Saturday, August 27, 2005

Jordan, Canada, Mehlis, and Business

Sami Moubayed has written an excellent overview of radical Islam in Jordan and Zarqawi's place in it all. Here is a bit of it.

Until the end of 2003 there were three major Salafi jihadi outfits in Iraq: Ansar al-Islam in the north, Jaysh Ansar al-Sunna (operating between Mosul and Baghdad) and Zarqawi's network, Jamaa al-Tawhid wal-Jihad. Zarqawi's crucial and deadly business expansion in 2003-2004 happened because more than 200 Jordanian jihadis - mostly from Zarqa and al-Salt and some of them members of traditional Jordanian clans - joined him in the Sunni triangle and proclaimed him their emir.

The key cleric legitimizing their operations was also a Jordanian - Omar Yussef Joumoua, also known as Abu Anas al-Shami. This led to the now-notorious move of Zarqawi pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda in October 2004, when Zarqawi's network adopted its current denomination, al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers (Tanzim al-Qaeda fi Bilad al-Rafidayn), and Osama bin Laden recognized Zarqawi as the jihadi-in-chief in Iraq in a December 2004 audiotape.

The strategy of al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers is not Jordanian, though: it is dictated by the Saudi branch of al-Qaeda. The strategy is spelled out in a series of documents supervised by Sheikh Yussef al-Ayeeri. The most strategic of these documents is called "Iraq al-jihad, awal wa akhtar" (The jihad in Iraq, hopes and dangers). It's all there: centralized resistance in Sunni Arab cities and villages; close collaboration with Saddam Hussein's former Mukhabarat (intelligence) officers; attacks against other members of the coalition to isolate the Americans and the new Iraqi defense forces; keeping an atmosphere of chaos at all costs; and, crucially, disrupting by all means the flow of oil. Another point of the document is now becoming clear: the setting up of jihadi networks in the Shi'ite south capable of protecting Sunni minorities in case of civil war - a de facto situation considering the escalation of sectarian killings.
Another interesting article on the recent Aqaba attack is Lee Smith in Monday's Weekly Standard, entitled, "Jordan's Baathist Boom; The economy is humming, thanks to Iraqi cash." He says Syrian businessmen are helping to finance Jordan's boom as well.
Indeed, some of the cash coming in is a direct result of Syria's forced withdrawal from Lebanon. "Lots of Syrian money came after it left Beirut," says Braizat. "The Syrians are investing to escape Bashar [al-Assad's] regime."

So, what does it mean that Syria's merchant class is putting money into the coffers of the country's long-time regional rival? "If the private sector in Syria is connected to the private sector here," Braizat argues, "then this is cementing its relationship with the government here, and they don't see the [Syrian] regime surviving."
The Canadian papers are producing some interesting stories on the role of the Canadian Secret Service in sending Canadian Syrians to Damascus to be investigated. Everyone has hear of the Arar case, which has been causing an uproar in Canada. It now seems that the Canadian Secret Service didn't want to have him brought home to Canada. But the more interesting story is about Abdullah Almalki, who tells his story of being tortured at the suggestion of the Canadian governemnt for the first time. "The federal government was complicit in an international anti-terrorist operation that ultimately resulted in Canadian citizens being tortured in Syria to elicit ..."

UN's first report accused Syria of hindering Hariri investigations
The United Nations has accused Syria of delaying the work of the international investigation committee that is investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005. The accusation came in the light of Syrian refusal to provide the committee with needed documents or to let the committee interrogate certain Syrian officers,” An Nahar, a Lebanese opposition newspaper, wrote on August 26. The United States termed the Syrian refusal to cooperate with the International Committee “unacceptable.”

“The United Nations’ statement called upon Syria, without mentioning the country by name, to cooperate completely with the investigation,” An Nahar reported. Diplomats who took part in the Security Council meeting said that the report of the Committee shows that the Syrian government, unlike the Lebanese, did not cooperate. They expressed their hope that the Syrian government will cooperate like the Lebanese government in the coming few weeks. “The investigation should be finished by September 16, and the committee did not ask for any extensions, although the UN decision give the committee the ability to ask for a three-month extension,” An Nahar added.

“US sources said if the committee reaches the conclusion that Syrian officials are involved in the assassination of Hariri, the international community will move against Syria through the Security Council,” An Nahar reported. Reports say that France has mentioned Syria by name in the first draft of the Security Council report regarding the investigation, but some countries like Russia and Algeria refused to name Syria in the report. “The International Investigation Committee will meet with Syrian officials in Geneva in order to discuss future cooperation,” An Nahar concluded. - An Nahar, Lebanon
Kuwait has important investments in Syria -- official
DAMASCUS, Aug 26 (KUNA) -- Kuwait, in a variety of sectors, has important investments in Syria, said Friday a source from the Syria Cabinet's Investment Authority.

In a press statement, the source added that Kuwait United Investment Company (KUIC), established by a Kuwaiti-Syrian committee, played a great role in establishing a variety of projects in Syria through a capital of USD 200 million.

He added that investments are not limited to KUIC, as there are other firms and individuals establishing a number of projects.

While Turkey has 12 projects in Syria, both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia come second with seven projects in industry, transportation and agrigulture.

Through ownership or partnership with foreigners or Arabs, he explained that 27 projects were established since Syria has issued its 10th investment law in 1991, adding that 12 of these ventures were established by Arab investors.


At 8/28/2005 08:03:00 PM, Blogger SYRIA said...



Scratches the surface to see what's really going in Syria's political life.


At 8/28/2005 11:08:00 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

Two comments on these two articles:

1) the Weekly Standard article on Jordan's economy illustrates the journalist's tendency to rely on what people ("locals") tell him/her rather than to look at or understand the readily available data. Local wisdom overstates the role of Iraqi money. Far more important to Jordan's boom has been its unprecedented growth in exports as well as major financial assistance from the US and from Saudi Arabia (free oil). Iraqi and Syrian money may play some secondary role, but this money is attracted to Jordan for the same reason other investment is: because Jordan's economic policies have favored investment and growth that have raised living standards.

2) In contrast, Syria's 27 (count em) investment "projects" since 1991! What a joke. All this report says is that the government of Syria has "licensed" investments, not that any of these have actually been implemented and produced returns for the Syrian economy and people. Syria's economic policies oppress people and investors (who are people) and favor corruption. The results are plain to see.

The link between these two articles is the obvious demonstration to anyone who walks down the street in Aleppo say (Syria Looks), or Amman (Yazeed's photos), that economic policies make a difference!

At 8/28/2005 11:10:00 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

here are yazeed's photos

At 11/10/2005 05:04:00 PM, Blogger Troy Dunn said...

I wrote a poem about the bombing. You can read it here:

Jordan Terror

At 1/16/2008 11:39:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

The setting up of jihadi networks in the Shi'ite south capable of protecting Sunni minorities in case of civil war automatically increases the possibility of escalation of sectarian killings and exposes the real image of terrorism.

At 1/16/2008 11:46:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

The setting up of jihadi networks in the Shi'ite south capable of protecting Sunni minorities in case of civil war amounts to a full blown case of terrorism and further escalation of sectarian killings.


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