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November 12, 2005
Al Qaeda And Bomber's Remorse

The Scotsman reports that al-Qaeda finds itself on the political defensive after the bombings of three hotels in Amman, Jordan touched off massive anti-Islamist demonstrations. AQ supposedly has found itself surprised by the hostility of the Jordanians after bombing three of its hotels in its relatively peaceful capital:

AFTER years of al-Qaeda terror attacks in which thousands have been killed, many of them Muslims - the people they wish to recruit - voices of dissent are starting to be heard in the Middle East.

As moderate Muslims dare to protest at daily death tolls, even the prospect of one of Osama bin Laden's most feared cohorts, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, being handed over is being discussed. ...

At first al-Qaeda announced that "a group of our best lions" had carried out the attacks to punish Jordan for supporting "the Jews and Crusaders".

Then late at night it posted a second statement on the internet "to explain to Muslims part of the reason the holy warriors targeted these dens." It said it had ordered the suicide attacks on the hotels "only after becoming confident that they were centres for launching war on Islam and supporting the Crusaders' presence in Iraq and the Arab peninsula and the presence of the Jews on the land of Palestine."

A third statement on Friday also had a defensive tone. It said the bombers were four Iraqis, who had chosen the hotels "after a month of surveillance and information gathering".

Forgive me if I remain skeptical about this. Zarqawi has slaughtered Muslims by the thousands in Iraq for two years, a well-known fact in the Arab world. They killed dozens in Egypt in a recent bombing of a resort hotel, as well as many more in Morocco and Turkey during the same time. Those attacks did not specifically target Western interests either. The attacks in 1998 on American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya obviously meant to kill Americans -- and they did kill a dozen -- but almost 200 Muslims died in those attacks.

Nor did Zarqawi ever profess any love for his native Jordan. He escaped the Hashemite Kingdom with a bounty on his head, and he has openly announced his intention to attack whenever possible. He had an opportunity to do so with chemical weapons earlier, but Jordanian intelligence stopped the attack shortly before it launched. AQ might regret the deaths of Palestinians in the latest attack, but Palestinians probably comprised at least some of the deaths at Sharm el-Sheikh and the Sinai last year.

I doubt that AQ leadership will lose much sleep over the anger in the Jordanian street protests. However, the West counted on this kind of reaction eventually arising from the long string of attacks on Arabs. Jordanians have joined the majority of Iraqis in discovering that the butchery of AQ has no limit and no real loyalty to Islam, either. Such road-to-Damascus moments provide some hope that the Muslims of the ummah will reach a level of disgust for radical Muslims throughout the region.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 12, 2005 8:48 PM

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» Tipping points from Bookworm Room
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» Al-Qaeda On Defensive After Bombing Jordanian Hotels from CALIFORNIA YANKEE
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