Jordanians in Afghanistan?

The intepid crusaders at Wikileaks have uncovered a document called “NATO in Afghanistan: Master Narrative”.  Unfortunately you can no longer access it.  (I’m not entirely sure if I think that is unfortunate or not.) But one of the biggest revelations of the finding was the fact that Jordanian forces are secretely part of the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

I don’t blame the Jordanians for wanting to keep that a secret.  Pretty much everyone I have talked to in the Middle East thinks that the war in Afghanistan is just as bad as Iraq.  Americans might think that Afghanistan is “the good war” but to most people in the Middle East it’s not.  I’m generalizing here, of course.  I know that there are varied opinions, but I think it’s safe to say that His Majesty King Abdullah won’t get any more popular by sending Jordanians to fight in Afghanistan.

But the King is a master statesman and politician.But His Majesty King Abdullah is a master politician and statesmen.  He recognizes the fact that the fight against Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan and he knows that its in his best interest and the world’s if that battle is fought.  So he contributes what he can.  Secretely.  It makes sense.

Wikileaks describes Jordan this way:

Jordan is a middle eastern monarchy, backed by the US, and historically the CIA’s closest partner in its extraordinary rendition program. “the practice of torture is routine” in the country, according to a January 2007 report by UN special investigator for torture, Manfred Nowak.

That’s a bit simple, but not far off.  Jordan is close with the United States.  I just read some stunning facts King Abdullah in Ron Suskind’s book.  But I’m not sure if they have been the CIA’s closest partner in the extraordinary rendition program.  Egypt, Morocco, Syria and a host of other countries were deeply involved.

But once you start running your foreign policy in secret things get scary.  I know that the Jordanian government tortures prisoners.  King Abdullah probably covers this up by saying that “it is in his best interest and the world’s if that battle is fought” so he should “contribute what he can.  Secretely.”  It’s no good.

What’s the point?  Can you have secrecy and integrity? At what cost to each? That’s a question for someone who knows more than I do.  Even in the blogosphere I know that.

But if I can bring the tone down a little bit… I can’t imagine Jordanians in any place as verdant as Afghanistan.  One of my good Jordanian friends went to Vermont once.  She told me that it was too green, it gave her a headache.  That seems like it could be a problem on the battlefield.

Photo by‘s flickr stream used under a Creative Commons lisence.



Filed under Afghanistan, Terrorism, War

2 responses to “Jordanians in Afghanistan?

  1. Greg

    I think I may have mentioned this to you before, but it might not have been you. Have you ever read the New Yorker article about Abdullah building a boarding school in Jordan modeled after Deerfield Academy? I think it was published sometime in 2006. It’s good reading.

  2. Max

    I have read the article and heard a lot about Kings Academy. It’s quite a project. I’m not sure if I think building a WASPy prep school for the Arab world’s elite teenagers should be a top priority in a country with as many social and economic problems as Jordan… But it’s none of my business.

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