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3 Terror Suspects Gunned Down in Jordan
AP ^ | Tue, Apr 20, 2004 | AP

Posted on 04/20/2004 6:21:33 AM PDT by Eurotwit

AMMAN, Jordan - Police killed three terror suspects Tuesday in a shootout in the Jordanian capital, the authorities said.

Working on a tip, police stormed a hideout in east Amman where the suspects had been hiding, the police said in a statement carried by the official Petra news agency.

Police had called for the suspects to surrender, but they responded with gunfire, the statement said. The incident took place at 2:20 p.m. in the predominantly Palestinian district of Hashemi, the statement said.

"Information made available to security authorities pointed to the presence of an armed group which had plotted to carry out terror attacks," the statement added.

Two of the three men killed were foreigners, according to police.

Jordan, a moderate Arab nation with close ties to the United States and a peace treaty with Israel, has been targeted by the al-Qaida terror organization of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) and other groups.


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alqaida; jordan

1 posted on 04/20/2004 6:21:34 AM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: Dog
More action in Jordan.
2 posted on 04/20/2004 6:21:58 AM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit
Interesting. Jordan's president also cancelled his meeting with W. And the chemical plot. Looks like Jordan has seen the light and is going to be doing some cleaning up within...
3 posted on 04/20/2004 6:28:12 AM PDT by eureka! (The shrillness of the left is a good sign.....)
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To: Eurotwit
Something is up here. Makes sense why the King stayed home.
4 posted on 04/20/2004 6:28:38 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (60 Senate seats changes America. Who is your Senator?)
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To: EQAndyBuzz
He was probably afraid he wouldn't get back.
5 posted on 04/20/2004 6:30:04 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: EQAndyBuzz
Makes sense why the King stayed home.

That's what I've been thinking.

6 posted on 04/20/2004 6:31:17 AM PDT by OXENinFLA (I hope every one caught the end of BRIT HUME'S show w/ CHAPPLE.)
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To: eureka!
I'm having trouble tracking down articles about the foiled chemical attack in Jordan.
7 posted on 04/20/2004 6:36:47 AM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: Coop; Cap Huff; swarthyguy; Boot Hill; Angelus Errare
fyi..
8 posted on 04/20/2004 7:30:09 AM PDT by Dog
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To: Dog; Eurotwit
A lot of arrests and shootouts going on all of a sudden it seems.

The one in Sweden was really nice to read about (Thanks, Eurotwit, for the translation and post!) That arrest was partly from information supplied by the U.S. which makes me think that the amount of intel being gathered in Iraq has jumped enormously. Nice to see that more arrests are expected there!

While this Jordan thing is good news in itself, the whole picture is disconcerting. It would appear that the government "decapitation" was planned to roughly coincide with the secret war with Syria and Iran.
9 posted on 04/20/2004 7:41:45 AM PDT by Cap Huff
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To: Cap Huff
More info here:


Jordan Says It Foiled Attack on Capital ("bomb ...have flattened a large part of Jordan's capital")
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1121048/posts
10 posted on 04/20/2004 7:43:31 AM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: ValerieUSA
Another official told the Associated Press news agency that the three were linked to a group that had plotted to destroy government buildings with a powerful chemical bomb...BBC today

Jordan Says It Foiled Attack on Capital...AP

11 posted on 04/20/2004 7:48:15 AM PDT by Geronimo
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To: Dog; Coop; Cap Huff; swarthyguy; Angelus Errare; oceanview
The stories about Jordan breaking up this terrorist plot are long on innuendo and short on facts. Much has been made in the press about the "chemical bomb", yet (to my knowledge) no credible info has been released on the nature of the chemical agent used. Why is that?

Catching terrorists in the Middle East is a "dog bites man" story. The real story here (the "man bites dog" story) are the press reports that this attack originated in Iraq (via Zarqawi), but physically emerged out of Syria using WMD, with the implication being that the WMD came from the missing Iraqi WMD. Yet we still have zero confirmation of that fact, only the innuendo.

Several posters here on FR have been using John Loftus (via the John Batchelor Show) as a source, claiming it was VX nerve gas. If confirmed, that would be a major break in the WMD story. Despite Loftus' record for very poor accuracy and his far-left political slant (he still pushes the leftist lie that this war is about oil), I listened to the broadcast anyway. But in the broadcast he doesn't actually claim he has inside sources for saying it was VX nerve gas. He says that is his "best guess" and that it "made sense". Well, his "best guess" ranks right up alongside Debka for credibility.

