Re: Ma'an, Jordan in state of rebellion!!
- Dear Eric,
Great news! Thanks for all the updates.
>Here's an important story from tomorrow's Independent.
> The Jordanian city of Ma'an is still cut off.
>Al-Quds al-Arabi reports (on authority of Ma'anians
>who were in Amman but in contact with folks at home)
>that not only have the masses of the city surpised the
>security troops by the fact that they are supporting
>the Islamist "fugitives" but people are bringing
>Kalashnikovs into the streets, and the security people
>report that some of the armed "fugitives" have been
>spotted wearing black and having explosive belts
>strapped on, giving the battle with the security
>forces a Jihadi character.
>This all comes on the day that the Washington Post
>reports that the US plans to invade Iraq first from
>the west, i.e., from Jordan -- something the Jordanian
>masses would oppose most bitterly.
>Shooting of four 'martyrs' sparks anger in Jordan
>By Robert Fisk in Beirut
>11 November 2002
>In the Jordanian city of Maan yesterday, they had four
>"martyrs" to mourn: Mohammed Khalil Abu Hilala, 17,
>Mohammed Ahmed Kreishan, 20, and Omar Hamed al-Akaila,
>20, and one other, all shot down by the police and
>The men the army wanted � Mohammed Chalabi, Majdi
>Kreishan and Omar Abdul-Ghani � were still free men
>last night. But Maan, a tribal town that opposed the
>Turks during the Ottoman empire and originally
>supported the Hashemite monarchy, appeared to be in a
>state of near-insurrection.
>What is going on in Jordan? After the murder of an
>American diplomat last week, the Jordanians tried to
>arrest a number of "Islamists" in Maan, including Mr
>Chalabi, who drove away from police roadblocks and was
>shot by police while fleeing back to the city.
>He subsequently gave an interview to The Independent
>while recovering at his father's home. Mr Chalabi was
>last night reported to be in hiding while soldiers and
>policemen in the city were searching for up to 40
>In Maan, many citizens have guns and the Jordanian
>government was trying to portray the battle as a
>conflict between security forces and "armed
>smugglers". They were accused of smuggling guns and
>drugs between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, although no proof
>of this was forthcoming.
>Mr Chalabi, according to the Jordanian minister of
>information, Mohammed Adwan, had been protected by men
>carrying sub-machine guns and rocket-propelled
>grenades. Jordanian forces stormed into the city at
>midnight on Saturday.
>Tribal leaders in Maan said the government had
>demanded the surrender of the three wanted men on
>Friday and that the leaders in the city then met to
>discuss the demand. They decided, in the words of one
>of them, that "they would prefer to die rather than
>surrender the men because there would be no fair trial
>and because the men had committed no crimes."
>Previously, they said, wanted men had been tortured by
>the security police.
>In January, there was a demonstration in Maan in
>sympathy with Osama bin Laden, an event not stopped by
>the security forces, who have hitherto held little
>control in the city.
>Last night, the authorities cut all communication with
>Maan and ordered journalists to stay away from the
>city. Six members of the police and army were reported
>to have been wounded and many civilians hurt,
>according to hospital officials.
>Maan is a deeply conservative Sunni Muslim city whose
>inhabitants have previously protested at American and
>British attacks on Iraq.
>Washington's threats to invade Iraq have caused great
>anger in Jordan and have placed King Abdullah in a
>most sensitive position. Long regarded as one of the
>West's "best friends" in the Middle East, Jordan has
>to balance this friendship against a population � more
>than half of whom are Palestinian � which is strongly
>opposed to US policies in the region and towards
>America's unconditional support for Israel.
>As the United States continues to amass its forces in
>the Gulf � and talks about invading Iraq from Jordan �
>King Abdullah's position grows steadily more
>difficult. Reports from Washington that his uncle
>Hassan � crown prince until the dying King Hussain
>demoted him in 1999 � might be the Americans'
>preferred monarch for a "new" Iraq have only further
>embarrassed the monarchy.
>When Hassan turned up at an Iraqi opposition meeting
>in London earlier this year, this provoked an
>immediate statement in Amman that the prince's visit
>was "a private affair".
>A man trying to cross the Israeli border from Jordan
>was shot and killed by Jordanian troops yesterday
>although details of the incident were vague and the
>identity of the dead man unknown. Jordanians and
>Israelis have co-operated over the past decade to
>prevent infiltration by Palestinian guerrillas.
>They failed miserably when a Jordanian soldier opened
>fire on Israeli schoolchildren near the Jordan river,
>a tragedy which prompted the late King Hussein to pay
>a personal visit of condolence to the parents.
- ================= Begin forwarded message ==============
Apparently it's not over in Ma'an yet. Today the
authorities released the former al-Jazeera reporter
and his brother, a writer for a local newspaper but
the reports noted that the authorities can keep the
charges kind of "open" and re-arrest him later if they
Meanwhile, the army has been brought into Ma'an
"thousands of troops" and government reports suggest
that most of the town is now occupied. The government
claims that it's captured 25 of, I think, 40 Islamic
"fugitives" that it wanted. That's not all the
arrests; they say in total they've arrested about 50.
The Jordanian authorities say they've arrested a
number of non-Jordanians as well -- Iraqis, Egyptians,
a Syrian and an Indian -- most likely Islamicists --
as well as Jordanians there. Residents said the
Egyptians and Iraqis were arrested while trying to get
arms belonging to al-Takfir wa-al-hijra out of Ma'an.
The Syrian and Indian were arrested when they were in
the ranks of the armed fighters.
