II expressed dismay over a perceived lack of Administration focus on the Middle East peace process. In an interview with Italian daily La Repubblica, King Abdullah II said, “I’ve heard people in Washington talking about Iran, again Iran, always Iran….But I insist on, and keep insisting on the Palestinian question: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most serious threat to the stability of the region and the Mediterranean.”
Jordan’s relations with Iraq during the Saddam Hussein era were strong. In 2003, Jordan publicly opposed military action against Iraq, but it informally and quietly provided logistical support to the U.S.-led campaign to oust Saddam Hussein. Since 2003, Jordanians have repeatedly criticized what they perceive to be the political marginalization of Iraq’s Sunni Arab population. Unlike Iraq’s other neighbors, Jordan has a limited ability to intervene in Iraq’s affairs at present, and, since 2003, Jordanian leaders have been far more concerned with Iraq’s influence on the kingdom’s own politics, trade, and internal security.
In 2008, as the situation in Iraq stabilized, Jordan moved to normalize its relations with the predominately Shiite Iraqi government. In August 2008, perhaps as a response to U.S. demands that Arab states end their isolation of Iraq, King Abdullah II became the first Arab leader to visit Iraq since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003. Earlier in the year, Jordan announced that it had appointed an ambassador to Baghdad, the first nation to do so since all Arab governments withdrew their ambassadors after the 2005 kidnapping and murder of Egypt’s former envoy.49
Prospects for Improved Relations
At the official level, government-to-government relations between Jordan and Iraq are likely to improve as long as Iraq remains stable and relatively free of sectarian bloodshed. Nevertheless, Jordan’s Sunni tribal Arab elite had strong ties to the Saddam Hussein regime, and few analysts expect Jordan-Iraqi relations to revert back to earlier times. In the months and years ahead, both sides will have to tackle the Iraqi refugee issue, energy deals, border security, and, most importantly, their relationship with Iran. Jordan, like other Sunni Arab states, is suspicious of Iranian intentions in the region.
Jordan has consistently sought to reap tangible benefits from relations with its larger, oil-rich neighbor. During the Saddam Hussein regime, Iraq provided nearly all of Jordan’s domestic oil needs, half of it free of charge.50 After the U.S. invasion in 2003 and until 2008, Jordan was forced to receive or purchase its oil elsewhere, as its relationship with a fledgling, Shiite dominated Iraqi government in the throes of an insurgency and civil war hindered the normalization of bilateral ties. The two sides did reach a tentative oil deal in August 2006; however, security and logistical concerns prevented the resumption of oil shipments.
After years of delay, Iraqi crude oil shipments began arriving in Jordan in September 2008. Under the original terms of their agreement, Jordan was to receive approximately 10,000 barrels of oil per day (roughly 10% of their daily consumption) from Iraq, at a price between $10-$18 per barrel. This quantity would increase to 30,000 barrels at a later stage, based on the memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries. Due to spiraling global oil prices, Iraq revised the agreement in 2008 to provide crude oil to Jordan at $22 per barrel—still a substantial discount from the international market price for Brent crude oil. Jordan and Iraq had discussed the construction of a pipeline from Iraq to the Jordanian port of Aqaba but cost projections have scuttled this proposal. Reportedly, the Jordanian government is now seeking international financing for the construction of a 600-mile railroad system to ferry Iraqi crude oil directly to Jordan’s sole refinery in the industrial town of Zarqa.51
Iraqi Refugees in Jordan
With over half of Jordan’s population claiming Palestinian descent, the kingdom has coped with refugee issues for decades. Nevertheless, the estimated 400,000-500,000 Iraqis living in Jordan have not been welcomed by the government and face difficult day-to-day circumstances there.
For a small, relatively poor country such as Jordan, the Iraqi influx is creating profound changes in Jordan’s economy and society. Since 2003, the influx of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees into greater Amman has caused housing shortages and led to rising rents and real estate prices. By some accounts, Amman is now one of the most expensive Arab capital cities in the region. Inflation has soared, creating hardships for middle class Jordanians of all backgrounds. In early 2007, Jordan sealed its borders and has since tried to stop any further inflow of Iraqis into the capital Amman and its environs.