I'm getting the distinct sense that this "chemical bomb" thing was either outright BS or is being way overblown.

--Boot Hill

12 posted on 04/20/2004 1:08:56 PM PDT by Boot Hill (Candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo, candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo!!!)
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To: Boot Hill
fair enough.

but, why would Jordan lie about this? what are they gaining from floating this story, if indeed it is untrue?
13 posted on 04/20/2004 1:11:37 PM PDT by oceanview
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To: Boot Hill
outright BS or is being way overblown.

OK, but any reason as to why? Make the security people look good? Create a trail to Damascus?

14 posted on 04/20/2004 1:19:14 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: oceanview
"why would Jordan lie about this?"

You're asking me to read their minds, but there is a tendency among some security forces to hype their exploits and successes. Once they had excitedly claimed that the terrorists had planned a "chemical bomb" that "could have killed 20,000", it was hard to retract and the press loved it and ran with it.

Since you asked me to speculate, my guess would be that the claim originated from a reporter talking to a low-level, on-the-scene source, within Jordanian security and the higher-ups were too embarrassed to change the story later, as the facts became clear.

--Boot Hill

15 posted on 04/20/2004 1:29:25 PM PDT by Boot Hill (Candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo, candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo!!!)
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To: swarthyguy
see #15

--Boot Hill
16 posted on 04/20/2004 1:30:41 PM PDT by Boot Hill (Candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo, candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo!!!)
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To: eureka!
Two of the three men killed were foreigners, according to police.

What does that mean?

17 posted on 04/20/2004 1:32:31 PM PDT by Howlin
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To: Howlin
aQ imports would be my guess....
18 posted on 04/20/2004 1:41:21 PM PDT by eureka! (The shrillness of the left is a good sign.....)
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To: Boot Hill; All; Dog; Dog Gone; Coop; FairOpinion; JustPiper; ganeshpuri89; Luis Gonzalez; ...
I think that the story was accurate as it was originally stated, though I agree that elements of it are being distorted.

Right now, we've had four sources for this story:

* a letter from King Abdullah to General Khair

* BBC

* al-Hayat

* AFP

* interview between King Abdullah and the San Francisco Chronicle

From that, the following appear to be the facts at hand, with my analysis as follows:

1. Zarqawi was the mastermind.

Makes sense, Zarqawi is originally a Jordanian national who was incarcerated and presumably tortured there from 1992-1997, which is when he met Abu Qatada in prison and became radicalized. The original purpose of his al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Tawhid, is the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy.

Similarly, Zarqawi's involvement in a chemical weapons plot would be quite in keeping with his previous behavior. From 2002 onwards his name has surfaced in connection with every major al-Qaeda chemical weapons plot and this excerpt in particular from the 2002 Patterns of Global Terrorism would seem to indicate the full scale of his ambitions:

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2002/html/19988.htm

"In the past year, al-Qaida operatives in northern Iraq concocted suspect chemicals under the direction of senior al-Qaida associate Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi and tried to smuggle them into Russia, Western Europe, and the United States for terrorist operations."

2. They planned to use a chemical bomb to take out the Jordanian intelligence HQ.

The General Intelligence Directorate (GID or Dairat al-Mukhabarat if you prefer the Arabic) is definitely one of the key pillars of King Abdullah's government. Unlike its Western counterparts, GID has no qualms about conducting domestic surveillance of suspected terrorists and they helped to suppress the riots in Maan back in 2002 that followed the killing of a US diplomat in Amman. Taking them out would all but decapitate Jordan's ability to neutralize al-Qaeda in the Kingdom.

Failing that, the GID is currently assisting the US by performing "coercive interrogations" on high-level al-Qaeda operatives according to US News and World Report in June 2003. Previously the US has relied on the Egyptians and the Saudis to perform these duties, but since 9/11 and questions over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict both nations have fallen out of favor, leaving the GID to pick up the slack. If Zarqawi took them out, he may have figured that he could have rescued some of his comrades-in-arms from US custody.

Al-Hayat claims that the intended bomb in question was recovered with a car that was intercepted 75 miles from the Syrian border and that the car also contained poison gas. No identification was provided as to the composition of the gas, but the 2 al-Qaeda members who were captured with it said that it was going to be used to hit the "seat of the Jordanian government," a possible reference to King Abdullah's palace, as well as the US embassy.

