BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 28 October, 2002, 22:35 GMT
Jordan's jitters over diplomat's murder
Forensic scientists at the scene of the shooting
Foley was the first US diplomat to be killed in Jordan

Lawrence Foley was not working for the CIA or the Pentagon. He was not one of the US embassy's political officers. Instead he was in Jordan to give out humanitarian aid from the American Government.

This fact may, paradoxically, contain an answer to the question of why he was murdered.

US officials involved in more sensitive work might simply have been a harder target for terrorists who just needed to kill an American diplomat.


Suspicion must once again fall on al-Qaeda for this attack

And the assumption is that this was a professional assassination.

As many as eight bullets were pumped into Mr Foley's body, possibly with a silenced weapon. The attacker quietly and calmly left the scene with no sign of panic.

"It's too early to say for sure, but the facts we have at the moment suggest he was targeted because of who he was," one US official was quoted as saying.

The official told the AFP news agency: "There is nothing that I have seen that would lead anyone to believe that this was a robbery."

Vigilance

Mr Foley is the first US diplomat to be killed in Jordan, and the first in the Middle East since the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington just over a year ago.


This incident if anything will make us more co-operative with the United States and the fight against terrorism

Mohammed Affash Adwan
Jordanian information minister
The US ambassador to Jordan has urged all Americans in the country to exercise vigilance.

American diplomatic and military installations around the Middle East were anyway on heightened alert after the killing of an American marine by al-Qaeda in Kuwait earlier this month.

Suspicion must once again fall on al-Qaeda for this attack.

In the wake of the shooting, the Jordanian Government has been stressing its credentials as one of America's most staunch allies in the Arab world.

Pragmatic course

The Jordanian Information Minister, Mohammed Affash Adwan, denied that the shooting would damage ties with the US.

A policeman stands guard in front of the US Embassy
Police have been escorting diplomats since the attack
"We are in close co-operation with the United States, especially in the war against terrorism," he said.

"We have been doing this even prior to 11 September and we continue to do so and this incident if anything will make us more co-operative with the United States and the fight against terrorism."

Jordan is a small nation which has to navigate a pragmatic course between the demands of its powerful neighbours - Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

And pragmatism dictates there is no alternative to supporting the most powerful player in the region, the United States, as it manoeuvres towards a possible war with Iraq.

But on the Jordanian street, anti-American sentiment is increasing along with the US military build up.

The Jordanian Government must be fervently hoping that none of its citizens are implicated in Mr Foley's murder.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Richard Slee
"The Jordanian government has caled the attack a treacherous assassination"
Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Adwan
"It looks like it could have had a political motive"
The BBC's Roger Hardy
This attack... was clearly very professional"
See also:

28 Oct 02 | Middle East
08 Oct 02 | Country profiles
29 Jul 02 | Middle East
05 Jul 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes