Terrorist bombs ripped near simultaneously through three popular hotels in Amman in November 2005, killing dozens and wounding more than 100.
AMMAN, JORDAN – A stable Middle East country is almost an oxymoron.
I know that we tend to see the Middle East as a region roiled in unrest and violence and this reputation is much deserved. The area is awash in history where faith A fought faith B and where empires rose and fell. There is certainly enough hatred to go around. Just glance at the news on any given day and I can guarantee you that you will see at least one incident that we could see as either terrorist in nature.
In all this maelstrom of death and killing there has always appeared to be, dare I say, a bright spot? That would be Jordan, a state that is very West-friendly as well as one that made peace with Israel, indeed a rarity in that part of the world. No, it is not perfect, and it certainly has economic issues, but it has been relatively immune from the kinds of terrorism we see elsewhere in the Middle East.
And then there was November 9, 2005.
In what was clearly a coordinated attack, bombs ripped through three hotels in the capital city, Amman, killing 57 people and wounding more than 100. The Grand Hyatt, the Radisson and a Days Inn were all hit.
There was a noise, then there was silence and no one could tell what happened. I never expected something like this to happen to Jordan. This is our Jordan, and I will fight this with my every means.Nightclub owner near Grand Hyatt hotel
Although no group had claimed immediate responsibility for the attacks, suspicion immediately fell on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian leader of an Al Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, who in 2004 was sentenced, in absentia, to death by a Jordanian military court for his role in killing an American diplomat two years earlier.
In April 2004, Zarqawi recorded a statement in which he claimed responsibility for several bombing attempts in Jordan and stated his interest in attacking Jordan. “What is coming is more vicious and bitter,” he said.
Interestingly, Jordan has not seen any attacks like this since 2005. Part of this lies with the very competent security services. Here’s hoping that track record continues.