Category Archives: Jordan

Abu Qatada Acquitted of Terrorism Charges

Jordan is America’s ‘Habibi’

André Vltchek writes for CounterPunch:

The formula is simple: Jordan is helping the West to destabilize nations of the region, including Iraq and Syria. As a result, hundreds of thousands of refugees are crossing its borders, flooding its deserts and cities. Refugee camps are growing into sizeable cities. Local people get hard-hit by high prices, despondent salaries for the poor, and scarcity of basic services. As a result, the Jordanian government and its elites go out of their way demanding money ‘to tackle the refugee crises’; money from the donors, mainly those in the West and the United Nations. Later, part of this money disappears into the deep pockets of the Jordanian rich, burned in outrageously posh shopping and ‘lifestyle malls’, or on inflated salaries for those working for major ‘international organizations’. There are more and more luxury cars on the streets, while the situation in most of the refugee camps – those that are housing Syrians, Palestinians and others – remains appalling.’


Israel ready to help Jordan fend off Iraq insurgents, minister says

Dan Williams reports for Reuters:

‘Israel is ready to meet any Jordanian request to help fight off Islamist insurgents who have overrun part of neighboring Iraq, an Israeli minister said on Friday, although he believed Jordan was capable of defending itself.

Jordan is one of two Arab countries – along with Egypt – to have full peace treaties with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday praised Amman’s stability while echoing Western powers in pledging support to safeguard it.

Asked to elaborate on the statement, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said potential Israeli assistance could include sending troops or arms, though he saw that as unlikely. “We have an interest in ensuring that Jordan does not fall to, or be penetrated by, groups like Al-Qaida or Hamas or ISIS,” he told Reuters.’


Security Porn: Military technology showcased in Jordan at the annual special operations forces exhibition (SOFEX)

‘Nineteen countries have taken part in Jordan’s annual special operations forces exhibition. SOFEX is one of the largest gatherings in the world for military personnel, technology and the defence industry. Nisreen El Shamayleh visited the event in the capital Amman.’ (Al Jazeera)

Journalists Fight And Destroy Set On-Air Over Syria On Jordanian Talk Show

Jordan Sends Riot Troops to Bahrain to Help Al Khalifa in Suppressing Protests

Jordan Sends Riot Troops to Bahrain to Help Al Khalifa in Suppressing ProtestsFrom Fars News Agency:

Speaking to FNA, Bahraini opposition activist Ebrahim Al-Aradi said that the Jordanian riot forces have already arrived in the Persian Gulf country via Manama International Airport. “Eyewitnesses have approved the news reports by media sources and it seems that they will join the Bahraini security forces to suppress the upcoming February 14 protests,” he added.

He underlined that it is not the first time that the Al Khalifa regime seeks help from foreign forces to suppress the popular protests as the Saudi and other Persian Gulf Arab troops joined the Bahraini security forces in suppressing the people at the onset of protests more than two years ago. Yet, Al-Aradi underlined that the Bahraini people will mark the third anniversary of their revolution on February 14 irrespective of all suppressive measures.


Syria: Where key countries stand

Click on the above image to view the BBC report


Family of alleged Al Qaeda-linked cleric Abu Qatada ‘plans to move to Jordan’ ~ AFP


The wife and children of cleric Abu Qatada, who faces trial on terror charges in Jordan following his deportation from Britain, are planning to move to Amman from London, a family friend said yesterday.

“Abu Qatada’s wife and five children want to leave Britain and come to Jordan. They are currently preparing for that,” the family friend said, asking not to be named.

Military prosecutors on Sunday charged Abu Qatada, 53, with “conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts,” just hours after his deportation from Britain. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.


As Abu Qatada leaves, Theresa May vows to change human rights law ~ Guardian

by  and Hamza Al Soud
The Guardian

Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, celebrated the successful deportation of Abu Qatada to Jordan on Sunday by saying the long-running saga meant there would have to be “wholesale changes” in Britain’s human rights laws.

The home secretary, Theresa May, also promised she would remove “the many layers of appeals available to foreign nationals we want to deport”.