The government says all is quiet, eyewitnesses report
gunfire can still be heard, but it's nothing like the
hundreds of armed men in the streets in the last
Last night I read that al-Shalabi, the one leader who
eluded them had been captured, but I haven't heard any
more on that. Initially he was arrested in a gunfight
after some US diplomat was assassinated and the
authorities started rounding up people. Wounded,
al-Shalabi was taken to a hospital where his
supporters found him and just took him out by force.
Since then he was a "fugitive."
There's one neighbourhood, however, where members of
al-Takfir wa-al-hijrah (which also was the name of the
Islamic group that assassinated Sadat) are holed up
and refuse to surrender. The Jordanian army has been
launching air assaults there with helicopters and
gunfire is occasionally heard.
Ma'an is said to be one of the poorest cities in
Jordan, and a place where the fundamentalists are
particularly active. There are secular Arab
Nationalists active too there and they, to use the
government's language, "do not put the authentic
interests of Jordan first," -- in other words, they're
not content with a few American crumbs in return for
turning Jordan into a base from which to attack Iraq.
The government is also saying that the fundamentalists
are working with drug smuggler gangsters. Whether
that's an interesting sociological development or just
plain slander I don't know. Fundamentalists would
abhore drug use among themselves and the Muslims in
general. Also, one must remember that in a tribal or
family oriented society, poverty might drive some
members of a family to religious and/or political
activism and other family members to crime. Yet they
might all come together if attacked by the government.
According to As-Safir, the Jordanian government is
trying to make an example out of Ma'an to show what
will happen to anyone who disturbs the tranquility of
the country. Obviously they are concerned that things
might get pretty hot if the US invades Iraq,
particularly if it does so from Jordanian territory.
Iraq's parliament went into a special session at the
request of President Saddam Husayn to discuss
Resolution 1441. Saadoun Hammadi, the Speaker of the
People's Assembly, denounced the resolution as unjust
and the Foreign Affairs committee of the Assembly
recommended that Iraq reject the resolution because it
is unjust and illegal (in terms of international law),
out of keeping with past resolutions, doesn't
acknowledge what Iraq has done to cooperate with the
Security Council even though those earlier
inspections, etc., were also unjust, and because this
resolution violates Iraq's sovereignty and dignity.
Some statement was made urging President Saddam Husayn
to "do what he thinks best" regarding the response to
the resolution but the People's Assembly has
adjourned, having decided to continue the debate on
Resolution 1441 tomorrow.
The US has summoned the new Zionist defense minister
Shaul Mufaz to Washington for a briefing on America's
war plans. "As-Safir" said he was to respond to the
invitation and arrive in Washington in very early
Meanwhile, the Anadol News Agency says that a team of
25 Americans made up of CIA scum and people from the
US Departments of State and Defence are accompanying a
or the Deputy Director of the CIA, one John McLoghlin
(approximate spelling) in talks in Turkey designed to
get Turkey involved in the aggression against Iraq in
the way that the US wants.
The Zionists have martyred three Palestinians and
wounded four others (mostly children) as they plan
more aggression in response to the guerrilla attack on
a Zionist Kibbutz yesterday. In that attack a number
of guerrillas (evidently associated with the Al-Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fateh) shot
several Zionist settlers, killing five, I believe,
though more were expected to die soon since their
wounds were severe. Some of the guerrillas were
killed, but evidently some escaped. A Zionist paper
said they plan to attack the Fateh people in Nablus --
the West Bank city that they think the guerrillas came
Meanwhile Arafat has ordered an investigation into the
guerrilla raid on the Zionist kibbutz and the Fateh
leadership has disavowed any connection with the
Netanyahu, the new foreign minister designate of the
rapist state, has called for getting rid of Arafat
because he's "responsible" for the "terrorist"
Interestingly, Netanyahu, who plans to run against
Sharon in elections early next year, and who
represents at least an equally racist Jewish current,
has been holding meetings with a view to his election.
He told one closed meeting that his plan to cope with
the Zionist entity's crumbling economy involves
getting rid of the Shekel and making the US dollar or
maybe the Euro the official currency.
Well, that's the big news from over there. I think
Bush made some threatening remarks against Iraq in
connection with ... whatever today is now called ...
the former Armistice Day. (I can't remember if it's
Veterans' Day or Memorial Day.) The post office,
which was closed, flew that black and white pirate
flag -- otherwise known as the MIA flag. A stupid
gesture, since the MIA issue was a propaganda red
herring raised by Nixon to begin with and now is
completely ludicrous. After all, the USA with its
sink hole in Guantanamo and its various prisons across
the country probably holds the largest number of MIAs
in the world right now.
Well, that's pretty much the rundown. Oh, did you
ever see the photos that were leaked out showing how
the US flies its prisoners to Guantanamo? All bound
and blindfolded in a transport plane. Extremely
uncomfortable for a trip that must last about 25 to 30
hours. If you haven't seen them, I got some from an
Islamic site and can forward them to you if you remind
me of the e-mail address where you can recieve
pictures. There's a big scandal now, because the US
government is concerned about who leaked the pictures
(that were sent anonymously to a website, apparently).
Most likely it must be a soldier or else somebody that
got them from a soldier. Obviously the US authorities
are concerned about their image, though, not about the
conditions aboard the planes.
Oh, yes another interesting tidbit. When I wrote that
"appreciation" of the UN Resolution 1441 the other
day, I thought I might be going out on a limb when I
said that the inspectors might try to arrest President
Saddam Husayn for interrogation. But last night I
read in al-Quds al-Arabi that the USA correspondent
for a pro-Saudi Arabic paper asked Hans Blix
specifically about this -- whether the inspectors
would try to take Saddam Husayn into custody for
interrogation -- and he refused to comment!