Ammon News, Editor's Choice

Families Sue Jordan Over 2016 Deaths of 3 U.S. Green Berets

[11/17/2018 6:30:10 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The families of three Army Special Forces soldiers who were fatally shot by a Jordanian base guard in 2016 said on Friday that they had sued the kingdom over false accusations that the Green Berets provoked the killings — accounts disputed by a video of the attack. The three soldiers — Staff Sgts. Matthew C. Lewellen, Kevin J. McEnroe and James F. Moriarty — were stationed in Jordan as part of a C.I.A.-run program to train Syrian rebels. They were shot at close range by First Sgt. Maarik al-Tawayha, a guard in the Jordanian Air Force, when their convoy was stopped at the gate of the King Faisal air base after a training mission on Nov. 4, 2016. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, seeks unspecified monetary damages from the Jordanian government. “For life to work, we have to be willing to hold the powerful accountable,” James Moriarty, the father of Sergeant Moriarty, said at an emotional news conference on Friday. He also urged the United States to re-examine its longstanding alliance with Jordan. Sergeant Tawayha was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in July 2017. During the trial, he offered no explanation for the attack, and he said after a hearing that “I was doing my job.” On Friday, Mr. Moriarty and the fathers of Sergeants Lewellen and McEnroe said that the Jordanian government had made false leaks to the news media asserting that the Green Berets had been drinking before they returned to the base, and had accidentally fired one of their pistols at the gate. A six-minute video of the shootings, taken from a security camera and released after Sergeant Tawayha’s sentencing, appears to show a different sequence of events at the gate. In it, Sergeant Moriarty is seen trying to defuse the situation by raising his hands after Sergeants McEnroe and Lewellen were shot. The lawsuit said the Kingdom of Jordan had “aided and abetted this terrorist act,” and it accused Sergeant Tawayha of having “hunted down and brutally murdered their loved ones.” It said the kingdom had initially defended Sergeant Tawayha by asserting that he had acted “within internationally accepted rules of engagement.” Neither the F.B.I. nor Jordanian officials have linked Sergeant Tawayha to any extremist groups. In a statement, the Jordanian Embassy in Washington did not directly comment on the lawsuit but said that “Jordan successfully prosecuted the perpetrator, and he is now serving a life sentence.” “Jordan deeply regrets the tragedy, and has done its best to achieve justice,” the statement said. *New York Times

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Russia compares situation at Rukban Camp to WWII death camps

[11/17/2018 6:25:06 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The United States is responsible for the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Rukban refugee camp in Syria, as it has illegally occupied this territory, Yury Tarasov, the representative of the Russian Defense Ministry in taskforces on ceasefire and humanitarian issues in Geneva, said on Friday. “The whole responsibility for the outrageous situation in Rukban rests with the United States, as it occupies the territory illegally and it uses the humanitarian problems of the refugee camp to legitimize its military presence in the south of Syria. We believe that the elimination of a 55-kilometer [34 mile] zone around At-Tanf [where a US military base is located] will result in the closure of the Rukban camp,” Tarasov said at a conference of the Russian and Syrian centers for refugees return. He specified that Russian representatives in the taskforces on ceasefire and humanitarian issues were ready to cooperate with international organizations on settling the Rukban camp humanitarian crisis and on evacuating all the refugees willing to leave it. “As of today, one of the most urgent problems is the situation in the Rukban refugee camp, which is in an extremely difficult humanitarian situation. I want to note that the total number of temporarily displaced people in it is about 50,000 people, of which about 6,000 are militants of the Maghawir Al-Thawra group controlled by the United States,” Tarasov said. Daesh Attacks Refugee Camp in Syria, Take Hundreds Hostage – Russian Military A similar stance has been voiced by Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of the Russian National Defense Control Center, who stated that the situation in the Syrian refugee camp Rukban reminds of World War II concentration camps, but the global community keeps silent about the catastrophe. “The situation in which the residents of the camp have found themselves in reminds me very much of World War II concentration camps that seemed to have long become history. How have this become possible in the modern world?… Why does the global community, so much concerned about human rights, stubbornly keep silent about the humanitarian catastrophe of the Rukban camp residents, while they are in fact hostages?” Mizintsev said at a meeting of Russian and Syrian joint coordination committees on repatriation of refugees. He went on to say that UN official institutions, obliged to provide assistance to refugees, were not actively engaged in settling the humanitarian catastrophe of the Syrian refugees. “Why are not media representatives allowed to communicate with refugees living in Rukban? There is an explanation to it. Someone has something to conceal there. Who is responsible for this barbarity? The answer is on the surface,” Mizintsev added. At the same time, Russian Health Ministry spokesman Sergey Grabchak reported that diseases and absence of medical assistance in the camp led to the deaths of more than 100 people. According to the Health Ministry, the disastrous sanitary and epidemiological situation in the camp, an outbreak of infectious diseases was likely, while refugees almost did not receive medical assistance. “All these circumstances lead to a high mortality rate. Over the past month alone, more than 100 people died in Rukban. I confirm the difficult, disastrous situation in Rukban,” Grabchak said. The Rukban refugee camp is located in Syria’s At Tanf district (Homs province) near the Jordanian border, next to a US military base where Syrian opposition forces are being trained. *Sputnik

