Hummam al Balawi, a Jordanian informant pulled off the worst attack against the CIA in over 25 years. Balawi, a trusted informant of the General Intelligence Department was recruited by the CIA to try and infiltrate the higher circles of AL Qaeda and help in the capture of Al Qaeda’s second most important man, Aiman al Thawahri. Balawi, however, had kept his allegiance to Al-Qaeda all along, and in a suicide bombing, he killed 7 top CIA officials along with his Jordanian GID supervisor, Sharif Ali Bin Zeid, a distant member of the royal family.
The repercussions of this attack have been staggering. Besides resulting in immense embarrassment for both the CIA and the Jordanian government, it raised too many questions to be answered.
Should Jordan be helping the CIA in their war against terror? Some say after the Amman bombings in 2005, we had no choice but to enter such a war, while others argue that fighting a war alongside the US will only drive more people into Al Qaeda . One cannot ignore the similarity to the US’s decision to fight the war against terror in Iraq after the 9/11 bombings.
Even after the Amman bombings, more than 30% of the Jordanian population was actually pro-Qaeda, and if the Sharif Bin Zeid wasn’t one of the victims, the majority would’ve idolized Al Balawi and considered him a hero.
I have no answers on what stance we should be taking, but whatever it is, Jordanians need to be made aware of it. How can Jordan fight a war against al-Qaeda if there’s a not-so-small percentage of Jordanians who are actually supporting them? Just the past week a Jordanian fighter in the Taliban was killed in an American military operation. The government says of its involvement in Afghanistan as “finding the root of where terrorists plot and stopping them there”. While that is legitimate, it is also pointless if there are terrorists in the making right here. It is time for the government to address the mentality that defends terrorism, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist.
1) Shooting Your Foot: Jordan’s Afghanistan And CIA Connection (Black Iris)
2) Humam Balawi Video Surfaces On Al Jazeera & Other Notes From Jordan (Black Iris)
3) Photo Of The Moment | Jordanian Taliban Fighter Mahmoud Zeidan’s Funeral Contrasts (Black Iris)
4) Islamists Press Jordan to Stop Aiding U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (New York Times)
5) Jordan emerges as key CIA counterterrorism ally (Washington Post)
6) هل يؤيد الأردنيون “القاعدة”؟ (Alghad)