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13 تشرين الثاني، 2005

Jordan Attackes: It is not conspiracy nor a “Jordanian Sept 11”, Another activist

The recent terrorist attack in Jordan is a horrendous act that must be condemned by all ethical standards. Targeting civilians, regardless of the reason, is an unjustified act. Yet a mere condemnation will do us (those who oppose the act) no justice. We must attempt to understand how such an act could be imagined, come to be, and tolerated. Unfortunately, theories of conspiracy (Israel or the United States are behind the attacks), do not assist us in such an analysis. They are always brought in to help fill the gap in an already flowed political understanding of the crisis itself.

Also, the ambiguous calls for “national unity” as put forward by the Arab regimes, in this case the Jordanian, become ever more attractive, as we fail to direct our understanding at how the regime itself, via its notion of unity against the “greater threat,” is implicated in giving birth to such violence.

It is not conspiracy nor a “Jordanian Sept 11”

The government in Jordan is trying to pitch the attacks as a "surprise" attack, or sort of "Jordanian Sept. 11." Others talk about some “Mosad” conspiracy theory. However, this sort of action was widely expected in Jordan, given the increase in similar attempts during the past year or so. The government kept a led on their imminence, bragging about the superiority of its own security apparatus so not to disturb the burgeoning financial markets.

But why is Jordan targeted in the first place? 1) The track record of the Jordanian official policy of “cozying with the US,” assisting it in its war and other terrorizing campaigns; 2) next to Israel, Jordan is now the second largest country that receives US foreign assistance (per capita), also higher than Egypt, and higher than Pakistan in absolute terms; 3) the support the Jordanian government is lending the US in its war on Iraq; 4) the continued visits of US high military ranking personnel being welcomed by none other than the king himself; 5) the almost full cooperation between the Jordanian and the American security apparatuses in pursuing, interrogating, and torturing the presumably members of "Islamic terrorist organizations.” As LA Times describe Jordan in a recent articles as a hub for “extraordinary rendition!” All of these factors might help explain, not justify, such attacks, and why recently these groups have been adamantly targeting Jordan.

Jordanian public sentiment:


Curtailing political freedom has enjoyed a long life under the Jordanian regime. This practice has been intensified during the drum up for the last US war on Iraq, and more so afterward. The Parliament was dissolved early on way before the war. The government rebuked a public demand for a new democratic elections law, as well as parliamentary elections, several times before the war. Only after the occupation of Iraq, and when the defeated mood reign supreme did the government agree to parliamentary elections in June 2003. Jordan has a long history of state attacks on independent democratic institutions, mainly labor and professional unions, political parties, student organizations. Electoral laws for the Parliament and the municipal councils are habitually changed to ever more absurd ones (e.g. the government assigns half of the members and the presidents for the municipal councils and for the students organizations in the universities, the rest are elected!) The state denies as a matter of daily practice permit requests for marches, rallies, and public meetings.

All of this fosters sentiments of despair, while deepening the political apathy of a wide margin of the Jordanian public. In this atmosphere of highly contained and suppressed political dialogue and mobilization, the highly publicized horrendous deeds of "Zarqawi's" and his likes -- presumably against the US forces or who cooperate with them -- began to make sense to some Jordanians, as the only possible political action to vent one’s frustration, if not to avenge US terror bestowed on Iraq, and the Iraqi people, with implications to the entire region.

The aftermath

The regime is riding on an ephemeral tide of popularity on the attacks aftermath. However, The reaction on part of the people is already being differentiated n different divides, though the main contentious issue is the regime’s relations with the US administration and the way he abides by the later definition of terrorism.

What the government is vowing to do now is to attack not just these extremist organizations but also whomever talks or expresses any justifications for them. So they are expanding the level of repression to further suppress the freedom of thoughts and expression in Jordan, in a way only the government has monopoly on the definition of what is considered a condoning expression or justification for terrorism.

So, definitely they are going in the wrong direction again. Much so they are not questioning their attitude toward the bigger terrorist and source of destabilization in the region and the world, I mean the US administration. Not to do so and continue with their political repression and manipulations will not do any help but provide for the same ingredients that got us to this point in the first place, if anything Egypt is a good example in that regard.

هناك 19 تعليقًا:

Khalaf يقول...

