by Zia Sarhadi (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 38, No. 11, Muharram, 1431)
The December 30 istishhadi operation at a remote base in Afghanistan’s Khost Province achieved two vital objectives: it demolished virtually the entire crop of CIA officers operating in the field, and it blew the cover off Jordan’s deep involvement with the Americans in Afghanistan causing it huge embarrassment at home. It was the biggest blow to CIA operations in decades second only to its losses in April 1983 when the US embassy in Beirut was blown up killing more than 60 CIA operatives in the Middle East, including the agency’s station chief in Lebanon.
The bomber, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a physician, was recruited by a Jordanian officer, Captain Sharif Ali bin Zeid, a relative of Jordan’s king, Abdullah II. Captain Sharif worked for Jordan’s intelligence agency, the General Intelligence Directorate.
News of Jordan’s involvement in the distant war when the regime has demonstrably failed to prevent the Zionists from perpetrating horrible crimes against hapless Palestinians closer to home has shocked most Jordanians. Some 60% of Jordan’s population is Palestinian. The Jordanian agency thought they had recruited a salafi jihadist with the aim of using him to help track down Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.
Jordan’s close ties with the CIA date back to the days of the late king Husain, father of the present King Abdullah. Husain was also on the CIA payroll, according to former US president Jimmy Carter and received the paltry sum of $1 million annually. The CIA has since increased its dole to the Jordanian secret service as well as the regime, especially since the US invasion of Iraq. The Jordanian intelligence agency played a central role in the campaign against Iraqi insurgents.
Jordan’s Hashemite rulers have long harboured ambitions on Iraq since the family’s great granduncle King Faisal II, placed by the British as ruler of Iraq was murdered in 1958. His naked body was dragged through the streets of Baghdad. General Abdul Karim Kassim took over as Iraq’s ruler. The Hash-emites were agents of the British who carved a kingdom for them in part of Palestine in 1922 after they used the family patriarch, Sharif Hussain of Makkah to rebel against Ottoman rule in the Hijaz with the promise to make him the ruler of all the Arabs. The British betrayed him and placed instead another tribal chief, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, as the ruler of the Arabian Peninsula. In order to placate the two sons of Sharif Hussain, Abdullah and Faisal, the British carved a kingdom for them from Palestine and called it Trans-Jordan. The Hashemites have now become America’s agents.
The CIA’s losses in Afghanistan are particularly serious. Its agents were involved in military operations and in selecting targets for drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They operated under the cover of “aid workers.” Together with using the cover of journalists, Western spies have perpetrated horrible crimes in Muslim societies. That is why most Muslims are weary of Western journalists, aid workers and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While not everyone may be a spy, the fact that spies use the cover of such agencies makes Muslims weary of all of them. The CIA’s murderous operations in Afghanistan clearly confirm the Muslims’ suspicions.
In a bold move, a number of leading Islamic groups in Jordan have called on the regime to stop its support of the Zionist enemy and US intelligence agencies killing innocent people in Afghanistan. In a statement issued on January 13, the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen in Jordan, the Islamic Action Front and a number of other Islamic organizations demanded that Jordan immediately withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.
Hasan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian analyst of Islamic groups, said “Most Jordanian people do not even know that there are Jordanian forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and this itself created a shock.” People have asked what are Jordanian forces doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said.
Many Jordanians have expressed support for al-Balawi’s action, and he has been lionized on Islamic websites where he wrote under the pen name, Abu Dujana al-Khorasani. The Jordanian intelligence officer, Captain Sharif al-Zeid had tried to recruit al-Balawi while the latter was in prison, for the CIA. While Zeid was given a state funeral with full military honours, the regime announced that nobody should offer condolences to the family of Dr. Balawi.
Most Jordanians dismissed this call with contempt knowing full well that the regime is subservient to Muslim enemies. This was accurately captured by the Islamic groups’ statement titled “It Is Not Our War,” in which they wrote, “We demand an end to the policy of… cooperation or security coordination with the Zionist enemy or the American intelligence agencies, and the withdrawal of Jordanian forces from Afghanistan.”
Former patients of Dr. Balawi spoke highly of him describing him as “respectful” and “nice.” Muhammad Abu Tuba, 72, a diabetic in the Hittin Palestinian refugee camp in Rusaifah, said he was the best doctor he had ever had. He also supported Dr. Balawi’s attack. “In our religion if you occupy one inch of Muslim land, you must follow the road of martyrdom,” he said.
While the regime has tried to justify its involvement in Afghanistan under the label of fighting terrorism, most Jordanians have asked why it has failed so miserably to stop Zionist state terrorism against hapless Palestinians that is much closer to home.