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Hawkish approach and national security
By Dr Musa A Keilani August 09, 2010
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THERE is no sure-shot solution to threats against the national security of any country because many known and unknown elements are at play. As of now, we do not know who was behind last week’s rocket attack that killed one Jordanian and injured four others at Aqaba. Initial reports said explosions of several rockets were heard in Eilat, but it appears that the Israeli resort was not the target of the attacks.

From the very outset, Jordan said the rocket that hit Aqaba had come from the Sinai, but Egyptian officials rejected it, citing “technical” impossibilities for militants to mount such attacks from the heavily patrolled area.

Two days later, an Egyptian security official confirmed having found remains of a rocket in Taba and implicitly confirmed Jordan’s assertion.

For all we know in the public domain is that up to five or even six rockets were fired at Aqaba and some of them fell in the sea.

Some reports in the Israeli media suggested that projectiles were also fired at the headquarters of the US-led observer force that is monitoring the Egyptian-Israeli border under the terms cited in the 1979 Camp David agreement.

The Egyptian government has not made any comment on the rocket attacks, leaving it to an “unidentified security official” to make any clarification.

Notwithstanding the declaration by the “security official” that Egypt would not allow its territory to be used by militants, we need better regional co-ordination in order to pre-empt threats against us. Indeed, there could be behind-the-scene co-ordination between Egyptian and Jordanian security forces, but the Jordanian public need to know what are the possibilities of any future attacks emanating from Egyptian territory.

Jordan was among the first victims of the remnants of the so-called Arab Afghans who fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan that ended in the late 80s and who constituted the Al Qaeda group.

Jordan was familiar with the name Al Qaeda much before the rest of the world ever heard of the existence of such a group.

The kingdom was the target for a consistent campaign of bombings and attempted attacks, which were thwarted thanks to our vigilant security forces.

We retain the painful memories of the November 2005 bombings at three Amman hotels that killed more than 60 people and wounded more than 120 people for which an Al Qaeda claimed responsibility.

Nov.9, 2005 attacks were indeed Jordan’s 9/11.

We also remember that in April this year two rockets struck in and near Aqaba

Five years earlier, three Katyusha rockets were fired in Aqaba, missing two American warships docked in the port but killed a Jordanian soldier.

Jordan was and, it now appears, remains in the gunsights of militants if only because it follows a principled policy of moderation and belief in dialogue as the only means to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict, at the core of which is the Palestinian problem.

Effectively, it is Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian territories and refusal to accept a fair and just peace agreement with the Palestinians are the reasons for the threats against Jordan.

However, that does not mean that the country would remain passive to threats to its national security.

We do take heart from Prime Minister Samir Rifai’s vow that Jordan would hunt down whoever is behind the targeted campaign against the country.

We are sure our security forces would come up with clues to pinpointing the assailants and we do expect and hope for close Egyptian co-ordination in this context.

In the meantime, notice has to be served on Israel that is aggressive policies and hawkish approach to the Palestinian problem are destabilising the region. It is not something new, but Jordan could no longer tolerate the situation.

Israel should be told in no uncertain terms that it should not take for granted that the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan meant that the kingdom went out of the equation. We the Jordanians are paying the price for Israel’s actions, and we are not willing to let the situation continue.

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