Hello Khader,

Let me take you up on some of the points you make:

1- "But why is Jordan targeted in the first place? 1) The track record of the Jordanian official policy of “cozying with the US,” assisting it in its war and other terrorizing campaigns; 2) next to Israel, Jordan is now the second largest country that receives US foreign assistance (per capita), also higher than Egypt, and higher than Pakistan in absolute terms; 3) the support the Jordanian government is lending the US in its war on Iraq; 4) the continued visits of US high military ranking personnel being welcomed by none other than the king himself; 5) the almost full cooperation between the Jordanian and the American security apparatuses in pursuing, interrogating, and torturing the presumably members of "Islamic terrorist organizations.” As LA Times describe Jordan in a recent articles as a hub for “extraordinary rendition!” All of these factors might help explain, not justify, such attacks, and why recently these groups have been adamantly targeting Jordan".
First of all, the idea that if we somehow changed our policies, Zarqawi would become friendly to Jordan is ridiculous. The idea that we can appease him is foolish. Moreover, if he is successful in Iraq, he would pose an even greater danger on Jordan than he does now. To try and argue otherwise will not convince me. From this perspective, it is in Jordan's national interest that he fails in Iraq. Therefore, despite the fact that I am against US occupation of Iraq, I am equally against Zerqawi succeeding in creating a Taliban government there.
2- "Curtailing political freedom has enjoyed a long life under the Jordanian regime. This practice has been intensified during the drum up for the last US war on Iraq, and more so afterward. …... All of this fosters sentiments of despair, while deepening the political apathy of a wide margin of the Jordanian public. In this atmosphere of highly contained and suppressed political dialogue and mobilization, the highly publicized horrendous deeds of "Zarqawi's" and his likes -- presumably against the US forces or who cooperate with them -- began to make sense to some Jordanians, as the only possible political action to vent one’s frustration, if not to avenge US terror bestowed on Iraq, and the Iraqi people, with implications to the entire region. "
I am sorry to say that while there is truth to this, it is irrelevant in the current context. There is nothing to make be believe that any Islamist organization truly believes in democracy, and would only use democracy to further it's true dream of creating an Islamic theocracy. I wrote about this earlier. Venting frustration through terror is not some accidental side effect, as you suggest. It has been encouraged in an organized manner in rallies, public forums, the press and in mosques by various elements of the opposition. To deny responsibility for this atmosphere is quite disingenuous of you.
3- "What the government is vowing to do now is to attack not just these extremist organizations but also whomever talks or expresses any justifications for them. So they are expanding the level of repression to further suppress the freedom of thoughts and expression in Jordan.". The government is right. Justification for suicide bombings on civilians is outside the bounds of acceptable free speech, and is against the national interests of Jordan. You can talk all you want against the US presence in Iraq of Israeli occupation of Palestine, but glorifying suicide bombers sends the wrong message to our youth, many of whom are immature and impressionable.

jameed يقول...

on this last point, even the most critical of the US, Spanish, and British governments never attempted to justify the terrorists attacks on their respective countries. You can critisize Jordan's near-absence of "political freedom" but you shouldn't allow those who lean towards extermist idea to thrive in the country. Western countries have tried harboring such trumpts as Abu Hamza Al Masri and his likes in the name of "freedom" only to discover they were wrong; but then again it was the communists these governments were worried more about.

غير معرف يقول...

from reading your response to the essay I am sorry to say you've missed the point, your blinded trying to recycle US conservative propaganda that they used to confront their critics with in the drump up to the war on Afganestan and Iraq. I believe what the government/regime in Jordan is doing cozying with the US in its war on Iraq is shameful if not is sucidal more than anything else. We are now confronted be two outrageous fundumentalisms actually babarisms the one of the US and its allies and miniture one from a narrow sect of Islamism Jehadists.

Khalaf يقول...

So are you suggesting that we it is in our interest to let Zarqawi win in Iraq by being passive bystanders? Or should we maybe help him, since we want the Americans to lose? None of your discourse offers any answers. Please enlighten me.

El Hajjet Hmoum يقول...

“If we don’t [insert some misguided, malicious, or irrelevant policy], then the terrorists have won.”

Khalaf, your comment assumes that all the Americans are doing in Iraq is fighting Zarqawi and his ilk. You really should keep up with the times. This kind of ridiculous portraiture of the situation no longer sells well, not even in the U.S.

