by Jamal Halaby
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Squeezed in a precarious corner in the volatile
Mideast, tightly secured Jordan enjoyed a kind of calm its blood-soaked
neighbors Israel and Iraq could only dream of. But this week's triple hotel
bombings in Amman shattered that illusion.
Perhaps most surprising is that such attacks have not happened before,
because Jordan presents any number of reasons why al-Qaida in Iraq might
single it out as a target.
Jordan has been a key backstage support for U.S. and other international
operations during the Iraq war. For the past several years, it has carried
out a crackdown on Islamic militants - including members of al-Qaida in
Iraq. It is a longtime U.S. ally, it signed a peace treaty with Israel in
1994, and its King Abdullah II has been a vocal proponent of religious
Moreover, al-Qaida in Iraq's leader, Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, is Jordanian and has spent time in the country's prisons.
Al-Qaida in Iraq said it attacked three Western-operated hotels Wednesday
because Jordan was "a backyard garden for the enemies of the religion, Jews
and Crusaders ... a filthy place for the traitors ... and a center for
Its Internet claim said the attacks put Washington on notice that the "camp
for the Crusader army is now in the range of fire of the holy warriors." . . .
Hassan M. Fattah and Michael Slackman, "3 Hotels Bombed in Jordan; At Least 57 Die," New York Times,
November 10, 2005
[Within minutes an explosive device said to be hidden in a false ceiling at
the SAS Radisson hotel blew up,--Tim Butcher, "Suicide bombers hit hotels in Jordan's capital," Telegraph,
November 11, 2005]
[In the warm night of early November, while the body count soared and the
Middle East was confronted with its own 9/11, the world came again face to
face with the myth of the new global terror leader: Zarqawi. . . .
But it was on Feb. 5, 2003, when Colin Powell described him to the UN
Security Council as the fictitious link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin
Laden, that Zarqawi achieved global stardom. Since then, his myth has grown
exponentially in both the West and the East.--Loretta Napoleoni, "The Myth of
Zarqawi," antiwar.com, November 11, 2005]
Marie Colvin and Uzi Mahnaimi, "
Jordanian soldiers seduced by Al-Qaeda 'aided' suicide attacks,"
Sunday Times, November 13, 2005
Hassan M. Fattah, "Jordan Arrests Iraqi Woman in Hotel Blasts," New
York Times, November 14, 2005
Elias Akleh, "Did
Al-Zarqawi Really Bomb Amman?," arab2000.net, November 14, 2005
Kurt Nimmo, "Amman Bombings: More
Suspicious Details," kurtnimmo.com, November 15, 2005
[Iraqi woman who confessed to taking part in a suicide bombing operation
against Amman hotels has told them three of her brothers were killed by US
forces in Iraq.--"Would-be
bomber lost three kin in Iraq," Jang, November 16, 2005]
Michael Howard, "Zarqawi's
family disown him after bombings," Guardian, November 21, 2005
[I can't help but remember . . . the degree to which the French army kept
announcing, between Õ54 and Õ62, that the killing or destruction or
liquidation of FLN leaders meant that there was a severe blow to the
terrorist campaign against the French in Algeria. And each time, the
terrorist campaign, or the war of independence, or whatever you like to call
it, just continued as it did before.--Robert Fisk, "Will
Al-Zarqawi's Death Fuel the Insurgency or Diminish It?,"
democracynow.org, June 8, 2006]