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Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Jordan

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 31 July 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Jordan, 31 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/501fbcb228.html [accessed 25 July 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: In 2011, Jordan remained a steadfast counterterrorism partner. In addition to its diplomatic and political assistance to the Israel-Palestinian peace process, Jordan assisted the Palestinian Authority's continued development of state institutions through its law enforcement training programs at the Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC). JIPTC-trained forces continued to earn the respect of regional actors for their success in maintaining security in the West Bank.

The Jordanian government further developed its counterterrorism capabilities and improved its capacity. At the same time, the political reform process in Jordan has initiated an open discussion of the country's security institutions, and Jordan wrestled with the challenge of making its security organizations more transparent while maintaining their effectiveness.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: Jordan remained committed to securing its borders and to denying terrorists safe haven within the country for attacks against its neighbors. Jordan completed the first phase of the Jordan Border Security Program (JBSP), a sophisticated package of sensors and barriers to help improve situational awareness and prevent illicit infiltration into Jordan or unauthorized transit out of the country. The JBSP was placed along the country's northern border with Syria, an area that has historically proven highly vulnerable to terrorist and criminal infiltration.

Jordan remained a critical partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, which also supported an expansion of the capacity of the JIPTC to provide tactical skills training courses for up to 40 ATA partner nations.

Although they faced steady domestic demonstrations throughout the country, Jordanian security services remained alert to potential terrorist threats and quickly countered identified threats. As a result of their vigilance, several planned attacks were disrupted prior to execution.

The State Security Court (SSC) is Jordan's primary judicial body for addressing national security threats. The SSC was the topic of intense public discussion and parliamentary debate because SSC proceedings were closed to the public, and some civil society organizations consider their procedures opaque. Although there was discussion of restricting the court's purview, which included certain financial and narcotics offenses, the court has retained its jurisdiction over terrorism issues. Several significant cases were adjudicated during the course of the year; for example:

  • In July, Isam Mohamed Taher al Barqawi (AKA Abu Mohamed Al Maqdisi), a leader, writer, and ideologue of considerable stature within the global terrorist movement, was convicted of providing material support to a terrorist organization, in this case the Taliban. Al Maqdisi's conviction was upheld on appeal, but those of two alleged accomplices were overturned.

  • In March, the Court of Cassation upheld the SSC's October 2010 conviction of ten men on charges of plotting to attack Jordanian and U.S. targets. One plotter was sentenced to life imprisonment and the other nine received 15-year prison terms.

The Arab Awakening encouraged Sunni extremist elements in Jordan to demonstrate openly and publicly express their political positions; their main demand has been the release of imprisoned members of the movement, and the Jordanian government did grant various forms of amnesties or pardons to a number of movement members. In April, Sunni extremist marchers clashed with police in the city of Zarqa, resulting in dozens of injuries, primarily to the unarmed police officers monitoring the initial protest march. This was followed by a crackdown that resulted in the arrests of over 170 people who were accused of either direct participation in the violence or of having ordered the confrontation with the authorities. At year's end, charges had been reduced or dismissed against many of those initially detained, but several dozen participants were still detained pending charges in the State Security Court.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Jordan is a member of Middle East North Africa Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body, and actively volunteers to host training events and activities.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Jordan is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

Countering Violent Extremism: Jordan has sought to confront and weaken the violent ideology that underpins al-Qa'ida and other radical organizations. Jordanian prisons have a religiously-based de-radicalization program that seeks to engage extremist inmates and bring them back into the peaceful mainstream of their faith. Based upon the individual needs of the inmate, this program can include basic literacy classes, employment counseling, and theological instruction.

The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, under the patronage of Prince Ghazi bin-Mohammad, is Jordan's most important center promoting religious tolerance and coexistence. This institute continued its sponsorship of a series of ecumenical events promoting interfaith dialogue, which are known collectively as the "A Common Word" series (after the letter written by Prince Ghazi to Pope Benedict XVI and signed by hundreds of moderate Islamic scholars and imams).

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