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Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Jordan

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 18 August 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Jordan, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e524825c.html [accessed 18 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: The Jordanian Government responded effectively to several terrorist incidents within the country, and its security forces detected and thwarted several others. Jordan remained committed to a just and durable settlement of the Israel-Palestine dispute and strongly backed President Obama's peace initiatives. In addition to its diplomatic and political assistance to the peace process, Jordan supported the Palestinian Authority and the development of state institutions through its law enforcement training programs at the Jordan International Police Training Center. Jordan was an important voice against violent extremism throughout the region.

2010 Terrorist Incidents:

  • On January 14, an Israeli diplomatic vehicle movement was struck by an apparent improvised explosive device (IED) en route to the King Hussein Bridge from Amman. There were no deaths or injuries in the attack.

  • On April 22, several rockets were fired at the Red Sea port city of Aqaba. The rockets were allegedly fired from the Sinai Peninsula and may have been targeting the neighboring Israeli city of Eilat. There were no deaths or injuries.

  • On August 2, Aqaba again came under rocket attack from the Sinai. Several rockets hit both Eilat and Aqaba, causing one Jordanian fatality and injuring four others.

Local and international media also announced the deaths or arrests of several Jordanian nationals participating in terrorist activities overseas:

  • In January, Jordanian al-Qa'ida militant Mahmoud Abu Zeidan was killed in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

  • In June, media outlets also reported that two Jordanian violent extremists had been killed in operations against Russian forces in Chechnya.

  • In November, local media outlets reported that al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI) had confirmed the deaths of four Jordanian terrorists in Iraq in July.

  • In December, a Jordanian national was arrested in Yemen in connection with a grenade attack against a U.S. embassy vehicle.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The first phase of the Joint Border Security Program was completed in September, including the installation of a suite of monitoring and communications equipment along a 50km stretch of Jordan's border with Syria. This border area has historically presented the highest risk of illicit infiltration and smuggling across Jordan's border and it accounted for the greatest number of interdictions by Jordanian law enforcement.

In addition, Jordanian security services remained alert to potential terrorist threats within the country and responded swiftly and effectively to counter identified plots. As a result of their vigilance, several planned attacks were disrupted prior to execution.

The State Security Court (SSC) has primary jurisdiction for terrorism cases and it maintained a substantial caseload during the year. For example:

  • In March, three men were sentenced to terms ranging from three years to life for plotting to attack Jordanian security service facilities.

  • In March, the SSC convicted six men (including one in absentia) of conspiring to attack Israeli targets during the in 2008-09 Israeli military incursion into the Gaza Strip. The five in custody received sentences of five to 15 years.

  • In September, two brothers were arrested and charged with plotting to attack foreign officials in Jordan. According to Jordanian officials, the two had already illegally acquired weapons and attempted to conduct surveillance for their planned assault.

  • In October, the SSC convicted 10 men on charges of plotting to attack U.S. individuals and facilities and planning to attack U.S. convoys engaged in resupplying multinational forces in Iraq. One plotter was sentenced to life imprisonment and the other nine received 15-year prison terms.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Jordan remedied a number of significant deficiencies identified by the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) in its mutual evaluation of Jordan, and, by November, had effectively rectified the areas of non- or partial compliance with Financial Action Task Force's core and key recommendations. Jordan implemented these improvements through royal decrees, which were binding and carried the weight of parliamentary legislation. Although the new parliament has the power to pass legislation, the decrees are permanent regardless of parliamentary action. Jordan additionally strengthened its capacity to investigate and prosecute terrorist finance cases. Enhanced legal authorities were matched by improved staffing levels and better physical infrastructure for Jordan's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The Jordanian government participated in several U.S. government-funded training courses, workshops, and technical assistance visits, and hosted a regional anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance (AML/CTF) seminar aimed at strengthening operational cooperation between regional FIUs. These efforts resulted in significant operational improvements in 2010. The first two indictments for money laundering were brought in Jordan in January and April. In both, the predicate offenses were committed outside of Jordan. One conviction has been achieved to date, involving two defendants and resulting in a sentence of three years' hard labor, a fine of 10,000 Jordanian Dinars (approximately US$ 14,000), and confiscation of the criminal proceeds. In December, Jordan initiated its first domestic prosecution under its strengthened CTF legal regime.

Regional and International Cooperation: Jordan continued to play a constructive role in the process of stabilizing Iraq and integrating it back into the Arab region. Jordan is a member of the Friends of Yemen Working Group, and worked carefully with its international partners and Yemeni counterparts to reform the country's legal and judicial framework. As co-chair of the Rule of Law working group, Jordan hosted a meeting in Amman in July.

Countering Violent Extremism: The Jordanian Government remained firmly committed to combating not just terrorist organizations, but to countering the violent ideology that motivates terrorism. The Royal Aal al-Beit Institute for Islamic Thought, under the patronage of Prince Ghazi bin-Mohammad, continued its sponsorship of ecumenical events promoting interfaith dialogue. Known collectively as "The Common Word" series (after the missive written by Prince Ghazi to Pope Benedict XVI and signed by hundreds of Islamic scholars and Imams), these events sought to promote interreligious and cross-cultural understanding. In a September 25 speech at the UN General Assembly, King Abdullah II successfully proposed UN recognition of "World Interfaith Harmony Week. These interfaith outreach efforts build upon the 2005 Amman Message.

Recognizing the key role that incarceration has played in the radicalization of many terrorists, Jordanian authorities continued their program of theological engagement with suspected radical inmates. This program employed carefully selected and vetted religious scholars and jurists to introduce or reinforce more balanced views, based upon established Islamic jurisprudence and teachings. Jordan segregated extremist prisoners in order to deny them the opportunity to spread their violent ideology among the general inmate population.

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