What’s going on?

Five militants surrendered to Kuwaiti security forces who surrounded their hideout on Saturday in the oil-rich Gulf Arab state which is battling a surge in al Qaeda-linked violence, state media said. State television said security forces continued to search the area in Sulaibiya suburb, some 13 miles northwest of the capital Kuwait City.

"Five terrorists holed up in a house in Sulaibiya area have surrendered," the television reported, saying two of the men were Saudi nationals and three were Jordanian.

Source: [Reuters]

This is a bit alarming, don’t you think? It seems that the number of Jordanians embracing terrorism is rising. What’s going on? What’s happening to our good-hearted, fun-loving people? I guess I should have known that after the emergence of friggin Zarqawi things were bound to go downhill. I still can’t it over the fact that he is Jordanian. The government, however, has not confirmed the nationalities of those arrested in Kuwait so there still is some hope.

Government Spokesperson Asma Khader said on Saturday the government could not officially confirm news reports that three Jordanians were arrested in Kuwait in connection with the latest wave of terrorist attacks that killed four Kuwaiti security officers in gunbattles with Islamist militants.

“We cannot confirm any news reports at this point in time, and Jordan condemns all forms of terrorist acts that took place in Kuwait recently,” Khader told The Jordan Times.

Source: [The Jordan Times]

Update: The newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam on Sunday quoted informed sources as saying the men are originally Bidoon, or stateless Arabs, who recently obtained Saudi and Jordanian citizenship.

By Natasha Tynes

I’m a Jordanian-American journalist, writer, and media development professional based in Washington, DC.

12 comments

  1. I suspect that there have been Jordanians involved since the beginning–Zarqawi, for instance. I also suspect they’ve been working in the “back office”, so to speak, not on the front lines.
    Since the Saudis have been pushing the bad guys out of that country, they’ve migrated into Kuwait. Already this year (2005), the Kuwaitis have had five incidents, all successfully thwarted by the government.
    Terrorist don’t really carry a passport; their loyalties are not to countries. That’s why you find Americans, French, British, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Greeks, ad infinitum, involved. There’s no country in the Arab League that has not had some of its “citizens” involved.

  2. “… the men are originally Bidoon, or stateless Arabs …”
    Does that mean they were Palestinian refugees, or are there other kinds of undocumented Arabs out there?

  3. Arash,
    “Bidoon” which loosely translates into “without” are nomadic Arabs usually residing in Kuwait.
    To this day Kuwait refuses to give them the nationality saying they only became interested in becoming Kuwaitis after the discovery of oil in the Gulf state.
    So to answer your question, no, bidoon has nothing to do with Palestinian refugees.

  4. I don’t see whats so surprising, i mean with these people nationality isn’t that important they come in every nationality in the world as john said, In any case it is usually said that the rise of militant islamism in JOrdan came with the return of Jordanian nationals who had lived and grown up in Kuwait in the 1990 war.
    If you are interested in this issue, Al Hayat published an in depth 3 part article on this in Arabic,
    part1:
    http://www.daralhayat.com/special/features/12-2004/20041213-14P15-01.txt/story.html
    Part2:
    http://www.daralhayat.com/special/features/12-2004/20041214-15p15-01.txt/story.html
    Part 3:
    http://www.daralhayat.com/special/features/12-2004/20041213-14P15-01.txt/story.html

  5. So, what is it that surprises you of the term “Jordanian terrorists?” Jordanians are not all good ( hard to imagine!) Some are good, some are very nice, and few are ugly. From a statistical point of view, every system, or phenomanon, can be represented in a bell-shaped distribution graph. The highest point on this graph represents the norm (mean or average), then , some portion or section on either side of the norm represent the extremes (best and worst). These are dynamic portions that change all the time (although slow). This is the problem when we generalize. We can say something, and it is a fact, but, which section of the graph are we talking about and what is the extent of it? You are confused? You do not like math ? I do not either.

  6. I suppose the real concern/complaint here is not that they exist, because as you note every group or system has these elements. The problem is that these elements are so visible and well reported. The number of Jordanian expats is fairly limited comparatively due to the number of Jordanians generally, some 6 million or so. So the exposure to the “good” element is not counteracting the press of the actions of the bad.
    So I think the worry here is that the bad element is tainting the global view of the good. And it’s so difficult to counteract that perception. While there is no doubt that the distribution you describe exists, the extreme portion is getting all the press/coverage, tainting the median of the group. It’s a shame really. But what can you do.

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