Jordan amends anti-terror law to face Syria fallout

Jordan amends anti-terror law to face Syria fallout
Thu Apr 24, 2014 13:26:52

Controversial amendments to Jordan's anti-terrorism law seek to curb the influence of homegrown Al-Qaeda affiliated militants fighting the kingdom's northern neighbor Syria, analysts said.

New articles added to the law approved by MPs on Tuesday deem "joining or attempting to join armed or terrorist groups, or recruiting or attempting to recruit people to join these groups" acts of terrorism.

They also outlaw "acts that would expose Jordan or Jordanians to the danger of acts of aggression, or harm the kingdom's relations with another country."

Hundreds of Jordanian militants have joined hardline terrorist groups in Syria fighting President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Three years into the conflict, many of these battle-hardened Jordanians are returning home, causing deep concern in Amman.

"Jordan is surrounded by militant groups and there is a serious terrorist threat to the kingdom," Oraib Rantawi, head of Amman's Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, told AFP.

"I think terrorism might find a suitable environment in Jordan. This environment is still isolated and limited, but at the same it is connected to regional developments, including Syria."

Jordan passed its first anti-terrorism law in 2006, the year after three bombings targeting hotels in the capital killed 60 people.

But the kingdom still faces challenges as many Jordanians have already joined al-Qaeda affiliated groups especially in Syria.

In recent years, many Jordanians travelled to Syria, Iraq and other countries to join militant groups, Rantawi said.

Amman has repeatedly expressed fears the conflict could spread across its borders, and has on several occasions aired its concerns over the regional impact of terrorists fighting Assad.

Damascus has accused Jordan's government of backing the uprising by training and arming terrorist groups.


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