Friday, April 21, 2006

The enablers

While the statement by the government spokesman last Wednesday about the meeting in Gaza is open to various interpretations (check the comments on that post), nobody now is arguing that the government caught Hamas members who smuggled weapons into Jordan. I feel that the Hamas' non-comment on Joudeh's latest statement and their silence on the subject since then are indicative. But, this is might be an arguable assumption.

Debate since the statement has dramatically shifted from whether the government fabricated the story to whether this is a rogue operation or was planned by the Palestinian government. Hilmi Asmar at Al Dustour suggests that maybe a third party is trying to create trouble between Jordan and Hamas. He is clearly grabbing at straws.

It would be idiotic to assume that Hamas would come out and admit that they were officially behind this operation. The rogue operation story gives everybody an easy way out. But is it true?

The essential premise behind the rogue operation story is that Hamas wouldn't be so stupid as to jeopardize their relationship with Jordan this way. This is silly. There are no relationships between the Jordanian government and Hamas, and Jordanian officials have been cool about them since their winning the Palestinian legislative elections last February. Sure there have been some protocol letters and statements, but it is no secret that the relationships between the two parties are bad. So, what would Hamas be risking? Given that large segments of Jordan's population and in the Arab world would tend to believe a Hamas denial over a Jordanian government statement (yes, they realize that), there is little risk of alienating anybody but an already antagonistic Jordanian government and whoever might believe them.

What does Hamas have to gain? First, they are in a position where they have nothing to lose. They are broke and isolated. Instigating a change to an Islamist government in Jordan would clearly help to break their financial and political isolation. Moreover, such a change would help to break the isolation felt by Syria and Iran. Iran isn't funding Hamas and Syria isn't supporting them for altruistic reasons. Only the most naïve would believe that.

So, Hamas had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The worse that could happen would that they would have to blame everything on a rogue operation. Unfortunately for them, their supporters in Jordan showed their hand too quickly and aggressively. Now it is clear that the MB is more closely aligned with Hamas than ever. They shouldn't be left off the hook, and Jordanian society should deal with these opportunists. Thier knee jerk defense of our enemies is what emboldens them in the first place. Of course, the government of Jordan, timid as ever, will let them get away with it.



At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man you logic is inaccurate.

"I feel that the Hamas' non-comment on Joudeh's latest statement and their silence on the subject since then are indicative."

False, the did comment on it - check news.

"Instigating a change to an Islamist government in Jordan would clearly help to break their financial and political isolation."

You have to be kidding....

You didn't mention the chances that the Jordanian government is pressurised by the Americans, like the American bases close to the Syrian border - being main bases for their war against Iraq.


At 11:58 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Anon: Please point to the news source showing Hamas' response to Joudeh's statement. I am very interested in seeing it.

What, you don't think that Hamas wants a regime change in Jordan which would be more accomodating to their needs? Why not?

What do you think the Americans pressured Jordan to do, exactly? Nobody is denying that the terrorists exist and they were caught, so, what exactly was Jordan pressured to do?

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Omar said...

For God's sake, give it up,

what on earth are you trying to prove; Palestinians want to kill Jordanians? Your logic isn't just naiive, it's rather intimidating.

btw, don't you feel a bit alone? it's not just that no one commented supporting you(0.01%), (except for anonymous people) man please check out some quotes!

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Omar: I wouldn't phrase it that way, by any means. The issue is not communal tension, although that is what the Islamists are pushing. Simply allowing the Islamists to deny and minimalize the danger of terror coming from Hamas does nothing to help communal relations. On the contrary, this is the most dangerous aspect of the issue (even more dangerous than the terror itself).

As for being popular, well that is only secondary to speaking out about a dangerous issue. Hiding our heads in the sand will not make the problem go away.

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: "What, you don't think that Hamas wants a regime change in Jordan which would be more accomodating to their needs? Why not?"