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Jordan stands by Iraq in the reconstruction phase: says minister

[11/11/2018 2:44:52 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply, Tarek Hammouri, stressed the importance of efforts between Jordan and Iraq to enhance joint economic cooperation in various fields and to optimally benefit from the opportunities and potentials available in both sides. During a speech he delivered on Saturday evening at the Jordanian-Iraqi Business Forum held in Baghdad on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Baghdad International Fair, Hammouri said Jordan stands by Iraq in the battle of reconstruction, development, progress and prosperity. A press statement issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on Sunday quoted the minister highlighting the importance of bilateral business meetings to establishing complementary trade relations and partnerships and opening new markets to the national industry. The minister said the exhibition's activities covered various economic, industrial and commercial sectors. He affirmed the government's keenness to ensure the integration of the Jordanian economy into the global market by liberalizing trade and benefiting from trade and investment opportunities around the world. These policies, he noted, have led to the creation of a network of trade relations between Jordan and the Arab, regional and international countries, as well as big economic blocs, where business communities can benefit from opportunities to access markets for made-in-Jordan products. Jordan has developed significantly over the past decades in the industrial and service fields, which had a strong presence in international markets, adding the Jordanian industry is competing with its counterparts in the developed countries thanks to Royal directives and government policies focused on developing the industrial sector and enhancing its competitiveness. The economic reforms in Jordan have led to the creation of a competitive investment environment and the strengthening the national economy, as the legislations governing economic activity have been enacted, especially the new Investment Law, which will make a key leap in improving the investment attractiveness of the Kingdom, as well as addressing investor obstacles, with the aim of enhancing the Kingdom's business climate, thus making Jordan as an attractive location for high value added investments that contribute to creating jobs and increasing production. "Iraq is in a promising phase of development and growth. The strategic dimension in the Jordanian-Iraqi relationship and the close historical relations between the two countries require drumming up efforts and building a strategic partnership between the two countries based on mutual respect and common interests, which will contribute to the achievement of security and stability in the region," he pointed out. He affirmed Jordan's support to Iraq to move to the stage of reconstruction and achieve security, peace and stability, a bid that will be achieved by companies with expertise in this field or competent investors to enable Iraq to reintegrate in the Arab and regional and international landscape on the basis of balance and integration in mutual relations. "We are ready to harness our technical and administrative capabilities and our experiences in various fields to restore the process of reconstruction and construction in Iraq," he said The Karama-Trebil border crossing, which has recently been reopened, is considered a major gateway for activating the joint economic and trade movement, he said, adding "It is necessary to invest and develop it, facilitate trade and the movement of traffic through it". The minister voiced Jordan's readiness to offer facilitations for Iraqi businesspeople to enter Jordan, adding the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad is open 24 hours a day to fulfill this task. For his part, Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals Saleh al-Jubouri said the holding of the Jordanian-Iraqi Business Forum is particularly important to enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially in the trade and investment domains. The current phase, al-Jubouri said, requires a strong boost to economic cooperation between the two countries in various fields and cooperation in the field of reconstruction projects in Iraq, pointing to the Iraqi government's resolve to launch a policy of economic openness, which thus creates prospects for Jordanian businesspeople to take advantage of opportunities available in the Iraqi market and the multiple investment projects. Al-Jubouri said Jordan is considered one of the most important economic partners for Iraq and therefore it is necessary to work at maximum capacity in order to increase the trade volume between the two countries and raise investment rates. He stressed the importance of increasing the level of joint economic cooperation, removing any trade impediments, and stimulating businesspeople to establish investment projects in both countries.

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Jordan says Al Rukban camp for Syrian refugees is Syrian issue

[11/9/2018 7:33:58 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan on Thursday said the issue of Al Rukban camp for Syrian refugees, which is located in the no-man's land between Jordan and Syria, is a Syrian issue as the camp is inside Syrian territories. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry said Jordan's stance is based on the need for a radical solution to the camp, according to a statement by the ministry. Majed Qatarneh, the ministry's spokesperson, said Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has repeatedly stated Jordan's stance in this regard. He added that the residents of the camp are Syrians and the camp is inside Syria, noting that Jordan allowed the UN agencies to deliver aid to the camp from inside Jordan as the delivery of aid was not possible from inside the Syrian territories. The situation improved inside Syria and the delivery of aid to the camp from inside Syria is also possible and thus all aid needs to be sent from inside Syria, he said. This week, Russia suggested a plan to open the way for the refugees of the camp to return to their hometowns inside Syria following a dialogue with Jordan in this regard. Jordan supported the Russia plan and stressed that it is not responsible for the camp that is located inside Syria. The official said serious talks started between Jordan, the United States and Russia to find a solution that allows for the voluntary return of refugees in the camp to their areas. Jordan will continue to offer aid to those who need it inside the camp, said the official.