In addition to concerns over absorbing more Iraqis, the Jordanian government may be treating the steady inflow of Iraqi refugees as a national security issue. Jordanian authorities have imposed restrictions on young Iraqi males to prevent their entering the country in response to security concerns. The Jordanian government classifies displaced Iraqis living in Jordan as “visitors” or “guests,” not refugees, as Jordan does not have a domestic refugee law, nor is it a party to the 1951 UN refugees’ convention.52 Iraqis who are able to deposit $150,000 in Amman banks are granted residency almost instantly, while the vast majority of Iraqis in Jordan have become illegal aliens due to the expiration of their visitor visas.53 Jordan’s positive relationships with Western donor countries and international organizations have enabled it to receive some outside assistance for coping with its large Iraqi refugee population.
The FY2007 Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-28) provided $45 million to Jordan for assistance to Iraqi refugees and an additional $10.3 million in economic assistance for Jordanian communities hosting large refugee populations. P.L. 110-161, the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, also provided bilateral aid to Jordan to be used to address social and economic development needs, including for Iraqis seeking refuge in Jordan. P.L. 110-252, the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act, also specified up to $175 million in economic aid for Jordan to meet the needs of Iraqi refugees. In the conference report accompanying P.L. 111-32, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, FY2009, lawmakers specified $150 million in economic aid to Jordan to “help mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis including for health, education, water and sanitation, and other impacts resulting from refugee populations in Jordan.”
Jordan is a key partner in fighting international Islamic terrorist groups, as its main intelligence organization, the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), is considered one of the most effective organizations in the region at infiltrating Jihadist networks.54 Jordanian intelligence reportedly played a role in assisting U.S. forces in killing Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the fugitive Jordanian terrorist mastermind who headed the Al Qaeda in Iraq organization until his death in June 2006.
Zarqawi hailed from the industrial town of Zarqa, several miles northeast of Amman, which is known as a source of Sunni militancy, as dozens of its young men have traveled to Iraq to die as suicide bombers. According to one Islamist community leader in Zarqa, “Most of the young people here in Zarqa are very religious…. And when they see the news and what is going on in the Islamic countries, they themselves feel that they have to go to fight jihad. Today, you don’t need anyone to tell the young men that they should go to jihad. They themselves want to be martyrs.”
Jordan’s cooperative relationship with the United States has made it vulnerable to terrorist attacks, particularly from organizations operating from Iraq. On November 9, 2005, near simultaneous explosions at three western-owned hotels in Amman (the Radisson, Grand Hyatt, and Days Inn) killed 58 persons and seriously wounded approximately 100 others. The terrorist organization Al Qaeda in Iraq, formerly headed by Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the act.
Many Jordanians, even some who disagree with their government’s support for U.S. Middle East policies, have condemned the hotel bombings, which killed many Jordanians, and denounced Zarqawi’s actions. King Abdullah II has said the attacks were aimed at ordinary Jordanians, not foreigners, noting that the hotels, though western owned, were frequented by local citizens. On November 15, 2005, Jordan’s Minister of the Interior announced new security regulations designed to keep foreign militants from operating covertly in Jordan, including a requirement for Jordanians to notify authorities within 48 hours of renting an apartment or a house to foreigners.
Other recent terrorist activity in Jordan include the following:
• On October 28, 2002, Lawrence Foley, a U.S. diplomat assigned to the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) program in Jordan, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant as Foley was leaving for work from his residence. A Jordanian military court convicted and sentenced to death eight Islamic militants linked to Al Qaeda and presumably involved in the Foley murder; the court sentenced two others to jail terms and acquitted one defendant. Six of the eight sentenced to death were tried in absentia, including Zarqawi, and two more were executed on March 11, 2006.
• In April 2004, Jordanian authorities reportedly uncovered a plot by a terrorist cell linked to Zarqawi which planned to launch a chemical attack in the Jordanian capital of Amman. According to press reports, in January 2004, one of the would be perpetrators visited Iraq, where he obtained $170,000, which Zarqawi had collected from Syrian donors to pay for the attack. The plot was reportedly foiled by Jordanian police and elite special forces units in a series of operations in Amman.
• On August 19, 2005, rockets apparently aimed at two U.S. amphibious warfare ships visiting the Jordanian port of Aqaba narrowly missed their targets, one hitting a nearby warehouse and another landing near a hospital; a third rocket struck near the airport at the neighboring Israeli port of Eilat. A Jordanian soldier was killed and another injured in the attack. There were two claims of responsibility, both from groups believed to be affiliated with Zarqawi.
