Sunday, November 10, 2019

09-Nov-19: Another delegation from US Congress at Jordan's royal court. Did extradition come up?

That's Congressman Adam Smith (second from left) with Jordan's king
in the Jordanian royal palace this past Thursday [Image Source]
This post looks at yet another US Congressional delegation to fly into Jordan and meet with its king - the third such high level political mission in the past month.

As bereaved parents battling for years to get the criminally-indicted fugitive bomber who led the attack on a pizzeria sent to trial in Washington [see "20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom's courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over"], we pay close attention to which American politicians visit Jordan.

The following account comes from the website of Jordan's embassy in Washington DC, and originates with Jordan's Royal Hashemite Court:
His Majesty King Abdullah, on Thursday [November 7, 2019] at Al Husseiniya Palace, received a US House of Representatives delegation, headed by Representatives (sic) Adam Smith, to discuss the strategic partnership between Jordan and the United States, and the latest regional developments.
During the meeting, attended by His Royal Highness Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein, King Abdullah expressed Jordan's appreciation for the support provided by the United States in development and defence, emphasising the important role of Congress in this regard.
The meeting also covered efforts to reach political solutions to crises in the Middle East and restore security and stability to the peoples of the region, as well as regional and international efforts to counter terrorism within a holistic approach.
For their part, members of the congressional delegation underscored the strength of US-Jordanian ties and keenness to bolster them in various fields, expressing appreciation for Jordan’s role, led by His Majesty, in promoting peace and stability in the region.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination Bisher Khasawneh, Adviser to His Majesty for Policies and Media Kemal Al Nasser, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Maj. Gen. Yousef Hneiti attended the meeting.
We reached out to Rep. Adam Smith's office yesterday, asking four questions. We have gotten a "we're onto it" letter today but nothing of substance. We're waiting.

Image Source: Aljazeera
A Democrat, he's an important figure, serving currently as U.S. Representative for Washington's 9th congressional district and since earlier this year as chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

We sent similar questions to the office of Rep. Jason Crow (Democrat - represents Colorado's 6th congressional district) who visited the king in Jordan on October 6, 2019 [see "08-Oct-19: Again: Jordan's inscrutable US relationship"]. No one from his office has troubled to reply. We have made numerous attempts.

We sent similar questions as well to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Democrat - represents Caliifornia's 12th district) who headed a large and senior delegation to Jordan two weeks ago ["19-Oct-19: House Speaker Pelosi led an official visit today to the chief protector of our child's killer"].

Speaker Pelosi's group included (in alphabetical order by surname to avoid offending anyone's pride):
Congresswoman Susan Davis (Democrat CA-53 and "one of the House Armed Services Committee’s most senior members"); Rep. Eliot Engel (Democrat; chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; represents New York's 16th District); Rep. Ron Kind (Democrat; represents Wisconsin's 3rd District; member of the House Ways and Means Committee); Congresswoman Elaine Luria (Democrat; represents Virginia's 2nd district; a member of the House Armed Services Committee); Rep. Stephen Lynch (Democrat - represents Massachusetts's 8th District; currently chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security which is a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform); Rep. Adam Schiff (Democrat - represents California's 28th district; chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence); Rep. Bennie Thompson (Democrat - represents Mississippi's 2nd District; currently chair of the House Homeland Security Committee); Rep. William "Mac" Thornberry (the only Republican in the group; represents Texas' 13th District; ranking member in the House Armed Services Committee which he chaired for four years until January 2019).
No response to our numerous messages to each of the members of the Pelosi delegation has been received. None. Not even an acknowledgment.

We expect a higher degree of transparency and responsiveness from Congress people doing the business of the nation when calling on foreign leaders.

And that's before we start trying to explain to people how soul-destroying it is to be a bereaved family trying to bring a child's confessed killer to justice and running into endless US government roadblocks. Our murdered child, Malka Chana Roth, was fifteen and a US citizen when her life was stolen from her in the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. The mastermind of that Hamas-inspired barbarism lives free as a bird in Jordan under the confounding protection of Jordan's autocratic king and his law courts.

We're also deeply irked by the total absence (as far as we can tell) of US push-back by members of Congress in general and particularly these representatives, all of them, to Jordan's brazen conduct in asserting that a key treaty with its most important foreign partner is somehow void - not only now but from thhe day in 1995 it was signed by King Hussein (the father of Jordan's current king) and President Bill Clinton.

The US State Department, which was curiously silent on the matter till exactly a week ago, now says publicly and for the record that
In 2018, Jordan continued to cite a court ruling that its constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals. The United States regards the extradition treaty as valid. [Source: Latest annual edition of State Department Country Reports on Terrorism (Published November 1, 2019) at page 135. For our commentary, see "03-Nov-19: In Washington, a step towards bringing the Sbarro bomber to justice"]
If and when we hear something substantive from Rep. Adam Smith's office, we plan to report it here.

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