Zarqawi's speech to Jordan turns political

AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Jordan rejected Saturday threats and conditions by al-Qaida chief in Iraq Abu Musab Zarqawi who seems to have shifted from religious to political speech.

Interior Minister Aouni Yervas said in press comments that Jordan's strategy is based on ensuring political and economic stability, rejecting any blackmail.


He stressed that security in Jordan "is a priority" regardless of the existence of threats by Zarqawi or others.

Zarqawi, a Jordanian, said in an audio-tape attributed to him and carried on an Islamic web site Friday that the triple bombings targeting three hotels in Amman last week were aimed against foreign guests and not Jordanians.

The blasts, which occurred almost simultaneously, killed 59 people and injured 100 others.

In the tape, Zarqawi warned Jordanians to stay away from hotels and diplomatic missions of countries which participated in the war in Iraq.

He also made several conditions for ending its terror war on Jordan -- withdrawing American troops from the desert kingdom, closing the American and Israeli embassies in Amman, ending training of Iraqi forces in Jordan, closing secret prisons and ending Jordanian diplomatic representation in Iraq.


Expert in Islamic movements Mohammed Abu Rumman underlined an "essential change" in Zarqawi's speech which he said has shifted from a strictly ideological and religious speech to a political discourse.

"For the first time Zarqawi is making conditions and terms, which is unusual in terms of his past speeches and recordings," Abu Rumman told United Press International.

He contended that Zarqawi is aware that he lost the media war against Jordan following the Amman bombings "as the Jordanian authorities succeeded in breaking his aura and discrediting him among Jordanians."

"The latest recording by Zarqawi is a mere attempt to politicize the issue and undermine its humanitarian dimension," he added.

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