Jordan 2005

Asia

Yearbook 2005

Jordan. On November 9, the violence spread from Iraq to Jordan’s capital Amman, where three of the city’s largest hotels were exposed to blast attacks that killed 54 people plus the three suicide bombers. Most of the victims were Jordanians, among them many guests at a wedding party at the Radisson SAS hotel. The al-Qaeda terrorist network in Iraq, led by Jordanian Abu Musab az-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the act, explaining on a website that the hotels were attacked because Americans and Israelis often visited them. According to al-Qaeda, so many Muslims would fall victim was not the intention. All of the assailants were Iraqi, according to Jordanian records. Days after the attack, dozens of suspects were arrested, among them a woman who was married to one of the assailants and who had tried to carry out one of the assaults but failed. The attacks did not come unexpectedly. According to countryaah, Amman is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Jordan. Jordan had established itself as a relatively safe enclave for Westerners en route to or from Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. A number of people have been arrested in recent years on suspected acts of terrorism against Western and Israeli targets. On August 19, an American warship anchored in the port city of Aqaba was subjected to a rocket attack for which a group linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network assumed responsibility. King Abdullah’s Western-friendly attitude had no strong popular support, but there were indications that the many Muslim victims of the hotel attacks caused the Jordanians’ sympathies to shift. About a week after the attack, more than 100,000 Jordanians in Amman demonstrated in support of the king and in protest against az-Zarqawi.

Domestic politics was characterized by tension between the king and the conservatively dominated lower house in the country’s parliament. One tool in the power struggle became the government. In April, King Abdullah dismissed Prime Minister Faisal al-Fayez and his ministry, reportedly for not planning political reforms. al-Fayez was succeeded by former US Secretary of Education Adnan Badran, who was replaced in November by Marouf al-Bakhit, former Jordan’s ambassador to Israel. The king also replaced a number of other people in the country’s leadership with experienced faith servants with military background.

Badran paid a visit to his colleague Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Iraq on September 10, thereby becoming the first leader of an Arab country to visit Iraq since the fall of the Saddam regime in 2003.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, who was sentenced in 1992 in his absence to 22 years in prison for, among other things. embezzlement, was pardoned in May by King Abdullah.