Simply because they are incapable. Hamas does not possess the necessary resources to, hypothetically, takeover any decision-making part in the cabinet.They already have buckets of problems at home to deal with already, hence your logic is non sequitur.

"What do you think the Americans pressured Jordan to do, exactly? Nobody is denying that the terrorists exist and they were caught, so, what exactly was Jordan pressured to do?"

Jordan was pressured to host American troops on its soil. Troops that aided the "coalition" in occupying Iraq.
Jordan was pressured not to deal/aid/support Hamas.
Jordan was pressured to sign a peace treaty with "Israel" - people got used to this fact, I personally think its shameful looking at their historic role within the region (Shareef Hussein's coalition forces against the occupying Ottoman rule, Jordan's role during the 1948 and 1967 wars, Jordan's positive social responsibility in hosting Palestinian refugees, etc...)

I am very interested in your thoughts, awaiting your reply.

PS: News source incoming.


At 12:56 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Anon: being incapable doesn't mean that they wouldn't try, especially given the desperate situation they are in.

When I asked about US pressure on Jordan, I meant somethings related to this particular case. I can give more examples than you have given, but they are irrelevent to this case.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"being incapable doesn't mean that they wouldn't try, especially given the desperate situation they are in."

Now why on God's earth would they try of they are incapable?????????????
Wouldn't they prematurely know they would fail???

Man for God's sake bakeries are closed in Gaza because of lack of resources, "Israel" completely blocked and continues to block Gaza's only terrestrial border with the outside world, "Israel" detained 4 of Hamas representatives in East Jerusalem yesterday....Hamas inherited a cabinet deficit of 700 million dollars (this with SHAMEFUL Arabic support...)You think this is the perfect time to think of any operations outside Palestine?

Hamas, since its inception, was one of the few brigades that never took the battle with "Israel" outside Palestines borders...Do you think its logical to start such a thing now?

"When I asked about US pressure on Jordan, I meant somethings related to this particular case. I can give more examples than you have given, but they are irrelevent to this case."

Obviously I cannot provide video/audio/printed footage the US pressure on Jordan. I think citing examples from the past makes my point clear that the likeliness the US pressured Jordan to come up with this fake story is high.

Thanks again.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Anon: It is not a fake story. Even Hamas is not denying it any more. The only thing they are denying is their involvement.

It is not true that Hamas never tried this before. On on expelling them from the country in 1999, security forces found weapons and computer files detailing the movement patterns and locations of high government officials. Hamas still does not recognize the seperation between Jordan and Palestine, so their plea that they have never conducted operations "outside of Palestine" is mincing of words.

I admit that this was a stupid time for Hamas to pull this off. Obviously, they felt they could get away with it.

Still waiting for the news link.

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf man, it's really interesting that you're willing to go back to what happened in 1999. Why should we trust what the government said at the time when we know that it was willing to blatantly violate our country's constitution?

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hey Hamzeh. Didn't we already have this arguement?

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, what's really interesting here is the strong desire to believe Hamas but not to believe the Jordanian government on this issue. Hamas does have a history of dirty deeds on Jordanian soil, which everyone knows. They also have connections into the MB/IAF, which everyone knows. Those two facts cannot be denied. But here's the more curious fact to me. Why do many/most of those here and elsewhere choose to support the statements of another government -- a government that is not there own. Hamas seems to be given the benefit of the doubt on this. Whereas Jordan is not given the time of day to slowly produce the links and connections that will show what went on. Admittedly, Jordan has a problem with its PR on these issues. The television parades of previous conspirators always seems terribly strained. But it's likely simply a symptom of this reality: there is a huge percentage of the Jordanian public that would rather trust what Hamas says over what their own government says. That seems like a problem to me. And it seems like it wouldn't be too far a stretch to see that others might see it as an opportunity. As evidenced here, so many are still smarting over "normalization." Get over it. It's done and it's the only way forward. Egypt and Jordan knew and yes they were pressured and yes it sucks donkey dicks. But it was the most pragmatic thing to do. Hamas relationship with Jordan has never been cordial, think Gosheh stuck at Queen Alia. It's not a good scene. To me it seems pretty clear that Hamas was moving weapons through Jordan from Syria. It may not have come from on high it may have. Whether there intent was to strike targets inside the kingdom is a more difficult question. It is one that most say "no way" to because they've never done it before. That's not enough evidence to say given the unique position they are now in, they wouldn't try it. And lastly, the bankruptcy of the Palestinian treasury has never meant there wasn't money out there for someone. Remember Arafat and his cronies. Don't give Hams the benefit -- again -- that they don't have money that they are putting towards other things, rather than municpal salaries and the like. Hamas has done good for people in Palestine. There is no doubt. But that shouldn't provide them carte blanche on an issue like this. There is evidence to support this was a dirty deed and their fingerprint are on it. Why not provide the goverment to which you pay taxes, the one that provides you the lifestyle you now enjoy, with a moment or two for clarity.

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalf, yes we did, but I don't remember us reaching a conclusion. I do however remember us both agreeing that Jordanian citizens were expelled out of the country, and me quoting an article from the Jordanian constitution saying that no Jordanian citizen may be expelled outside the territories of the kingdom against their will :D

I think you and I both agree that not everything that our government says can be trusted, we just differ about whether Hamas could actually do this or not. I simply think it's very devastating to them to do this and I believe they know that very well and they're not foolish enough to risk it no matter how small the risk may be. On the other side, this whole incident is so convenient for the Jordanian side that it is almost unbelievable. So I don't see how the favours can add up but against the side that says that the Palestinian government led by Hamas could be behind something like this.

At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: you have shifted the discussion from "did it happen?" to "now that we proved that it happened...".

Your logic is very wobbly and fraught with premises many dont agree with, lacks evidence and has many errors of inference. I will be happy to dissect your arguements for you if you wish me to (although it will be a long reply).

You also use subjective words in your post in an attempt to strengthen your arguement, while you should be more neutral and distanced in your analysis. Just a sample of words: "caught", "idiotic", "rogue", "silly", "cool".

I'd be very happy to offer a rebuttal to your arguements. Just to give you an example of how unfounded your arguements are:

"Instigating a change to an Islamist government in Jordan would clearly help to break their financial and political isolation"

You belittle the roles of the regional heavy-weights in doing that: Saudi, Iran, Egypt and Syria. In exchange you exaggerate the ability of Jordan to do that. Was Jordan able to break the political isolation of Arafat? (You can answer no and that is in line with my point, or you can answer yes but it opted not to, which opens another arguement about the role of the government of Jordan in imposing political isolation on the Palestinians. But that is another story).

With regards to the same point, you seem to place the solution in the hands of the government of Jordan (and I intentionally make the distinction between GOJ and the people of Jordan). While history tells us that Jordan has been a follower and not a setter of either regional or international policies towards any issue really. Of course history is not indivative of the future, but it gives very good clues.

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon1: "Why do many/most of those here and elsewhere choose to support the statements of another government -- a government that is not there own."

Are you saying that Jordanian *citizens* do not have the right to question the behaviour of its government? This is dictaroship. We ridicule Americans for being too scared to criticize their government because its "unpatriotic", but we dont have to go far, a look at people like you will show the same trend.

I reject your accusation and your attempt at shutting our mouths. I simply do not believe the government of Jordan.

I wrote under the "Oil Shale Exploitation" post of Khalaf about blind allegiance that I believe plagues the mentality of some Jordanians. I am as Jordanian as you are and I think this government is a liar. Will you take my passport away for saying what I believe is the truth?

At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: "It is not true that Hamas never tried this before. On on expelling them from the country in 1999"

Remember also the government of Jordan found weapons with the Nqabat when the Naqabat had the anti-normalization with Israeli on their agenda? They also moved the puppet Parliament to pass laws against political activities of professional bodies.

