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Anger at Jordanians - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It took a small news item to erupt a volcano of Iraqi emotion against all of Jordan, resulting in angry demonstrations and destructive behavior. The Iraqis were confused trying to understand how anyone could support such crimes that kill people in a hospital, mosque or school and leave behind victims of civil, unarmed children, and women and old people. This issue is beyond any possibly acceptable explanation. These accumulated feelings following the increasing number of operations targeting Iraqis, their families and neighborhoods evoked an unbearable situation waiting to be breathed out in the first likely chance.

The chance came as news published in a newspaper in Jordan caused suppressed Iraqi emotions to explode. The story was about a Jordanian suicide bomber with the name of Ra’id Banna who was killed in a massacre where all the victims were all civilians. The family of the killer held a gathering to offer condolences that was turned into a celebration of his death. It was reported that Banna is the one who carried out the Hilla bombing, in which many people were killed while praying. That massacre was one of the worst witnessed in Iraq recently. However later on it was discovered that the story was not accurate. And that Banna was involved in a different operation.

But the problem is not with the story or the information. The problem is a feeling of hatred that started accumulating between the two sides by mistake as each side remains ignorant of the feelings of the other and unable to understand the other’s true stance. Jordan itself suffers from the same militant groups and half of its security budget is spent on chasing those militants. The Jordanian jails are filled with prosecuted members of terrorist groups or groups relating to them. Jordanian courts passed harsh verdicts against them, even harsher that those of the Iraqi institutions. Hence, nobody can say that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi represents Jordan or the Jordanians just because he is a Jordanian national in the same way Saddam doesn’t represent Iraqis. He only represents himself. We should not forget that a huge number of those who carry out terrorist attacks in Iraq are Iraqis too, and they come from different sects and races. Of course, we should not count them as acting on behalf of the Iraqi people.

If there is a defect somewhere, it doesn’t lie in the difference in political stances, yet, it lies in those who support, instigate or celebrate killing innocent people as we saw in the terrible Hilla incident. Some Iraqis were right to criticize and blame the Jordanian Imams and public speakers for supporting what they called “resistance operations” that mostly target innocent civilians, as well as blaming those who remained silent about all that. Still, they were wrong about the rest of what they did. The demonstrating crowds were wrong to burn the flag and carry signs calling for driving Jordanians and other Arabs out of Iraq. Most of the countries in the region suffer what Iraqis suffer of intellectual and physical intimidation, but Iraq is a fertile arena for such things due to its new birth and the fragility of its institutions at the moment. The problem of Iraq is the problem of all of us. It is terrorism that is too blind to differentiate or put limits. Many of us see how the so-called “resistance” turned into a militia that the majority of its victims are unarmed civilians. So, what kind of resistance can that be?

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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