An anonymous Jordanian official confirmed the thwarted gas attack against the GID HQ to AFP, while another told the BBC that they believe that the terrorists also planned to hit the prime minister's office.

3. Car bombs from Syria

Al-Hayat also reported that 3 cars had been intercepted from Syria at the end of March containing explosives, chemicals, and weaponry that were going to be used to target a Jordanian military base. This is NOT the same as the other car that was intercepted with actual poison gas, though a lot of people are conflating the two and further muddying the water. The existence of the car bombs was confirmed by the head of the GID at the beginning of April.

Like the GID, the Jordanian military is another pillar that keeps King Abdullah in power. Assuming the al-Hayat story claiming that those captured with the 3 car bombs wanted to kill everything within a 1-kilometer radius, they could have dealt a severe blow to the Jordanian troops stationed in Amman and possibly thrown them into enough disarray to take control of the city.

4. Abdullah's interview

King Abdullah told the San Francisco Chronicle that al-Qaeda is still very effective and his security services captured 5 trucks loaded with 17.5 tons of explosives that were intended for use in a car bomb attack on the prime minister's office in Amman. With Abdullah out of the country, the prime minister is effectively the regent, so killing him would have dealt a severe blow to the Jordanian government.

Abdullah also said that he had asked for the assistance of European anti-terrorism experts to help his people with the investigation. He said the trucks also came from Syria, though he was certain that al-Assad wasn't involved in the plot. Calling in the Europeans is interesting, because if true it might imply that his people found something that they have neither the facilities or expertise with which to analyze.

5. The letter to General Khair

King Abdullah sent a letter to Leftenant General Saad Khair, the head of GID, on April 12 thanking both his agency and God for thwarting an attack that would have killed thousands. The letter, near as I can tell, was designed solely for internal consumption, given the kind of rhetoric used in it (for example, the reason given for Zarqawi's intention to attack Jordan is its strong support for Arab causes).

Based on this, it looks like we have 3 separate terrorist attacks that were thwarted and that more than a few people are conflating them together - keep in mind that al-Qaeda likes to launch multiple simultaneous attacks as part of their MO.

In reply to Boot Hill's question:

"Much has been made in the press about the 'chemical bomb,' yet (to my knowledge) no credible info has been released on the nature of the chemical agent used. Why is that?"

Judging from King Abdullah's statements, I'd say that the Jordanians are waiting for the Europeans to analyze it before getting back to us on this one. In addition, Jordan does not exactly allow a free rein as far as the press is concerned with regard to security issues and the authorities there may not wish to start a panic, which may explain why only foreign news media have picked up the story rather than the big Jordanian papers like al-Rai and the like have been completely silent on this issue.

"Catching terrorists in the Middle East is a 'dog bites man' story. The real story here (the 'man bites dog' story) are the press reports that this attack originated in Iraq (via Zarqawi), but physically emerged out of Syria using WMD, with the implication being that the WMD came from the missing Iraqi WMD. Yet we still have zero confirmation of that fact, only the innuendo."

We have zero confirmation that the poison gas in question reported in al-Hayat even came from Syria - car and truck bombs certainly did, but there's been no word with regard to where the car containing the poison gas came from. An alternative view might just as well be that it came in from the Syrian or Ard es-Sauwan deserts from western Iraq, though nobody wants to talk about that since a good chunk of the conservative commentariat has already concluded that all of Saddam Hussein's missing WMD was shipped to Syria, just as some still hold to the position that bin Laden is dead. I think that this is honestly just a case of facts being placed within pre-constructed ideological framework rather than any hard proof.

More to the point, even if the poison gas did come from Syria, that still doesn't make it Iraqi in origin. Syria has its own WMD program and al-Qaeda has its own WMD chief, Midhat Mursi, who is quite capable of making all manner of nasty things quite independent of state support. Mursi was the one who created the now-infamous videotape of dogs being gassed in Afghanistan that CNN obtained.

As far as Zarqawi's location goes, the US thinks he's in Fallujah right now but we know that he was back in Iran in December.

John Loftus has zero credibility IMO. It may well be VX, but it could also be sarin or cyanide gas as well, both of which we know that Ansar al-Islam was making at Sergat and Khurmal in northern Iraq prior to the war.