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Ghunaimat : Jordan received Israeli request to discuss Baqoura, Ghumar

[11/4/2018 3:47:03 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of State for Media Affairs, Jumana Ghunaimat, said Jordan has received an official request from Israel in order to start consultations on the annexes of Baqoura and Ghumar. Jordan, Ghunaimat said, used its legal right as stipulated in the peace deal with Israel and decided not to renew the agreement. She added that the Kingdom is committed to entering consultations with Israel, in a way that preserves Jordan's national interests.

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First aid since January reaches Syrians at Ruqban refugee camp near Jordanian border

[11/4/2018 4:25:18 AM]

AMMONNEWS - An aid convoy on Saturday reached a camp for displaced Syrians near the Jordanian border, the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent said, in the first such delivery since January. “The U.N. and SARC are delivering humanitarian assistance to 50,000 people in need at Rukban camp in southeast Syria,” the U.N. said in a statement, adding the delivery was expected to take three to four days. The convoy included much-needed food, as well as health assistance, the U.N. and SARC said. “We are delivering food, sanitation and hygiene supplies, nutrition and health assistance in addition to other core relief items,” the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator in Syria Ali Al-Zaatari said in a statement. “We are also conducting an emergency vaccination campaign to protect some 10,000 children against measles, polio and other deadly diseases.” More than 70 trucks would ferry in more than 10,000 food parcels and bags of flour, as well as clothes for 18,000 children, the Red Crescent said. The aid would also include newborn baby kits for 1,200 children, medicines, medical supplies and nutritional supplements for children and women, it said. It was the first aid convoy to arrive in Rukban from Damascus, after the last delivery from Jordan in January. “This is SARC’s first convoy to Rukban camp after guarantees from all parties have been obtained,” SARC president Khaled Hboubati also said in a statement. Conditions since the last aid arrived have deteriorated, with most inhabitants unable to afford what little food is smuggled across the Jordanian border, and no health facilities in the camp. Abu Karim, a camp resident, welcomed the fresh assistance but insisted it should be regular to have a lasting effect. “The aid arriving has provided some relief to the displaced, but if it then stops and does not continue on a regular basis, the camp will return to its bad state,” he said. He pointed to the lack of health care for the displaced as winter draws close. “The aid entering will solve the food crisis in the camp, but there’s still the health issue,” he told AFP via a messaging app. “There’s great suffering as we have no doctors, hospitals or even field hospitals or a place for first aid.” To access a basic clinic, residents have to cross into Jordan — through a border that has been largely closed since 2016. Last month, a girl of four months died of blood poisoning and dehydration, and a five-day-old boy lost his life to blood poisoning and severe malnutrition, according to the U.N.’s children agency UNICEF. A suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State jihadi group in June 2016 killed seven Jordanian soldiers in no-man’s-land close to the nearby Rukban crossing. Soon afterwards, the army declared Jordan’s desert regions that stretch northeast to Syria and east to Iraq “closed military zones.” The kingdom, part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS, has allowed several humanitarian aid deliveries to the area following U.N. requests, but the borders remain largely closed. The camp, home to displaced people from across Syria, also lies close to the Al-Tanf base used by the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS. Syria’s civil war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011. *Japan Times

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Israel weighs sowing Jordanian ties with water canal project

[11/3/2018 4:04:03 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Israel has turned its attention to advancing a water project that would benefit Jordan following the neighboring countries announcement that it would not renew leases to the Jewish state for the border territories of Ghumar and Baqura, Haaretz reported Saturday. The water project would establish a canal from the Red Sea to a desalination facility in Jordan, while the excess brine would be funneled back to the Dead Sea, which has been shrinking.Jordan’s water supply is said to be edging on a crisis, as water is sometimes cut off for several days at a time. Israel was hoping that advancing the water project that was cemented in a deal with Jordan in 2015 could mend relations and potentially make the Jordanians reconsider their termination of the leased territories.While the termination of the lease does not violate or affect the countries’ peace treaty, the decision by Jordan suggests rising tensions between the Israel and Jordan, the only Arab country apart from Egypt to have a peace deal with the Jewish state. Israel seized Baqura when its forces infiltrated the kingdom in 1950. It occupied Jordanian territories including Ghumar in the Six-Day War of 1967. However, under their 1994 peace treaty, Jordan retained sovereignty over the areas but agreed to lease them to Israel for a renewable 25 years, with a one-year notice period for either party.Last month, Jordan's King Abdullah II said his country had notified Israel that it wants to take back the two areas.The decision could be related to Jordan’s exclusion on issues revolving around Jerusalem's holy Muslim sites at the Temple Mount as well as recent Palestinian negotiations, analysts say. While it may help renew confidence in Israeli-Jordanian ties, the project remains unlikely to sway the royal kingdom of changing its mind on the land issue.However, environmentalists are reportedly opposed to the water project because the rerouted water could alter the composition of the Dead Sea and lead to growth of certain algae as well as foul-smelling compounds that may put off tourists. *I24

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