Liberal Democrat sources accepted the need to change “the phenomenally long deportation procedures in this country”, but said it was perverse to call for withdrawal from the European convention on human rights on the day it had been shown the ECHR was not incompatible with Abu Qatada’s deportation.

The radical cleric was finally flown out of Britain under police guard in the small hours of Sunday morning and has spent his first night in a Jordanian prison cell facing terrorism charges.

[…] The charges of conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Jordan relate to a foiled plot against an American school in Amman, and the alleged targeting of Israeli and American tourists and western diplomats.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the House of Commons home affairs select committee, said it had taken Home Office lawyers too long to conceive of the treaty with Jordan to allay Abu Qatada’s fears that evidence extracted through torture would be used against him. “Only 446 days after the home secretary said Abu Qatada would be on a plane shortly, he has finally reached the end of the runway,” Vaz said.

It was recently disclosed that the fight has cost the taxpayer more than £1.7m since 2005, including £647,658 for Abu Qatada’s legal aid costs and more than £1m in Home Office legal costs. May said she would be proposing reforms to the immigration bill in the autumn and restricting appeals linked to the right to family life in the ECHR. She said longer-term work was also under way on a British bill of rights for inclusion in the Tory manifesto, so opening the way for UK withdrawal from the convention, something she has backed.


Jordan blocks 254 news websites ~ AFP

Two Jordanian university students surf the web at an internet cafe in Irbid, on January 23, 2001. The Jordanian government has blocked 254 unlicensed news websites, 16 of them in the previous two days, using powers under a 2012 law criticised as a threat to freedom of expression.AFP

The Jordanian government said on Tuesday that it had blocked 254 unlicensed news websites, 16 of them in the previous two days, using powers under a 2012 law criticised as a threat to freedom of expression.

Fayez Shawabkeh, head of the Press and Publication Department said: “16 local news websites were blocked in the past two days after carefully examining their situation.

“This brings the total number of sites the PPD blocked recently to 254, while 111 sites have obtained licences.”


Jordanian public opinion against US military presence ~ Press TV

SEE ALSO: Jordan air force pilot joins Syrian rebels (Ynet)

Press TV

A Jordanian political analyst says public opinion in his country is against US military presence in the kingdom.

“Public opinion here does not welcome the Americans, even if they say they want to protect the country,” said political analyst and head of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, Oraib Rintawi.

“For Jordanians, the US military presence is linked to plots and conspiracies against their neighbours, which would impact the country itself,” Rintawi added.

Experts further said Jordanians are suspicious about the presence of US troops and weapons in their country.

Jordanian lawmakers have also voiced opposition to US presence.


Russia voices alarm over US troops in Jordan ~ FT

by John Reed
Financial Times

Russia has expressed alarm over the deployment of US troops and military equipment in Jordan, in an indication of the widening diplomatic fallout from the internationalisation of Syria’s civil war.

“We think more troops in the region doesn’t help, especially now when we agreed with the Americans to bring the conflicting parties to the table to start to launch a dialogue,” Alexander Kalugin, Russia’s ambassador in Amman, told the Financial Times.

Abdullah Ensour, prime minister of Jordan, on Saturday said that the country was hosting 900 US military personnel, the first such public acknowledgment by a Jordanian official.


US to Leave 1,000 Combat Troops Along Syria’s Border ~ Antiwar

by Jason Ditz

The “Eager Lion” military exercise in Jordan was already used as a shoehorn to get US Patriot missile batteries and warplanes into the country, but with the drill finally coming to an end, the US dropped the revelation that 700 combat troops, supposedly sent there just for the two weeks, aren’t leaving either.

Instead, President Obama has announced that those 700 troops are just going to stay in Jordan, along with the about 300 that were already there, right along the Syrian border, until some unspecified future date when the “security situation will allow for their departure.


U.S. gives Syrian rebels missile training in secret camps ~ Daily Mail

Military maneuvers: An air and ground exerciise in south Jordan, where rebels are allegedly being trainedDaily Mail

CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons since last year, it has been revealed.

Covert training bases were set up in Jordan and Turkey months before President Obama approved plans to arm the opposition fighting to oust Syria’s President Assad, U.S. officials and rebel leaders claim.

White House officials refused to comment on the Los Angeles Times revelations, but said the U.S. had increased its help to rebels.