Funny you should mention Debka, as they go even further into claiming that this was a joint operation between al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to topple the Hashemites.
19 posted on 04/20/2004 2:18:24 PM PDT by Angelus Errare
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: Angelus Errare
Thanks for your excellent analysis of this complicated situation. It's a great service to those of us who are following these events closely.
21 posted on 04/20/2004 2:27:32 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Cap Huff
" It would appear that the government "decapitation" was planned to roughly coincide with the secret war with Syria and Iran."

What secret war?

22 posted on 04/20/2004 2:33:01 PM PDT by blam
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To: Angelus Errare
BUMPing!
23 posted on 04/20/2004 2:36:22 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: blam
I'm assuming he's referencing the Iranian involvement with Sadr as well as the 300 or so well-organized fighters that our troops fought off at Qaim recently. Both of these incidents are more or less acts of war if we truly want to be technical about it.
24 posted on 04/20/2004 2:49:19 PM PDT by Angelus Errare
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To: Angelus Errare
Okay, got it. Thanks.
25 posted on 04/20/2004 2:51:15 PM PDT by blam
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To: Angelus Errare
"We have zero confirmation that the poison gas in question reported in al-Hayat even came from Syria..."

Actually, the fact is that we have no confirmation that there was any poison gas at all, and that was the thrust of my post. If there had been a large amount of a serious chemical weapon found, such as sarin, tabun, soman, VX, etc., that would be a major developement and we would heard some kind of confirmation by now.

To clarify, I don't generally consider the use of cyanide gas to be an effective chemical agent of mass lethality ("could have killed 20,000") when dispersed in open areas via a bomb. Nor would I consider the discovery of a nominal amount (say 20 pounds) of VX nerve agent to be a significant find, under these circumstances.

However, I do agree with your points 1-5.

--Boot Hill

26 posted on 04/20/2004 3:20:01 PM PDT by Boot Hill (Candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo, candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo!!!)
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To: Boot Hill
Al-Hayat claims that there was and at least some of their information regarding the car and truck bombs appears to have panned out as genuine. I don't take a lack of official confirmation as being too disturbing in this instance, given that the Jordanians may not have the facilities necessary to analyze whatever it was they found. Zarqawi's last planned round of chemical attacks was also in Europe, so the European agencies are likely to have the best hands-on experience in dealing with these folks. We have been told very, very little about the specifics of this plot even on the conventional angle, suggesting at least to me that the possibility of a Jordanian-mandated news blackout should not be ruled.

Regarding the 20,000 casualty count figure, I think that's more of an expression of the intended scale of the attack rather than any kind of a scientific figure. Everything we've seen from official Jordanian sources (including the king, and you don't get more official than that) suggests that thousands would have been killed had these attacks gone through, a definitively an indication that whatever this was, it was something major.
27 posted on 04/20/2004 4:00:08 PM PDT by Angelus Errare
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To: Angelus Errare
Your sniffer suggests that this story may, in fact, be true (about the chemical weapons), while my sniffer detects the faint odor of BS. We'll see. Actually, I'd prefer that your hypothesis be the true one.

--Boot Hill

28 posted on 04/20/2004 4:10:37 PM PDT by Boot Hill (Candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo, candy-gram for Osama bin Mongo!!!)
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To: Angelus Errare
Thanks for the excellent analysis.
29 posted on 04/20/2004 7:10:29 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: blam
Freeper Wretchard’s blog called attention to significant action along the Syrian border that has drawn scant attention in the major news media:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1119855/posts

And that was lent some support in this post:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1120537/posts

It would seem that quite a bit has been going on more or less behind the scenes.

For Angeles Errare: That is indeed what I was thinking of. "Secret war" may be over stating the reality, but IMHO the media calling recent events an Iraqi "insurgency" is perhaps understating the situation in that it totally glosses over what appears to be significant foreign involvement.
30 posted on 04/20/2004 7:37:12 PM PDT by Cap Huff
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To: Cap Huff
Thanks for the follow-up. I've been unusually busy lately and haven't stayed right on top of things ...as I like to do.
31 posted on 04/20/2004 7:56:10 PM PDT by blam
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To: Angelus Errare
Calling in the Europeans is interesting, because if true it might imply that his people found something that they have neither the facilities or expertise with which to analyze.

Or that the king doesn't completely trust his own people with the investigation.

32 posted on 04/21/2004 3:37:05 AM PDT by Coop (Freedom isn't free)
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