Khalaf يقول...

No, it is not all that they are doing. They came to steal. I know that. But Zarqawi's attempts to start a civil war are also an excellent excuse for them to stay there. So, the question still, what do we want?

غصيبة يقول...

What we want is an end to the occupation of Iraq now

Khallini ajawbo ya Hmoum:

ya maimti, have you completely internalized Karl Rove? First, you say the Americans should stay in Iraq because they are fighting dem terrorists. Now, it’s because they’re keeping the country from sliding into civil war. But there is no evidence for the latter argument whatsoever (you seem to have abandoned the first argument). When it comes to stoking the fire of sectarianism (and terrorism) the Americans shoveled as hard as anyone else. Sacking the Falluja with the aid of Kurdish and Shiia militias (their uniforms notwithstanding) is merely one example of their mode of operation. I have to admit that up until the invasion of Falluja I believed that the occupation forces might have been contributing to the stability of the country—in the very least in their capacity as a lightning rod for Iraqi anger. But it became quickly apparent that the Americans are only interested in protecting themselves, with the poor Iraqis they enlisted in the lightly armored police and army units merely serving them as cover and cannon fodder. Law and order outside of the Green Zone is mostly provided by local militias; the occupation forces are an element of disturbance, as we have seen in Basra two months ago. This definitely is the view of most Iraqis as demonstrated by the secret poll commissioned by Britain’s Ministry of Defence in August and leaked to the Daily Telegraph, a pro-war right-wing British newspaper. Almost no one in Iraq (not even 1%) credits the role of the “coalition forces” in maintaining security, two thirds feel less secure on account of the occupation and 82% strongly oppose the presence of the “coalition forces.” Here’s an excerpt from the story the Telegraph ran.

“The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces. It reveals:
• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;
• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;
• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;
• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;
• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;
• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.
The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.
The findings differ markedly from a survey carried out by the BBC in March 2004 in which the overwhelming consensus among the 2,500 Iraqis questioned was that life was good. More of those questioned supported the war than opposed it.
Under the heading "Justification for Violent Attacks", the new poll shows that 65 per cent of people in Maysan province - one of the four provinces under British control - believe that attacks against coalition forces are justified.”
The report states that for Iraq as a whole, 45 per cent of people feel attacks are justified. In Basra, the proportion is reduced to 25 per cent.”

Khalaf يقول...

Well, I don't think Rove ever said that they went ti Iraq to steal. I must have missed that.

It is not up to us to end the occupation. The king was against the invasion from the beginning, going as far as calling the idea preposterous. The decision was not up to him, but Jordan now must deal with realities on the ground. Now, you say that "Law and order outside of the Green Zone is mostly provided by local militias". This sounds like a recipe for civil war to me. Why should we think that if the Americans and the British withdraw, then these militas will put down their weapons?

If we want a unified Iraq, we should support it's central authority. The central authority wants the Americans and Brits to stay. I know that the legitimacy of this authority is questionable. So, who should we deal with and support? Sader? Zarqawi? Barazani? Do we want a messy breakup of Iraq? If we do not, we should support it's central authority, just as we did when Saddam was in charge, despite any misgivings about him.

Taleb Dibs يقول...

Yes, I believe that the hajjeh (ye6awwel 3umurha) was rather careless in her phrasing. From the context, I took her Rove remark to mean that Khalaf has internalized the Bush administration’s arguments for prolonging the occupation. Or perhaps she was referring to Khalaf’s adoption of Rove’s ever-shifting-argument technique. But, to be fair, it could be taken to suggest that he completely agrees with all of Rove’s opinions including his taste in pants or his views on Dhat Rass’s starting lineup. As this may not be true the hajjeh owes Khalaf an apology.
But more seriously: who is this “we” that you are talking about, Khalaf? Speaking for myself, I never supported Saddam when he was in charge, and I find the notion that I would ever support such a mass murderer distasteful. It may be agreeable to you Khalaf to associate, nay equate, yourself with the Jordanian government, but some of us Jordanians would like to put some air between us and the government—especially when it comes to supporting Saddam or the current American occupation of Iraq. I am writing this praying to dear God that your friends the mukhabarat won’t mind me saying this too much and live up to their “exceptional standards” (your words) by tracking me down and wringing my neck (yemsa3o ragbati wa ragbat ba3dh el sam3een).
The Jordanian govt. may not be capable to end the occupation, but they could be a little bit less eager in providing logistic support and political cover for it. As for us Jordanians who dare to entertain political opinions that may not exactly match those of our sovereign, and for whom political action is not a matter of choosing whom to deal with from an ad hoc lineup of unsavory characters, the least we could do is voice our opposition, and campaign the govt. on this and other issues.
That the religious and ethnic militias control the streets and administer justice (not necessarily the kind I feel comfortable with) in much of Iraq is a statement of the present fact. It is already here. Hello. The Americans cannot or will not disarm them. So I am not sure why you find the American troop presence so reassuring.
Supporting the central authority no matter what as you suggest will not prevent a “messy breakup of Iraq.” Saddam’s brand of absolute central authority did not help the cause of communal harmony in a unified Iraq and things have only become worse, and are worsening, under the American-sponsored authority.

