Long arm of Iraq reaches dissidents in Jordan

THE assassins who on Monday gunned down an Iraqi nuclear scientist clipped two other targets in Amman. They have reminded the few thousand Iraqis living in Jordan, or those temporarily in Amman seeking visas for asylum in the West, that the arm of the Iraqi authorities is long and merciless towards dissidents and defectors. And they have warned the Jordanian authorities, in a most flagrant breach of Jordan's sovereignty, that Iraqi interests know no territorial bounds.

Some form of retaliation was expected from Iraq after King Hussein's statements over the autumn distancing himself from the regime of Saddam Hussein. In this the King was ahead of his subjects, whose broad support for the Iraqi people is less clearly distinguished from approval of the Iraqi regime. Indeed, the Jordanian press, which throughout the Gulf crisis took a pro-Iraqi line, repeated assertions of the Iraqi embassy in Amman that the assassins of the scientist, Muayad Hassan Naji Al Janabi, were agents of Israel's Mossad. However, the Jordanian security services said they had arrested the two suspected assassins, both Iraqi nationals, as they were about to re-enter Iraq.

The Jordanian political response has been muted. Two days after the assassination there was still no protest to the Iraqis, no hint - in public - of displeasure at an act which is extremely rare in the tranquility and security on which Jordan prides itself.

'I am sure there will be the proper responses at the proper time,' was all the Foreign Minister, Kamel Abu Jaber, could say. 'Jordan does not abide by threats,' he added.

Jordan's traditional position as a pivot between two or three opposing regional blocks is once again under examination. Having distanced himself from the Iraqis, King Hussein infuriated the Gulf Arabs with critical comments last month. Any hope of reconciliation with the Kuwaitis, the Gulf Arabs or Saudi Arabia have been set back considerably.

The consquences are both political and economic. Jordan's one international card is the peace process. But the United States administration is in limbo, and has more pressing domestic concerns to take a more active role.

Meantime, Jordan faces short to medium-term financial pressures. The arrival of up to 300,000 Palestinians evicted from Kuwait last year brought a one-off inflow of capital, fuelling a construction boom. But it has placed even greater strains on the country's infrastructure.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Polish Speaking Buying Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Superb opportunity for a BUYING...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers personalise...

Recruitment Genius: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project