• On September 4, 2006, a lone gunman opened fire on a group of Western tourists visiting the historic Roman amphitheater in downtown Amman, killing a British man and wounding six others, including a Jordanian policeman. The assailant was a 38-year old Jordanian named Nabeel Jaoura, who claimed his attack was in retaliation for the murder of his two brothers in 1982 at the hands of Israeli soldiers during the war in southern Lebanon. According to the New York Times, Jaoura had worked in Israel, where he was arrested two years ago for overstaying his visa. Jordanian security officials believe his incarceration may have further radicalized him.55
• In late 2006, Jordanian intelligence authorities thwarted a potential bomb attack against foreign tourists traveling through Queen Alia Airport in Amman. Several of the convicted conspirators were Iraqis, and one of the ringleaders of the plot reportedly had sought to place a bomb in a sports bag using the explosive PE-4A which is used by insurgents in Iraq.
• In September 2009, a Jordanian citizen who was living in the United States illegally was arrested and charged with attempting to blow up a skyscraper in Dallas, Texas. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, age 19, was arrested after planting an inert bomb at Fountain Place, a 60-story glass tower in downtown Dallas following an undercover FBI operation.
Allegations of Torture
As media scrutiny over the CIA’s alleged practice of transporting terrorism suspects to detention facilities abroad has grown in recent years, Jordan’s General Intelligence Department (GID) has been accused of detaining and torturing CIA prisoners captured in other countries. According to a Washington Post article on the GID, “Its [GID] interrogators had a reputation for persuading tight-lipped suspects to talk, even if that meant using abusive tactics that could violate U.S. or international law.”56 In July 2006, the human rights group Amnesty International accused the Jordanian security establishment of torturing terrorist suspects on behalf of the United States government. Amnesty International identified 10 suspected cases of men subjected to rendition from U.S. custody to interrogation centers in Jordan.57 A second report, released by Human Rights Watch in September 2006, claimed that the GID carries out arbitrary arrests and abuses suspects in its own detention facility. The report studied the cases of 16 men whom the GID had arrested and found that in 14 of the 16 cases, detainees were tortured or ill-treated. In response, the GID denied any wrongdoing. Finally, in a January 2007 report, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, concluded that “the practice of torture persists in Jordan because of a lack of awareness of the problem, and because of institutionalized impunity.” In April 2008, three prisoners were killed and dozens of others injured during a riot at Muwaqqar prison. According to the Jordanian National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR), “Mistreatment and beatings of inmates by some policemen at the Muaqqar prison led to the rioting.”
Despite government denials or statements suggesting that reforms are underway, international monitoring groups continue to charge that torture in the Jordanian prison system is widespread. An October 2008 Human Rights Watch report alleged that despite an amendment to the penal code to make torture a crime, Jordan’s measures have been insufficient and the practice continues.
According to Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, “Torture in Jordan’s prison system is widespread even two years after King Abdullah II called for reforms to stop it once and for all…. The mechanisms for preventing torture by holding torturers accountable are simply not working.”58
This article is an edited portion of the much longer April 9, 2010 report, “Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations” (a PDF copy can be found here) prepared by Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, for the Congressional Research Service.
38 In 1991, Congress suspended the delivery of U.S. economic and military aid to Jordan. See Section 502 of P.L. 102-27, the Dire Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Consequences of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Food Stamps, Unemployment Compensation Administration, Veterans Compensation and Pensions, and Urgent Needs for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1991 and For Other Purposes.
39 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty on October 26, 1994. Later, the two countries exchanged ambassadors; Israel returned approximately 131 square miles of territory near the Rift Valley to Jordan; the parliament repealed laws banning contacts with Israel; and the two countries signed a number of bilateral agreements between 1994 and 1996 to normalize economic and cultural links. Water sharing, a recurring problem, was partially resolved in May 1997 when the two countries reached an interim arrangement under which Israel began pumping 72,000 cubic meters of water from Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) to Jordan per day (equivalent to 26.3 million cubic meters per year — a little over half the target amount envisioned in an annex to the peace treaty).
40 The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) maintains a large presence in Jordan. UNRWA has 7,000 staff in Jordan, comprising mostly teachers, doctors, and engineers. It operates 174 schools in Jordan (providing education through 10th grade, then the remainder provided by government) According to UNRWA officials, their budget is $104 million a year. At this point, 83% of all U.N.-registered refugees live outside of UNRWA camps.
