US Diplomat Foley’s killers were Palestinians

Jordanian information minister Mohammad Adwan fingered Saad bin Suwied and Yasser Ibrahim as the murderers who fired eight bullets from the silenced gun that slew USAID executive Lawrence Foley outside his home in Amman on October 28. Adwan described Suwied – a Libyan who entered Jordan on a Tunisian passport and Ibrahim, a Jordanian – as al Qaeda members who were paid $68,000 for the assassination.
According to the information reaching debkafile‘s intelligence sources, the two assassins are not al Qaeda; they are in fact members of two Palestinian groups, who work in conjunction – the pro-Iraq Arab Liberation Front, whose leader Abu al Abbas is based in Baghdad, and the Jordanian wing of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement. They were apprehended by Jordanian security forces in November in a sweep of the south Jordanian Islamic fundamentalist town of Ma’an. After a brief interrogation, the captured men admitted working for Palestinian groups operating in Jordan on behalf of Iraqi military intelligence.
When this information reached Arafat in Ramallah, he threatened Amman through emissaries
that if the two murderers’ Palestinian affiliation was made public, he would see to it that Jordanian Palestinian terrorists created havoc in the kingdom. The threat was effective. Security in Jordan is already shaky and Palestinian terrorism on the rise. Therefore, Jordan’s security and intelligence services advised the king and his government to fix the blame for Foley’s murder away from the Palestinians. Al Qaeda was accordingly named the culprit.
Not that the accusation held much water; Palestinian fingerprints on the crime are too blatant.
For one thing, on the day itself, October 28, a group called Shurafa al Urdun (“Nobles of Jordan”) claimed responsibility. The name comes out of the secular terminology of Arab nationalism whose values are anathema to the fundamentalist Islamic network. Furthermore, al Qaeda, unlike the Palestinians, rarely goes in for assassination; its hallmark is mass murder. One of the few exceptions made by bin Laden to this rule was the slaying of the Afghanistan Northern Alliance leader Shah Massoud, two days before the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.
But most tellingly, Arafat himself, in his usual circular style, gave the game away in a speech he made to the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, on October 29, the day after the USAID director was gunned down in Amman. He repeatedly praised the “shurafa”, the Nobles, an expression dredged up from the old vernacular of PLO infighting which Arafat has not used for years. In his opening words, Arafat declared “the Palestinian problem is at the heart of the conscience of all the “ahrar” (the free) and the “shurafa”, the noble of whole world – Arafat’s coded means of addressing himself, as he rarely does nowadays, to the entire Palestinian people, including those living the refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Moreover, two weeks before Foley was murdered, his Fatah circulated a leaflet using the term “shurafa to denote the movement’s “nobles” as distinct from dubious elements.
In the past, Arafat made no secret of his antipathy for the American diplomat.
Some months ago, debkafile reported USAID had been entrusted with overseeing the democratic reform process of the Palestinian government, including the overhaul of its financing and security branches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Arafat systematically boycotted USAID and made every effort to discredit the organization over Palestinian media. Our sources now report Washington’s intention of assigning USAID to perform the same democracy-building functions in post-Saddam Iraq. Therefore, Arafat and Saddam, as often before, shared a common foe.
The Palestinian leader’s open jubilation over the assassination was the final giveaway. His complimentary though circuitous allusions to the group which carried out the assassination conveyed to his Palestinian audience in the West Bank and Jordan that further attacks on American diplomats and USAID personnel would deserve his praise.
That message was well understood by his following at home.
On Sunday, December 15, the Sunday Times published in London an interview with Arafat, in which he bitterly accused Osama bin Laden’s group of “hiding behind the Palestinian cause for his own purposes.”
He forgot to tell his interviewers that in Jordan Palestinian gunmen who murdered an American diplomat were now hiding behind al Qaeda. He also forget to mention that, last April, the Israel troops who invaded his Ramallah offices found documents that revealed that as far back as 1995, the Palestinian leader and the heads of his security agencies were in continuous communication with senior al Qaeda officers through go-betweens in Bosnia.
The Times interview therefore represents only one of Arafat’s two faces. In Europe, he is the proud leader of a national liberation struggle. At the same time, in the Palestinian and Arab arenas, the Palestinian terror campaign is a vital front of the international Holy War. Every Palestinian he sends on a suicide mission is therefore a “shahid”, a martyr, who belongs in Paradise just as much as any al Qaeda fighter.

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