US troop buildup in Jordan after Turkey shuts US-NATO arms corridor to Syrian rebels ~ DEBKAfile

Tayyip Erdogan's U-turn on SyriaDEBKAfile

The US decision to upgrade Syrian rebel weaponry has run into a major setback:DEBKAfile reveals that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan phoned President Barack Obama in Berlin Wednesday, June 19, to report his sudden decision to shut down the Turkish corridor for the transfer of US and NATO arms to the Syrian rebels.

Against this background, the US President informed Congress Friday, June 22, that 700 combat-equipped American military personnel would remain in Jordan at the end of a joint US-Jordanian training exercise.

They would include crews of two Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries and the logistics, command and communications personnel needed to support those units. The United States is also leaving behind from the war maneuver a squadron of 12 to 24 F-16 fighter jets at Jordan’s request. Some 300 US troops have been in Jordan since last year.

Erdogan’s decision will leave the Syrian rebels fighting in Aleppo virtually high and dry. The fall of Qusayr cut off their supplies of arms from Lebanon.


Congressional Hawks Press Syria No-Fly Zone ~ Antiwar

SEE ALSO: Jordan’s King Tells Soldiers: We’ll Emerge Victorious From Syria ‘Threat’ (Antiwar)

by Jason Ditz

The Obama Administration is all set to start arming Syrian rebels, putting aside the ethical concerns and moving forward with that plan after a decision was made weeks ago to do so. There’s still no word on the no-fly zone out of the White House however.

And that’s got the hawks in Congress enraged, because having finally got the US sucked into at least directly arming combatants in the Syrian Civil War, they see a “no-fly zone” as the next logical step toward a full invasion and regime change.


U.S. to send Patriot missiles, F-16s to Jordan ~ UPI


Deployment of a Patriot missile battery and F-16 fighter jets to Jordan was approved over the weekend, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said.

Delivery of the weaponry, as part of a multinational training exercise, was approved by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, CNN said Monday, noting a broader message is being sent.

“In order to enhance the defensive posture and capacity of Jordan, some of these assets may remain beyond the exercise at the request of the government of Jordan,” said Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor, a spokesman at the U.S. Central Command.


Jordan to host major 18-nation military drill ~ Press TV

Press TV

‘Citing an official speaking on condition of anonymity, Jordan’sPetra news agency reported on Saturday that troops from countries including the US, Britain, Bahrain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Iraq, Italy, Lebanon, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen will take part in the military exercise, dubbed “Eager Lion 2013.”

The official added that troops from “friendly countries” will come to Jordan in the coming weeks to participate in the war games.

He noted that the maneuver, which will last for two weeks, would follow a “successful” similar drill in 2012.’


Syrian refugees ‘sold for marriage’ in Jordan ~ BBC

by Beth McLeod
BBC News

‘[…] Andrew Harper, the Representative of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Jordan, is concerned that some of the 500,000 Syrian refugees in the country are increasingly turning to such desperate measures.

“We don’t have enough resources to give aid to all those who need it. The vast majority of refugees are women and children. Many of them are not used to going out to work, so survival sex becomes an option.”

His office in central Amman is surrounded by hundreds of newly arrived refugees, waiting in long lines to register for aid. He says the UNHCR has intervened with some families who have been offering their daughters up for early marriage.’


Jordan ‘opens airspace for Israeli drones’ ~ Haaretz


Jordan 'opens airspace for Israeli drones'Jordan has opened two corridors of its air space to allow unmanned Israeli drones through to monitor the situation in Syria, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Sunday.

The report is based on an interview with a Western military source based in the Middle East. There has been no official confirmation from any other source.

The source told Le Figaro that King Abdullah of Jordan decided to open the air space in an unusual gesture, following U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the region last month. With such permission, Israeli would not have to fly over southern Lebanon en route to monitoring Syria.

Le Figaro said that only a restricted group of Western intelligence sources were aware of the Jordanian decision.


Patriot missiles to be deployed along Jordan-Syria border ~ Times of Israel

Times of Israel

An illustrative photo of a Patriot missile system (photo credit: CC-BY-SA Darkone/Wikimedia Commons)US Army officials have agreed to deploy two Patriot missile batteries along the Jordan-Syria border, London-based paper Asharq Al-Awsat reported Friday.

