Jordan

Overview:  Jordan remained a committed partner on counterterrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism in 2022.  The nation hosted many regional and international initiatives in both the military and civic spheres and participated in international CT and CVE fora.

There were no successful terrorist attacks in Jordan in 2022.  However, the country faced a continued threat from terrorist groups.  Jordan’s geographical location increases the possibility of a terrorist attack planned in Syria or Iraq against tourist and government locations.  While Jordanian security forces thwarted plots and apprehended suspected terrorists in 2022, the threat of domestic radicalization to violence persisted, especially online.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  There were no terrorist incidents reported in Jordan in 2022.

Legislation Law Enforcement and Border Security:  There were no significant changes in counterterrorism legislation, law enforcement capacity, or the State Security Court.

The General Intelligence Directorate (GID) is the primary government agency responsible for counterterrorism, while the Public Security Directorate’s (PSD) Police Special Operations group is the primary responder to active terrorist incidents.  These two organizations operate with support from various elements within the Jordan Armed Forces and PSD’s Gendarmerie.  In 2022 the Government of Jordan continued to implement measures and conduct joint exercises to improve interagency coordination among security agencies.  Enhanced overt security measures continued across Jordan, most visibly at some hotels and shopping centers.

Jordan continued to reinforce its border defenses and surveillance capabilities in response to terrorist and criminal threats emanating from its 230-mile border with Syria and 112-mile border with Iraq.  The government has made interdicting drugs smuggled across its borders a top security priority.  The Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program continued its Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience project, which trains first-response teams for a critical infrastructure incident and convenes entities, such as PSD and the Water and Energy Ministries, to jointly develop plans and exercises that enable holistic responses to such incidents.

During 2022, Jordanian authorities remained vigilant in tracking and countering terrorist plots and preventing attacks that target civilians and security forces.  Speaking at a conference in November, GID Director Ahmed Husni stated that, since early 2021, GID had thwarted 34 terrorist operations and contributed to stopping 54 additional terrorist plots globally, but he did not specify how many operations occurred in 2022.

On December 15, during protests initially sparked by a fuel price increase, a PSD colonel was killed by an individual who, according to the Jordanian government, had ties to ISIS.  During the subsequent raid on that individual’s house, three more PSD officers were killed, the main suspect in the death of the colonel was killed, and eight other suspects were arrested.  The individual who killed the PSD colonel was identified by the PSD forensic lab, using ATA-provided equipment and techniques.

The United States has continually emphasized to Jordanian authorities the importance of holding Ahlam al-Tamimi accountable in a U.S. court for her admitted role in a 2001 bombing in Jerusalem that killed 16 people, including Americans Malki Roth, Shoshana Greenbaum, and Chana Nachenberg.  While the United States considers the extradition treaty with Jordan to be in force as a matter of international law, the Government of Jordan’s position, citing the ruling of its highest court, is that its Constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals.  The United States continued to impress upon the GoJ the importance of this case and continued to seek all viable options to bring Tamimi to justice.

In 2022, some Jordanians engaged in an online celebration of the killing of Israeli Jews in Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Jordan is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, and its FIU, the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Unit, is a member of the Egmont Group.  Jordan remained on the FATF “gray list” in 2022.

In 2022, FATF reported that Jordan took steps toward improving its Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, including by finalizing its national risk assessment; rectifying its legal framework for terrorist financing (TF) and targeted financial sanctions (TFS); demonstrating an effective process by the national committee and supervisory authorities to implement TFS without delay; strengthening its legal and operational TF-related TFS framework; increasing capacity for risk-based supervision; making basic and beneficial ownership information accessible by competent authorities; maintaining statistics on money-laundering investigations and prosecutions; and strengthening its legal framework with respect to confiscation.

In July, 22 individuals and 12 entities were added to Jordan’s national sanctions list, increasing the total to 32 individuals and 12 entities.  In August the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) governor publicly highlighted Jordan’s guidelines and capacity building trainings on combating financial and electronic organized crimes.  Also in August, the Judicial Council launched its four-year Justice Sector strategy for 2022–26.  One of the strategy’s key pillars was “specialization of the judiciary,” whereby assigned judges and prosecutors specialize in handling AML/CFT cases.

Countering Violent Extremism:  Jordan continued to implement a national strategy on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) coordinated by an office in the Prime Ministry.  Priority engagement areas include countering violent extremist ideology, building social cohesion among civil society, and assisting law enforcement.  PSD engaged with local actors through community peace centers and local police departments to use innovative approaches to preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), such as interactive theater, creative writing, and strategic communications.  In January the West Asia North Africa (or WANA) Institute, under the umbrella of the “Strong Cities Network in Lebanon and Jordan,” conducted a six-day training workshop in Irbid, Zarqa, and Karak on “Human Security and Definitions of P/CVE.”  The training aimed to build the capacity of local prevention networks to engage effectively with policymakers to implement national strategies to prevent violent extremism.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Jordan is a major non-NATO ally and founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).  Within the GCTF, the Hashemite Kingdom co-chairs the Foreign Terrorist Fighter Working Group with the United States.  Through this capacity, Jordan also co-leads the GCTF Maritime Security initiative.  Jordan is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and the Proliferation Security Initiative.  Jordan is not a signatory to all the UN conventions against terrorism, as Jordan has not ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.  In December, Jordan hosted the Baghdad II conference to promote cooperation among Iraq, regional states, and France on various topics, including combating terrorism.

In September, Jordan hosted the “Eager Lion” exercise, one of the largest joint military exercises held in the region, with 28 partner nations participating.  Eager Lion included scenarios related to countering terrorism and drones, and to combating smuggling of radioactive materials.  In November the Aqaba Process, a Jordanian initiative started by King Abdullah in 2015 focused on CVE, co-hosted a meeting with Australia and Indonesia on preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism online in Southeast Asia.  In December, Jordan co-hosted an Aqaba Process meeting with Brazil, focused on encouraging information sharing on radicalization to violence and deradicalization initiatives in Latin America.

In November, Jordan hosted the al-Hol Donor Coordination Conference (the Amman Conference) to address the humanitarian and security crisis in the al-Hol displaced persons camp in northeast Syria.  Participants came to consensus on key priorities for al-Hol; reiterated that voluntary repatriations and returns are the only durable solutions; and reaffirmed the continued need for sustained, coordinated investment in communities of return.

On This Page

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future