The government of Jordan also "found" weapons smuggled by Hizballah into Jordan just when Hizballah was asking the government of Jordan for names of Jordanian prisoners in Israel in include them in the last exchange (of course the GOJ refused to do that in order not to give Hizballah any goodwill gesture with the Jordanian people - a very stark example of how the GOJ works *against* the people of Jordan when it is in its interest).

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hamzeh: The Hamas leaders chose to leave rather to be put in jail. If they beleived that they were legally entitled to operate a foreign organization in Jordan, they should have stayed and fought in court.

I find that it is OK to use circumstantial evidence against the Jordanian governemt (the convenience arguement), but a legal definition of "beyond the shadow of the doubt" is in place for Hamas.

Anon 2: Of course it did happen. Nobody is disputing that any more. Not even Hamas. Just because you are in denial doesn't mean that it didn't happen.

Yes, I would like to read about my wobbly arguements. As I wrote before, you seem to like to make your arguements based on preconceptions rather than data, so I would appreciate it if stick to facts.

Are you saying that Jordan isn't important and can't affect the situation in the region? Wow. I thought you were expecting Jordan to reform the world earlier.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Anon2 again (you are the same one, aren't you?). What law was passed to restrict political activities of the syndicates? I am not aware of this law, and anti-normalization activities are still going on there.

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: "What law was passed to restrict political activities of the syndicates?"

Didn't the government threaten them? Didn't the police break into their meetings? The law might have not have been passed but the government was more than ready to do that. Let's not look for a fig leaf or go into sidetracks.

Anyway, regarding the syndicates, isn't a "syndicate" (or something resembling it) in government in the UK? How can a government ever contemplate passing such a law in the first place? Let's not start a ridiculous discussion please.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

You said that a law was passed "by the puppet parliament". This is a factual error. As I said, please stick to facts

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: "Nobody is disputing that any more"

A sweeping generalization? I for one do. Where is the evidence? Send me a link about a story where Hamas confesses? Apart from your arguement that "we will investigate" = "we did it".

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: "This is a factual error"

Doesn't change the main point I was making: that the government attempted to silence the syndicates by "finding" weapons and passing (or threatening to pass) a law against their political activities. Really, the arguement still holds even if I never mentioned the law point.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hamas isn't disputing it. That is what I said. Since the statement by Joudeh, there have been no rebuttals or clarifications from Hamas. You or another anon promissed to show me a link where Hamas responds to Joudeh's statement, and I am still waiting.

Like I said in the post, "It would be idiotic to assume that Hamas would come out and admit that they were officially behind this operation". Now you are demanding that I produce such a confession?

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Your factual error does make a difference. Your whole point was that the government "found" the weapons to justify passing a law against the syndicates. How does your point hold if there is no such law?

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: "You or another anon promissed to show me a link"

...but I certainly asked you for a link where Hamas confesses.

You are basing your arguement on two fallacies:

"Shifting the burden of proof: the burden of proof is always on the person asserting something" i.e. on GOJ and not on Hamas

"Argumentum ad ignoratium: occurs when it is argued that something must be true, simply because it hasn't been proved false" meaning that because Hamas hasn't disproved, it must be true.

Those are logical inconsistencies on your behalf. Why Hamas didn't "disprove" is subject to many explanations:

1. Priorities (they have bigger issues on their plate)
2. GOJ refuses to supply evidence
3. They lack the expertise to investigate


The reasoning that "they didn't disprove" so they are who did it, or that they refused to disprove so they did it is really anything but sound logic.

At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: its not me who promised the link, I asked you for one.

The government didn't threaten the syndicates with the law because they "found" weapons simply because the illegal weapons possession's penalty is execution, not a law! Any why would you limit political activity of the syndicates if their crime was security related? This doesn't make sense to me what you said.

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: I will disagree with you for many miles ahead. I have work to get back to. Until you put up something else meriting opening my fire at you.

