Between a rock and a hard place

Once again Jordan finds itself between a rock and a hard place. It is an awkward position where Jordan is torn between fulfilling its commitment to international treaties and its role as a US ally. Here are the opposing arguments:

"Jordan’s parliament should firmly reject this strong-arm attempt by the United States to exempt its own citizens from international law," said Richard Dicker, International Justice Director at Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International noted in a statement: "No one should enjoy impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, regardless of their nationality."

And the current reality on the ground, as seen by Jordanian politicians:

Jordanian politicians, however, insisted that ratification of the accord was crucial to maintaining its current levels of US aid. US law requires the suspension of military and economic aid to states signatory to the ICC treaty if they refuse to ratify the exemptions. Last July, US President George W. Bush used his executive authority to grant Jordan a six-month grace period in order to give it time to ratify the agreement. In the same month, the US awarded US $333 million in aid to the Hashemite Kingdom for the coming year.

Source: [IRIN]

Which is more important in this case? US aid or respecting international agreements? Is safeguarding our economy more important than satisfying human rights organizations? Frankly, I’m glad I was not in a position where I had to make this decision, as the simple reality is: Doomed if you do. Doomed if you don’t! Here are some reactions from the Jordanian blogosphere: Khalaf, and Ameen.

5 thoughts on “Between a rock and a hard place”

  1. If money finds its way to normal citizens, hec with the money; but since the beneficiaries are the government and those in power; hec with the citizens and international law. Isn’t this what ratification of the agreement means !

  2. Natasha I wish I could agree with you … but I can’t…. A rock and a hard place .. Do not think so… I am afraid that is just a way for us to justify our cowardly behaviour… shame on us….
    So even if the Choice was between this and Aid… (Which I think is far from the reality)….
    Then where are those two virtues That Jordan is built on…Karamah… and Kibrya2… cause I am afraid without them we are nothing… Aid or no Aid!…

  3. It’s always sad for a person to see his country being a partner to the United States’ long list of hypocricies in this world.
    You can’t possibly convince me that the US doesn’t gain anything from Jordan’s alliance with it. I can’t help but believe that Jordan has some kind of leverage that it can use with the US.
    I think Jordan should simply deny US citizens (or citizens of any other country for that matter) who have criminal charges pending against them in the ICC entry to its land.

  4. That’s a tough place for Jordan to be in…but with that much aid and other assistance from the US, I doubt Jordan wanted to find out what would happen if they didn’t go along. And I think the lesser of two evils was to go along with it. I hope we never find ourselves in the position where we have to force the Jordanians to release someone.
    The $$ Amman gets surely goes to good causes. Why is the fault of the US that this money stays in the hands of the few and privledged. That is the fault of the Jordanian people.
    And what about those with dual Jordan/US citizenship? Will the Navy SEALS come in the middle of the night to Qafqafa to rescue them?

  5. Programmer Craig

    Who has been charged by the ICC so far? Who is most likely to be charged in the future, by the ICC?
    It’s a politcial court. The US is not participating in it. Jordan can do as it sees fit. I see no need to characterize this as blackmail, and I see no need to engage in US bashing.
    Colin Powell and George Bush (the first) were both indicted by a national court in Belgium for “war crimes” in the first Gulf War. What kind of circus is the ICC going to be?
    Yes. Do the “right” thing. And then stand by your decision, whatever that may be. I doubt any Jordanians will be brought up on charges in the ICC anyway. Most likely targets are Tony Blair and George Bush at the moment. I just can’t wait until Queen Elizabeth gets indicted, that’ll be great… especially if the judges are from Sudan and Libya 😛

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