Khalaf يقول...

At last a reasonable voice. Of course, the "we" I refer to goes to the collective responsibilty of being Jordanians, whatever single individuals, including myself, might have thought at the time. "We" had Aqaba blockaded for about five years. "We" got cheap oil. And "we" are stuck in who are neighbors are. "We" are in it together. I don't equate myself with the Jordanian government, nor am I an apologist. I describe things the way that I see them. Your fear of the mukhabarat suggests that you only express yourself on line. You can go to professional union meeting, a bar, a mosque, a barber shop or a government office and hear people say the same things I am reading here. To be honest, I doubt that the mukhabarat really cares about whatever you or I say.

"As for us Jordanians who dare to entertain political opinions that may not exactly match those of our sovereign, and for whom political action is not a matter of choosing whom to deal with from an ad hoc lineup of unsavory characters, the least we could do is voice our opposition, and campaign the govt. on this and other issues". So who says that you can't? Just because I am questioning the logic I am reading doesn't mean that I am against you expressing yourself. Don't be so defensive already.

The fact that conditions are bad in Iraq requires the government to help in restoring order, if not for the sake of the Iraqis then for the sake of Jordan. Burying our head in the sand is not a good idea.

James Locksly يقول...

i WANT TO REFERE kHALAF TO the King of Jordan cooperation with the US, particularly the CIA, against Iraq way before the war started:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/02/AR2005080201579.html

Jordanian Governement never denied this article.

Taleb Dibs يقول...

Khalaf, there is no point of trying to appeal to your sense of justice, honesty, reason, reality or even sarcasm. I tried, but that’s why they call me Taleb el Dibs. (Taleb el dibs min 6iz el nims: he who seeks honey from the backside of a weasel).

Khalaf يقول...

Maybe you should learn how to make a coherent argument. Running after sloganeers has led the Arab world to where it is today. Frankly, you guys should take fresh look at the world, and think about how we should make the best of it.

Look. Let's be honest. We hate the situation we are in, but we don't want to sacrifice to change anything. We have lost the best in our traditions (chivalry, honesty, generosity and sacrifice), and replaced it with the worst aspects of western culture. Thus, materialism is now the order of the day. Most people are looking to buy the biggest house, the fanciest telephone and the most luxurious car. To cover this blatant slide in our values, phony religiousness took over to cover up the severe slide in how we view ourselves. Maybe God will forgive all the theft, lying and cheating if I pray five times a day and fast Ramadan. If I am particularly lax, I need to grow a beard and wear a short dishdash. When the price of oil went up, people started whining about how miserable everything is, and how unjust the world is. Do you think that such a society is ready for making the sacrifice needed to for achieving what we believe that is rightfully ours?

So, to make a long argument short, you are right. But only to the extent that this is not the way things should be. Our society is too selfish and lazy to make the sacrifices needed necessary to change. Wishing this reality away will not change things. Religious extremism will not cause Devine interference in the movement of history. If we want to change we can, but it is not the government that will do this. We will need to develop a much stronger sense of community and sacrifice. After that, we will have the strength to push for what we believe in. Until then, we should just shut up and go with the flow.

Faisal El-Dwieesh يقول...

Khalaf, as far I could tell none of your interlocutors suggested that religious extremism is the way to go. Are you answering voices in your head?

Khalaf يقول...

