« Talk: The Scholarly Aardvark | Main | CENTCOM and the Arab media »

April 19, 2006



AA: It is not anything but. First, the tone is apologetic. Second, there is no denial that the events took place, only that they don't know about it. Third, the possibility that renegades were responsibe is raised. This is clearly a face-saving tactic.

Your premise is that the Jordanian government made up this story to please the US administration (which is a similar charge made by Hamas earlier, before being confronted with evidence). Now they are clearly backpeddling. I think it is about time you did the same.

Batir Wardam

Logical analysis based on circumstantial evidence, but still I think we have to wait and see. My own explanation is that such an act, if really did happen may have been organized and implemneted by a Hamas-affiliated network or cells with logistic linkages with Syria and not necessarily a decision taken by Hamas leadership in Palestine. My only concern as a Jordanian is that if this weak story is fabricated it would harm the government's credibility in its fight with Jordan's real enemy: Al Qaeda. Many people may no longer believe the official statements about Al Qaeda terrorist attempts against Jordan.

the aardvark

Batir's reading makes sense: particularly given the splintering and fragmentation of Hamas (and Fatah) the last few years, the possibility of an independent cell doing something like this is always a real one. If that were the case, it would be very different from the initial claims about this being an official Hamas operation (which justified the canceling of the FM's visit).

As to who is backing off, Jordan or Hamas: the Jordanian govt seems to be the one backing down its original stance; while the Hamas position seems to be that they are accepting the Jordanian backing down and offering to check out the evidence of an independent operation. I just don't get the interpretation that Hamas saying that they don't know anything about but will check it out amounts to a Hamas backpedaling - maybe it does, but I don't see how. Who knows, evidence might come out of a real operation, but nothing publicly released that I've seen really supports it yet.

the aardvark

By the way, I actually think that the domestic concerns - about the Jordanian MB - are at least as significant as the Washington connection. The two run together, it isn't just pleasing the US here.


AA: Well, the issue of plausible deniability is also a possibility as well. Clearly, Jordan caught Hamas members doing their thing. So, what you call the backing off of the Jordanian government can be interpreted as a face saving measure. Until this announcement, Hamas was clearly winning the PR war (at least in the blogosphere). Their "accepting the Jordanian backing down" is really a loss, because a) they conceded that there was a planned terror operation which might have Hamas members implicated and b) The backed away from a winning media confrontation. The only reason they would do that is because it became clear that the evidence the Jordanian government had was compelling.

The Informer

As I've mentioned elsewhere, if someone wanted to divide the kingdom, this is a pretty good way to see where the loyalties lie. The old chestnut, "Jordan did this because it's the pawn of the USA" just doesn't fly, as the awareness of the population percentages is no secret. To inflame has never been in the kingdom's interest; it's always sought to keep a damper on the fire.

Hamas or its agents or the "Hamasist" trend in the IAF could have done this for the very reasons mentioned, to split the kingdom, as Bani Irsheid and the IAF have always wanted. "Bani Irsheid said Jordan's move against Hamas would only boost the Islamist group's appeal in a country at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict where many ordinary Jordanians, a majority of whom are Palestinians, are hostile towards Israel.

"Once it is exposed that this story has no credibility it will have the reverse effect the government intended...and will only increase the popularity of Hamas among people," he said.

Jordan has always been a country of two minds: one wanted normalization, one did not. One wanted to move forward and develop a modern nation capable of suriving without supoort, free of the rock and hard place in which it finds itself. The other wanted to continually drag conflicts across the border, be they from east, or west. If Hamas wanted to hurt Jordan, this situation, their denial and the gauntlet thrown down by the IAF is a pretty bloody good way to do that, isn't it.

The Informer

BTW Khalaf your post some while back was dead on and speaks a great deal to the reality of this situation. On Feb 11 Khalf wrote: "Interference of Hamas in Jordanian politics was a sore spot that eventually led to the clash and expulsion from Jordan. The links between the Moslem Brotherhood and Hamas are well known, and some even believe that they are fundamentally the same organization. Given the reach of the MB into Jordanian politics and society, this should be a question of extreme concern." http://ajloun.blogspot.com/2006/02/hamas-and-jordan-take-care_11.html

That's exactly the reality today.

Nur al-Cubicle

Now the news is that the alleged Hamas arms cache is filled with Syrian weapons. But lo! Zahar is on a visit to Damascus!

From AFP: "A source closse to Jordanian Security says that the most distrubing aspect of the affair is that Jordan has arrested Hamas members on charges of surveiling unidentified "vital installations". Some Jordanian observers believe that the reality behind the government claims is that Amman, a close ally of Washington and partner of Israel, is seeking a pretext to break relations with Hamas.

خضر كنعان

Thanks for the supurb analysis. I do whether Hamas did it on not is an issue here. It is obvious from your analysis the priorties of the Jordanian monarchy. There has been no evidence provided other than the pics we saw in the news paper..! why? as per the government: because the investigation is still going on. So why then cance the visit? back to your analysis.
Why the Jordanian government waite to the last minute? I believe bacuse they were waiting for an Egyptian cover..

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Blog powered by Typepad