Overview: Jordan remained a key U.S. ally in countering terrorism and violent extremist ideology in 2015. Jordan's location in a tumultuous region made it vulnerable to a variety of threats, yet also facilitated its regional leadership in confronting them. Jordan continued to take part in all key aspects of the Global Coalition to Counter Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) participated in coalition military operations, and the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) continued to bolster defenses against terrorist incursions in the northern and eastern border regions. Jordan continued to host U.S. and other coalition partners' military units for Counter ISIL operations and joint counterterrorism exercises and training. Jordan worked to prevent flows of foreign terrorist fighters headed to Syria and Iraq and restricted terrorism financing.

2015 Terrorist Incidents: In February, ISIL released a video of the group burning alive a Jordanian pilot captured in Syria. In November, a Jordanian police officer killed two U.S. citizen trainers and wounded two others in a shooting at the Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC) outside Amman. He also killed a South African trainer and two Jordanian interpreters. All five personnel killed were working on U.S.-supported programs at the facility. The shooter, who was killed in the incident, had recently submitted his resignation from the police. An investigation into the attack by the Government of Jordan was ongoing at the end of 2015.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The State Security Court (SSC) is the primary legal apparatus for trying and convicting alleged terrorists. The SSC oversees the prosecution of civilians charged with crimes effecting national security. The Counterterrorism Law, as amended in 2014, limits the court's jurisdiction to five crimes: treason, espionage, terrorism, drug-related offenses, and currency forgery.

The Government of Jordan used the SSC to prosecute crimes associated with terrorist activity. However, the Counterterrorism Law has a broad definition of terrorism, including: harming relations with a foreign state, exposing Jordan to hostile acts, using the internet to facilitate terrorist acts or promote terrorist ideas, forming a group with the intention of committing terrorist acts, and attacks on the life or liberty of members of the royal family. The penal code also provides a broad definition of terrorism to include acts intended to "contravene the public order."

Jordan has advanced capabilities to detect, deter, and prevent terrorism within its territory. The General Intelligence Directorate (GID) has the authority to investigate terrorism. The Public Security Directorate (PSD) has authority over non-terrorism related crimes, but frequently supports GID counterterrorism activities through PSD Special Branch, which includes a criminal intelligence function. The GID also coordinates with the JAF and its intelligence branch, particularly on cases involving border security, which the JAF oversees. Prosecutors typically are not consulted until the later stages of investigations, when terrorism cases are referred to the SSC. Jordan's security and intelligence services do not coordinate with one another in all situations, including in terrorism incident response.

Jordan remained committed to securing its borders and denying safe haven to terrorists, and continued to develop its border security infrastructure, largely through the Jordan Border Security Program (JBSP), which began in 2009. JBSP consists of a sophisticated package of sensors to improve situational awareness along the border and prevent infiltrations into, and unauthorized departures, from Jordan. Phases II and III were completed in 2015, covering most of the Syrian border and the border with Iraq. Jordan monitored airports and border crossings for potential foreign terrorist fighters. Jordan maintained a terrorist watchlist, used biographic and biometric screening, and actively engaged in passenger information sharing.

During 2015, Jordanian authorities arrested and began prosecuting men accused of seeking to join al-Nusrah Front and ISIL; recruiting for or otherwise supporting ISIL, including on the internet; and attempting to travel to or return from Syria to fight with violent extremist groups.

  • In July, authorities arrested an Iraqi man found in Jordan with 45kg of explosives. Jordanian officials believed him to be a member of Iranian-supported Bayt al-Maqdis, and charged him with plotting to attack a JAF installation.

  • In December, the SSC sentenced three unnamed defendants to 10 years in prison with hard labor for planning to attack a GID building in Ar Rusayfah with explosives, and to kill or incapacitate RJAF pilots. Jordanian officials believed the three were ISIL supporters.

  • Security officials regularly arrested scores of ISIL supporters, many for posting pro-ISIL videos or statements on social media sites. The government charged them before the SSC for using the internet to propagate terrorist ideology.

  • Security forces regularly arrested departing or returning Jordanian foreign terrorist fighters, charging them with joining armed groups, including al-Nusrah Front and ISIL.

The Government of Jordan's investigation into the November attacks targeting U.S. citizens at JIPTC was ongoing at year's end. Aside from the shooter who died in the attack, no other suspects have been named or arrested in connection with this incident.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Jordan is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Jordan's financial intelligence unit, the Anti-Money Laundering Unit (AMLU), is a member of the Egmont Group. Jordan has continued to develop its capacity to address money laundering and terrorism financing throughout 2015, which included amending the 2007 Anti-Money Laundering and Counterterrorism Financing Law, bringing Jordan more in line with international standards. However, the Anti-Money Laundering Law does not oblige non-profit organizations to file suspicious transaction reports (STRs). Although the number of STRs increased by 48 percent in 2015 compared with 2014, officials prosecuted no money laundering cases in 2015. Officials attributed the rise in STR filings to extra caution taken by the financial sector. For additional information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INSCR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Countering Violent Extremism: Jordan has sought to confront and weaken the violent ideology that underpins ISIL and other violent extremist organizations. The Prime Minister's interagency anti-extremist strategy, announced in fall 2014, remained under-resourced and unstaffed, however, and Jordan's leaders are reticent to acknowledge domestic radicalization, including self-radicalization. Jordan continued efforts to improve counter-radicalization in schools and mosques, but these efforts were rarely well-coordinated across government agencies.

King Abdullah II continued to promote his "Amman Declaration" of 2004, calling for tolerance and peace within the Islamic community, and rejecting "wanton aggression and terrorism." The Government of Jordan has also created two counter-extremist messaging entities and has become more involved in Coalition messaging efforts. The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs conducted outreach to imams and waedat (female preachers) across the country, encouraging them to refute radical extremist ideology in their sermons. Civil society organizations conducted activities at schools, universities, youth organizations, community centers, and religious centers to promote moderation and encourage the rejection of violence and community engagement in anti-radicalization efforts.

Jordanian prisons have a religiously-based de-radicalization program that seeks to re-engage violent extremist inmates into the non-violent mainstream of their faith.

International and Regional Cooperation: Jordan is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the GCTF-inspired Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law; and is a member of the Arab League, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. In April, Jordan held the presidency of the UN Security Council (UNSC), and led an open debate on the role of youth in countering violent extremism and promoting peace. In December, the UNSC adopted a Jordanian-sponsored resolution on youth, peace, and security, which focuses on the role of young men and women in peacebuilding and countering violent extremism.

Jordan continued to assist Palestinian Authority law enforcement institutions through training at JIPTC. In 2015, Palestinian law enforcement officers received both advanced-level and refresher courses, in addition to basic-level courses.


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