And no, don't think this is defeat, that too is a fallacy :)

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Well, it is no use arguing until the government provides more evidence. I suspect that disclosing more information at this stage might compromise ongoing investigations. We will have to wait and see. I still think that the silence of Hamas and their Jordanian agents has something to do with information shown to them in the Gaza meeting. I admit that this is speculation, but your suggestions as to why Hamas is now silent are not convincing.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

I am glad to learn that you have a life.

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf, according to the stories told by the individuals who were expelled from the country in 1999 they were not told where they were being taken and that they were not offered anything but the option of leaving the country.

Also, what kind of government gives alleged criminals the option of fleeing the country to bypass prosecution? It simply doesn't make sense.

And what about the one Hamas member who did decide to take his chances and go back to Jordan to face any kind of legal action against him inside Jordan? Why was he detained in the airport for days and not simply arrested on the spot and charged with whatever violation it is that he was accused of?

About me accepting circumnstancial evidence to implicate my own government, I don't remember that happen so you might want to refresh my memory and show me where I said I'm certain that the Jordanian government has fabricated this story. So far, the one point I'm trying to put through is that this is not necessarily something that we can be certain of and that we can't even be certain that it was instigated by the Palestinian government. And based on that, my only grief is the fact that the Palestinians who are today isolated by the entire world due to its boycot of the government that they elected feel more isolated due to this measure that was taken by our government (and that's canceling the visit).

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: "I am glad to learn that you have a life"

you end a discussion with a very condescending line. bitter?

last time I used this "get a life" line was in 8th grade, and that was long long ago. i felt stupid saying it because it means nothing. not sure of your age group or where you are, but it seems it's still "in" to use it.

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Bitter? You flatter yourself. BTW, your last remark about the syndicates is incomprehensible. Could you try writing it in English?

At 11:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khalaf: "your last remark about the syndicates is incomprehensible"

Yes it was badly written. I'll attempt to explain:

If the activity of the syndicate was security-related with reference to this particular crime, meaning it was not political, why was the punishment limited to banning political activity?

i.e. the crime (security) belongs to a different category than the punishment (political). You cannot justify imposing it as cause and effect, or at least, you can say the government has pre-intentions and saw this as an opportunity (that it created for itself of course)

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

The professionalization of the syndicates clearly would change the atmosphere present there. Given that much of the political activity that goes on is radical, it is logical to assume that this atmosphere might lead to more violent expressions.

I actually don't remember the incident you are mentioning. I would add to your querry a question of what legal proceedures were taken against the people who were storing these weapons. If people were prosecuted and sent to jail, I would assume that the case is real. If not, then your analysis would make sense (i.e. the gov made up the story to stirr up public opinion.). What is the time frame of this incident?

At 1:56 AM, Blogger Rambling Hal said...

okaaaaaay....if you'll allow me to step in on this little discussion you guys are having, I was very interested to read your post ya Khalaf, as I had held an entirely different view all along. Interesting to think from another viewpoint as well...

However, do you feel, at all, that we, as in the Jordanians, are being conveniently distracted by something or other whenever the population is crippled by a fuel hike that affects us so much more than any Hamas conspiracy ever could? Last time we rise in fuel prices was implemented in Jordan, our November tragedy wasn't too long to follow on its heels....

Might just be a conspiracy theory, though I've heard a lot of people express this thought. I've also heard people complaining on the lack of evidence supporting this Hamas accusation, as well as a sort of 'pointing' at Hamas going on from all directions, more so now than before. A targetting.

Just wondering what your opinion would be, as I do veyr much enjoy your posts and your in depth analysis of what's going on in good old Jordan!

Thanks! ;)

At 5:58 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hal: Actually, I have been keeping my eyes peeled to see if they are trying to sneak something through while we are not looking. So, we are thinking on the same lines.

It's not fuel prices, as they have already been internalized. You can be sure that I will report any unusual activity that I see.


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