Counter-Terrorism: Jordanian Commandoes Head for Iraq


December 22, 2005: Arab and Western countries are converging in terms of the methods they use to deal with Islamic terrorism. For example, terror bombings in Egyptian vacation resorts earlier this year led the Egyptian police to discover that disgruntled Bedouin tribes in the Sinai area (near where the bombings took place) had provided people willing to offer shelter and support to the bombers. While the police rounded up many of those involved with the Islamic terrorists, they also sought to eliminate any support for Islamic terrorists. Egyptian officials sat down with local tribal and religious leaders and came up with a list of economic improvements that would make the average Bedouin less likely to help out the next group of Islamic radicals to pass through the area. The government is now building new schools and clinics, restarting some mining operations, and working on ways to build tourism in the Sinai back country. This last item can be particularly useful in countering terrorism, for the tourism pays well, and the work is easy. But most importantly, the tourists disappear real fast if there is any terrorism in the area. Never mind hearts and minds, go for the pocketbook.

In Jordan, the solution is different. Jordanians were very angry at the November 9th al Qaeda suicide bombings in Jordan. The attacks killed mostly Jordanians and other Arabs. Jordan, with hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Sunni Arabs in residence, and even more Palestinians, had been one of the few Arab nations left where most of the people approved of al Qaeda. No more. Jordanians now want revenge, and al Qaeda appears to realize this. A week after the attacks, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian who heads al Qaeda operations in Iraq, tried to persuade everyone that the attacks were actually carried out by the CIA and Mossad (Israels CIA). Nobody in Jordan believed him, and this month, a team of Jordanian counter-terrorism commandoes was dispatched to Iraq. These Jordanian special operations troops have apparently operated inside Iraq before, but it is believed that this time their mission may have more to do with Zarqawi, and those directly for the November 9th attacks.

Arab countries are also helping shut down terrorist transportation networks, by assisting European nations in busting smuggling gangs. While most of the people these gangs move, from Moslem countries to Europe, are just seeking economic opportunities, some are criminals and terrorists. The gangs kept out of trouble in Arab countries, often bribing local officials to facilitate the movement of their customers. But the current anti-al Qaeda climate, and increased hostility towards Islamic radicals in Moslems countries, have made the smuggling gangs targets wherever they operate. As a result, several gangs have been hit hard, and terrorists have lost a convenient, if expensive, way to move between countries.


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