No. But I see that a lot of society thinks that this is the magic answer. A sedative is more like it.

Do you think that it is fair that so many of you are ganging up on me? :)

Concerned Amman Mom يقول...

That's right. Ya'ni 'ashara 'al batal.

3ugla el ribdawy يقول...

Ani ma3 Khalaf laino min Ajloun.

Al-Sheikh Eid bin Awwad يقول...

Tara 3Ajloun bit66ali3 and I am not talking about this risible Khalaf guy. Check out Sameer al-Qudah who is featured in the NY Times article referred to in this post. He was thrown into jail for one year after reciting a poem (take a bow Khalaf’s mukhabarat friends). The times posted a complete audio recording of the poem in Qudah’s voice and an English translation (reproduced below).

nytimes.com
November 14, 2005
Translation of Qudah's Poem, 'The Manager'
By SAMEER al-QUDAH
Sameer al-Qudah was jailed for a year after reciting this poem in August 1996.

It was March
A day when the rain fell
An ululation was uttered welcoming me to destiny
I started with a call for help,
I cried like any other newborn
And thus I was born like any human being.
They named me a citizen, absolutely a citizen.

I was young when I asked you about our radio, Dad.
I heard them repeating a word, that rang in our ears
And do you see Dad
Our neighbors' radio transmits it.
He answered, Of course, honey, we all have to hear it
In our dawn, our morning, noon,
Afternoon, and night,
When we wake up, when we sleep
And those who must hear it include
Our neighbors, our relatives and our neighborhood
Our donkeys, mules and our cattle
Our mosquitos, our flies,
And every single human living on our earth.
I have envied the one who is referred to by all this talk
And I told myself
If you grow up, you, lad
Why don't you be like that active person,
Everybody speaking your name
And I melted in the dreams
And the days have passed.

I live in a state run by a demi-god
And its people live in extreme luxury
I have not laid eyes on a homeless, starving person with cracked lips.
Its citizens are addicted to life’s pleasures
They do what they like without any disturbance
In the balloon races, they are experienced
And also in the automobile rallies
And in the horse races, they are like Antara, the famous Arab knight
And you can count many Antaras.

I live in a state that respects the constitution
A state that preserves citizens’ rights
in their religion and their opinions
A state where there are no prohibition.
Its manager
Takes the opinion of the citizenry in everything that's going on.
He has never taken any decision
Without asking for the public's permission
Or without a public referendum.
What a public
Whenever something urgent comes up
The public assembles
Then there is a comprehensive speech, whipped up by the manager
Followed by an ululation and a blessing
And the auction is open for whistling, drumming and for honking
And afterwards, the audience claps
And this is the consensus in my state
And this is freedom of expression

I live in a state where calm and security prevail
A state full of houris and beautiful girls
A state that wins all bets in the bourse of happiness
A state that lives beyond time and space
And it’s not of the earth
But I think that it is on Mercury or it could be on
Venus or Saturn
I think we live on Saturn!
We live off milk and honey
And no one has an idea about onions
The authority—May God reward it--has flooded us with springs of honey
God tried to make us enter his paradise
But his attempts were lost as we were busy in our luxury
And his attempts failed

I live in a state full of men
I live in a state that lives in the summits
Where titles are sacred
From his excellency to his highness
You can address all our people your excellency
Whole caravans can be addressed your excellency
That extend in life like a vinyard
On their faces, you can see signs of goodness
Their cars are paid for with clean money
Justice and neutrality is their nature
Nobody says that he is my cousin, or she is my friend’s sister
Go down the street, maybe you can see one of their sons
Whose profession is being a porter
The imprint of a sack shows on his shoulder
And you might see him on Gardens Street street
On his back, you can read on his orange jumpsuit, The Greater Amman Municipality

I live in a fixed and an elastic state
I realised when I grew older that it is my state
I heard about its delicate circumstances
About that dangerous curve in it’s life
And for the past thirty years, I am still living the same circumstances
They haven’t changed ever since I became conscious of them
Because it still lives in its temporary circumstances
And every time I ask my soul
What, when, where, why, how
Our manager replied, that it is the nature of the stage

Rafe3 Shaheen يقول...

Taleb, I think a better translation for “Taleb el dibs min 6iz el nims” is he who seeks molasses from weasel arses. It is more accurate and it rhymes.