According to the report, the decision came after Jordanian officials requested that the US assist in protecting and securing the kingdom’s borders.

Citing a Jordanian source, the report also claimed that the two Patriot missile batteries will be transferred from Qatar and Kuwait.

Earlier this year, several Patriot batteries were redeployed along the Turkey-Syria border after Ankara requested protection from stray mortar shells.


U.S. military to step up presence in Jordan in light of Syria civil war ~ CNN

by Barbara Starr

In a critical indication of growing U.S. military involvement in the civil war in Syria, CNN has learned Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering the deployment of up to 200 troops to Jordan, according to two Defense Department officials.

The troops, which will come from the headquarters of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, “creates an additional capability” beyond what has been there, one official said.

The group will give the United States the ability to “potentially form a joint task force for military operations, if ordered,” he said.

The new deployment will include communications and intelligence specialists who will assist the Jordanians and “be ready for military action” if President Barack Obama were to order it, the official said.

This comes as the Pentagon has recently reviewed military options for Syria although Obama has not ordered any to be put into action.

There have been several dozen American troops, mainly special forces, in Jordan for the past year assisting the Jordanians.

But that group has been very ad hoc, the official said. This new deployment makes the U.S. military presence more official and is the first formalized ongoing presence of an American military unit in the Kingdom in recent years.


Jordan to Head Syria Rebel Arms Program ~ Antiwar

by Jason Ditz

The Jordanian government has reportedly agreed to be in charge of the huge Saudi Arabia-funded push to arm Syrian rebels, a move that inserts the nation into an even more direct role in the rebellion.

Jordan already hosts a major US military training effort for the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), and is hoping to parlay its existing ties with the rebel movement into more direct influence on where the weapons go.

The Hashemite Kingdom seems to be resigned to having no ties with the Assad government, but is said to view the growing prospect of an al-Qaeda-backed Islamist regime in Syria as an even bigger threat, and is hoping to prop up more “moderate” portions of the rebellion. In the end though, those moderates are still fighting arm in arm with the Jabhat al-Nusra and others, and it remains to be seen if arming one group but not the other will really keep arms from getting spread around.

Meanwhile, Britain is looking to up its own “aid” in rebel held portions of northern Syria. That’s been a problem in the past, with rebels stealing much of the aid, but the British government is looking to eliminate the middle man by sending all the aid to the rebels directly.


Iraq, Jordan ink $18 billion oil deal ~ AFP

Agence France-Presse

Spherical tanks are seen at Jordan Petroleum Refinery in the city of Zarqa, 25 km northeast of Amman April 2, 2013. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed Amman and Baghdad have signed a deal to extend an $18-billion pipeline to the Red Sea city of Aqaba to export Iraqi crude and supply Jordan with oil and gas, an Iraqi official has said.

“The two countries have signed an agreement to build a 1,700-kilometer pipeline from Basra to Aqaba,” Nihad Musa, director of the State Company for Oil Projects, told Jordan’s official news agency, Petra, in Amman on April 9. “The designs and technical studies, which are currently being conducted by a Canadian company, are scheduled to be done by the end of this year.”


Syrian Rebel Seize Jordan Border Garrison, Dozens Killed ~ Antiwar

by Jason Ditz

Capping a week-long round of reports about increased activity training Syrian rebels in Jordan, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has captured a major army garrison in southeastern Syria, along the Jordan border.

Syrian rebel sources say “dozens” of people were killed in the capture of the Um al-Mayathen garrison, the center of Syrian Army defenses in the Daraa Province charged with controlling the border area.

Jordan’s Information Minister commented earlier on the matter, saying that they are making sure the US is only training “secular” rebels in their country, adding “Jordan can’t sit idle and watch al-Qaeda and other militants seizing control of its common border.”

Backing the secular portion of the rebellion as a counter to al-Qaeda is a strategy a lot of regional officials have backed, but with the al-Qaeda-backed portions doing much of the heavy lifting across Syria, they seem to be either propping up secular auxiliaries for them or setting the stage for yet another religious civil war if and when the current one ends.