41 “Jordan’s King Warns that Annapolis Conference Last Chance for Palestinians,” Associated Press, February 10, 2008.
42 In 1997, Israeli agents disguised as Canadian tourists attempted to poison Khaled Meshaal, head of the Hamas political bureau and one of its founding members. The agents were captured by Jordanian authorities, and Israel was forced to release a number of high profile Hamas members in order to secure the return of their operatives. King Hussein had reportedly threatened to abrogate the Israel-Jordan 1994 peace treaty if Israel failed to provide an antidote and release other Hamas prisoners.
43 “Palestinian Forces Enter Jordan for Training Under U.S. Program,” Ha’aretz, January 24, 2008 and “500 Palestinian Security Force Members Head to Jordan for U.S.-funded Training,” Ha’aretz, September 18, 2008. Jordan has helped train 3,000 Palestinian cadets at the U.S.-funded Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC).
44 “Report on Jordan-Hamas Talks,” Al-Hayat (London), accessed via Open Source Center, Document ID#GMP20080817837001, August 17, 2008.
45 “Egypt and Jordan Quietly Back Abbas, Too,” Christian Science Monitor, June 20, 2007.
46 “Tens of Thousands Participate in Weekend Rallies,” Jordan Times, January 4, 2009.
47 Open Source Center, “State PAO: Jordanian Media Highlights for 16-19 Jan 2009,” Amman US Embassy Public Affairs Office, January 19, 2009, p. Document ID# GMP20090119644008.
48 “We don’t Need an all New Peace Process,” Jordan Times, January 19, 2009.
49 In August 2003, 17 people were killed outside the Jordanian embassy in an insurgent attack designed to deter Arab cooperation with coalition forces.
50 During the decade preceding Operation Iraqi Freedom while Iraq was under an international economic embargo, Jordan imported between 70,000 and 95,000 barrels per day of oil and oil products from Iraq. Jordan bought the oil at discounted prices, and actual payments were made in commodities rather than cash, through shipments of humanitarian goods from Jordan to Iraq. These transactions were outside the U.N.-approved oil-for-food program; however, the United Nations “took note” of Jordan’s position that it had no other source of oil, and U.S. administrations waived legislation that would have penalized Jordan for these transactions on this basis.
51 “Jordan Plans Regional Railway, Oil Link with Iraq,” Agence France Presse, July 27, 2008.
52 According to the UNHCR’s representative in Jordan, Robert Breen, “The term ‘refugee’ has political implications for the government and Iraqis because of the Palestinian question…. Most Iraqis, who represent a very diverse group here, don’t view themselves as refugees.” See, “Uncertain Future for Jordan’s ‘Guests,’” Financial Times, March 12, 2007.
53 Many Iraqis in Jordan lack valid residency permits or visas altogether. “Uneasy Havens Await Those Who Flee Iraq,” New York Times, December 8, 2006.
54 For years, some experts have speculated that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) support to the GID has been substantial. One expert wrote that “the agency created a Jordanian intelligence service, which lives today as its liaison to much of the Arab world.” See, Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes, New York, Anchor Books, 2008. In addition, there is a long history of U.S.-Jordanian intelligence cooperation. According to Jane’s Intelligence Digest, the GID collaborated with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1980s to disrupt the Abu Nidal organization and in 1999 was instrumental in foiling Al-Qaeda’s ‘millennium plot.’ It also may have been responsible for foiling planned bombings of the US, Jordanian and British embassies in Beirut in 2001 as well as the US embassy in Amman in 2004. See, “Jordanian-US intelligence co-operation: Iraq and beyond,” Jane’s Intelligence Digest, November 9, 2007.
55 “Typical of a New Terror Threat: Anger of a Gunman in Jordan,” New York Times, September 6, 2006.
56 “Jordan’s Spy Agency: Holding Cell for the CIA,” Washington Post, December 1, 2007.
57 “Group: Jordan Tortures Suspects for U.S.,” Associated Press, July 24, 2006.
58 “Jordan: Torture in Prisons Routine and Widespread,” Human Rights Watch, October 8, 2008.
Please Donate Today
Did you enjoy this article? Then please consider donating today to ensure that Eurasia Review can continue to be able to provide similar content.