Camp Chapman attack and the Blame Game

The Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate, a rather mysterious intelligence organization, is becoming the subject of much talk post the Camp Chapman attack, occurring on December 30th, 2009.

People are shocked that the suicide bomber responsible for the attack came into the base without the routine security measures. The attacker, currently identified by the CIA and western sources as Humam al-Balawi (though Jordanians call for more investigation), is responsible for the death of eight, among them Sharif Ali bin Zeid, a GID official.

U.S. sources say that al-Balawi was a Jordanian “double agent”, initially an extremist Islamist sympathetic to al-Qaeda, but ‘turned’ into a GID “agent” and informant. Taliban-related sources call him a “triple agent”, who was ultimately motivated to serve Taliban/al-Qaeda.

As such, public opinion of the of the GID, or, “the Jordanians”, as they are referred to, is becoming more negative. Many with little background on the history of GID-CIA anti-terrorism cooperation would call for less trust by the CIA/Americans towards the GID/Jordanians.

UPI states, however, that Jordanian officials stress that al-Balawi was not a Jordanian agent, but instead a trusted informant. Supposedly, al-Balawi has had a history of reporting reliable data. As such, the GID vouched for his integrity (information wise).

Nevertheless, should the GID be embarrassed? Sure. They do hold part of the responsibility; they probably didn’t watch al-Balawi as closely as they should’ve.

However, saying the CIA should be more questioning of GID contributions would do more harm than good.

David Ignatius, Washington Post journalist and author of “Body of Lies”, clarifies that the CIA probably should have been more weary of its own protocols. CBS News states that – in many ways – it was the CIA’s own problem that it let down its guard.

So why do I say that questioning GID contributions to the global operations against worldwide terrorism is harmful? Well, because the GID has, in the past, proved to be an invaluable source. Jordanian intelligence was responsible for thwarting the millennium attack plots, warning the CIA about the 9/11 attacks, etc.

The GID also are acclaimed worldwide for their intelligence abilities. David Ignatius mentions a CIA offer who said “He set the standard for how we do it”, of Sa`ad Kheir, a former GID official. Also referenced by Ignatius is George Tenet, former CIA director, saying the GID was the most helpful intelligence service against al-Qaeda.

Some Jordanians or Arabs might be discomforted by what I say, because they might view my apparent approval of “GID-CIA cooperation” as a sign of blind pro-Westernism, or going against ‘Arabism’, our culture, or political causes. As such, I’ll make it clear that the reason I approve of such ‘cooperation’ is because – as far as I understand, currently – the nature of such cooperation revolves around fighting worldwide terrorism. We Jordanians fell victim of the November 9th attacks in 2005, orchestrated by al-Qaeda-Middle East and al-Zarqawi. So, we should especially understand that, when it comes to networks such as al-Qaeda or Taliban, or attack plots that can endanger the lives of civilians, we have a human responsibility to cooperate with whoever capable to combat it.

  • Nayef

    Eyas I suggest reading “Collusion across the Jordan”. We all know our regime has never helped the Palestinians. Neither the ones living in Palestine nor the ones living in Jordan.

    We all know how pro-Israeli our country has been ever since 1948.

    The posts are very pro-Jordaninan government.

  • Nayef

    Eyas I suggest reading “Collusion across the Jordan”. We all know our regime has never helped the Palestinians. Neither the ones living in Palestine nor the ones living in Jordan.

    We all know how pro-Israeli our country has been ever since 1948.

    The posts are very pro-Jordaninan government.

  • But how does that relate to the topic at hand? I never mentioned palestine. And I sure as hell would be surprised if the GID did anything of value to the palestinians, but how is that relevant?

    Only two arguments are referred to here:
    1. GID-CIA cooperation should be viewed as a terrorism-related activity, mainly because Jordan’s history (starting from the ’70s)
    2. It is in the CIA’s best interest to continue seeking GID help.

    I cannot see how, in any imaginable way, is Jordan helping Palestinians relevant.

    For my “pro-jordanian government posts”. You are mixing two things up.
    – My view of a peace treaty, negotiations, and the status of the Palestinian state is something coming from strong personal opinions, that I indeed backed up with a lot of reading. This is not a blind pro-jordanian government opinion, and if you read my post about “More thoughts on the Arab-Israeli Conflict”, as well as thoughts on the Gaza War, the Wall, the Goldstone report, etc. you’ll understand where I’m coming from (hopefully)
    -I advocate the image of Jordan, in which certain events are greatly taken out of proportion on the expense of others. That, for instance, was the topic of the previous post.

    And I’m glad you see the corruption in our regime and how it failed to assist palestinians in every step of the way. But don’t disregard the corruption on the other side of the conflict, namely that of the “sole representatives” of the Palestinian peoples, and what their attitude to our regime was.

    I consider myself extremely pro-Palestinian. I just disagree with you on how the conflict is to be solved. I also disagree with you in basic evaluation of what is “right” and “wrong” in this conflict, and what is “best” and what would be “bad”. I am pro-peace, pro-compromise at this point. You can call me pro-failure, anti-cause if you want to (and I’d disagree then), but give me the credit by realizing that I say what I say because of what I believe, and not because of what the Jordanian government believes (for your sake, I might end up writing how I disagree with th e government, in fact). And neither do I believe what I believe because the Jordanian government believes it, or wants me to believe it. More on that, soon.

  • But how does that relate to the topic at hand? I never mentioned palestine. And I sure as hell would be surprised if the GID did anything of value to the palestinians, but how is that relevant?

    Only two arguments are referred to here:
    1. GID-CIA cooperation should be viewed as a terrorism-related activity, mainly because Jordan’s history (starting from the ’70s)
    2. It is in the CIA’s best interest to continue seeking GID help.

    I cannot see how, in any imaginable way, is Jordan helping Palestinians relevant.

    For my “pro-jordanian government posts”. You are mixing two things up.
    – My view of a peace treaty, negotiations, and the status of the Palestinian state is something coming from strong personal opinions, that I indeed backed up with a lot of reading. This is not a blind pro-jordanian government opinion, and if you read my post about “More thoughts on the Arab-Israeli Conflict”, as well as thoughts on the Gaza War, the Wall, the Goldstone report, etc. you’ll understand where I’m coming from (hopefully)
    -I advocate the image of Jordan, in which certain events are greatly taken out of proportion on the expense of others. That, for instance, was the topic of the previous post.

    And I’m glad you see the corruption in our regime and how it failed to assist palestinians in every step of the way. But don’t disregard the corruption on the other side of the conflict, namely that of the “sole representatives” of the Palestinian peoples, and what their attitude to our regime was.

    I consider myself extremely pro-Palestinian. I just disagree with you on how the conflict is to be solved. I also disagree with you in basic evaluation of what is “right” and “wrong” in this conflict, and what is “best” and what would be “bad”. I am pro-peace, pro-compromise at this point. You can call me pro-failure, anti-cause if you want to (and I’d disagree then), but give me the credit by realizing that I say what I say because of what I believe, and not because of what the Jordanian government believes (for your sake, I might end up writing how I disagree with th e government, in fact). And neither do I believe what I believe because the Jordanian government believes it, or wants me to believe it. More on that, soon.