Monday, May 02, 2022

01-May-22: A Congressional initiative sanctioning Jordan gets some Arab lobby attention

Fugitive "alleged" bomber Ahlam Tamimi has celebrity status in Jordan
New legislation introduced to the US Congress last month and centering on the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its outrageous sheltering of a fugitive terrorist has gotten some initial attention in the Arab world. 

The background is in our post of a few days ago: "26-Apr-22: New legislation seeks to hold Jordan accountable for failure to send the Sbarro bomber for trial in Washington".

In the April 18, 2022 edition of its Washington Policy Weekly, the Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) posts this:

Rep. Steube Pressures Jordan. On April 14, Rep. Gregory Steube (R-Florida) introduced legislation to HFAC (H.R.7527) that would limit assistance to Jordan until it applies the provisions of a US-Jordanian extradition treaty that he claims was signed by the two countries in 1995. Jordan disputes the claim and has not ratified the treaty. Steube wants the Jordanian government to extradite Ahlam Tamimi to the United States for her alleged role in an attack on a pizza parlor in Israel in 2001.

But just how nonpartisan is this report and those who publish it? Two key terms - "he claims" and "her alleged role" - in this very brief ACW piece cry out for some adult attention. 

First, they're right when they say that Congressman Steube claims an extradition treaty was signed in 1995 between Jordan and the United States. But he's not alone. Who else claims it? 

At least two other parties do. One is the United States Department of State. It publishes an authoritative online list it calls Treaties in Force that runs to nearly 600 pages when printed. Look for the heading "Jordan" and the sub-heading "Law Enforcement" on page 243 and there it is: 

Extradition treaty.
Signed at Washington March 28, 1995.
Entered into force July 29, 1995.

The second party is the late King Hussein, Jordan's ruler between 1952 and 1999. In a personally-signed document given to the Clinton administration as part of the making of that 1995 treaty, Hussein, the father of Jordan's present king, Abdullah II, forcefully delivered this solemn commitment on July 13, 1995:

…having reviewed the Extradition Treaty signed in Washington on March 28, 1995… [we] do hereby declare our agreement to and ratification of that Treaty in whole and in part. We further pledge to carry out its provisions and abide by its Articles and we, God willing, shall not allow its violation.

(We obtained the document last year via a successful Freedom of Information Act application.) 

King Hussein was true to his letter and did not allow the treaty's violation. In fact, it was first put into effect just one month after it came into force with the extradition to the US of a Jordanian fugitive who faced terrorism charges arising from the first bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1993.

By the time Jordanian officials started carrying out what Hussein swore would not happen - the violation of his treaty with the Americans - he was no longer alive. 

Five years ago, with his son in charge of the Hashemite kingdom, a superior Jordanian court chimed in. Less than a week after long-sealed terror charges against Jordanian celebrity jihadist Ahlam Tamimi were made public in Washington DC by the Justice Department, Jordan's Court of Cassation handed down a brief but decisive ruling that the 1995 treaty was invalid. We documented this at the time ["20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom's courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over"].

As for ACW using the term "her alleged role" when speaking of Ahlam Tamimi, they probably know that Tamimi has never denied the charges against her. She's made an obscene fetish of boasting publicly about what she did. Those outrageous 2001 murders and her unabashed taking of full credit are why she is an icon today in Jordan. a celebrity throughout the Arab world. 

Half a year ago, from the safety of Jordan's capital, Tamimi addressed a hall filled with young Turkish women and girls at an Islamist conference in Ankara. To their obvious delight, she did what has earned her wide fame: she reveled in the glory of being the person, a woman no less, who brought a human bomb to a Jerusalem pizzeria filled with children on a school vacation afternoon. 

Our daughter Malki, 15 and US citizen, was one of the many children slaughtered there that day. We wrote about Tamimi's triumphant speech here: "27-Feb-22: The Jordanian woman who bombed Sbarro has earned another title"

There's another strange term that ACW's weekly uses. It says  

Steube wants the Jordanian government to extradite Ahlam Tamimi to the United States...

but that's disingenuous. Steube evidently does want that but there's another party that ought to get mentioned here for its hard work for years trying to get Tamimi, who brags of the children she blew apart, extradited to Washington to face trial. 

Congressman Steube isn't alone in wanting Ahlam Tamimi
extradited from Jordan
And that's the US Department of Justice along with the FBI. They announced their intentions all the way back in 2017: "Individual Charged in Connection With 2001 Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem That Resulted in Death of Americans [Department of Justice]"

If the think-tank experts at the Qatar organization's Washington offices don't know the details of the long-delayed Tamimi extradition and prosecution, we can definitely help: "14-Mar-17: Sbarro massacre mastermind is now formally charged and her extradition is requested"

We have little familiarity with the work of ACW which describes itself [here] as independent and nonpartisan. But to us, it's a little startling to see this degree of political position-taking and spin in a self-described nonprofit with Section 501(c)3 tax-exempt status under the US Internal Revenue Code.

At the same time, it owns up to being an offshoot of a Qatari thinktank, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), headquartered in Doha, Qatar. The anodyne title notwithstanding, it's headed by Dr Azmi Bishara, a one-time Knesset member who fled Israel amid reports of allegations that he had passed information to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and just ahead of Israel's police who reportedly sought his help in their investigation into suspicions relating to treason and espionage

Aspects of Qatar's standing throw light on why it might want to throw shade on efforts to bring a fugitive Hamas terrorist to US justice. This extract from an important and fresh analytical piece by a respected Israeli commentator makes good sense to us:

...Recently crowned by the U.S. as a major non-NATO ally and preparing to host later this year the prestigious soccer World Cup tournament, this tiny, affluent emirate has become the primary cheerleader for Palestinian terrorism. Not only does the ruler, Sheikh Tamim [bin Hamad al-Thani], refrain from expressing any criticism of killing sprees on the streets of Israeli cities or speak out against youth turning the al-Aqsa court into a scene of violence, but he also directs his media empire led by the al-Jazeera broadcast network to pour oil onto the flames, constantly exacerbating tensions. For years Doha has been hosting and financing Hamas leadership, including many operatives involved in initiating attacks on Israel. The country has become an important link in the supply chain of terrorism... Allowed to proceed in the current mode, the combination of Qatar, Hamas and the PA is guaranteed to cause an expansion of the cycle of brutal violence inflicting pain on both Jews and Arabs. If the U.S. truly aspires to achieve a settlement of the Middle East conflict, it cannot turn a blind eye to those seeking to obstruct further progress by igniting cycles of terror and counterterror. ["A Badly Needed New Approach to Quelling the Violence", The Washington Institute - Ehud Ya'ari, April 25, 2022]  

Naturally, we will be watching to see if Rep Steube's important bill attracts less tendentious and more respectable and balanced commentary from other parts of the Arab world.

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