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The Parliament has amended the Constitution to allow the monarchy to appoint the top military and intelligence officials. Jordan has agreed to shelter about 1,000 Iraqi Christian refugees for one year until they are resettled to Western countries; their transport and sustenance is being paid for by a Catholic NGO.




Militant Salafist leader Mohammad Shalabi, who has urged Islamists to fight in Syria and indicated his support for the Islamic State as well as other groups, said his followers will not take action in Jordan unless "we felt ... that injustice is going to befall us or that the circle of injustice is expanding." A security official said Jordan could have "hundreds if not thousands" of potential Islamic State sympathizers. The head of the Jordanian Army met on Aug. 27 with the head of US Central Command to discuss enhanced cooperation between their forces. On Aug. 24, Jordanian troops killed two gunmen and injured another as their camouflaged vehicle was attempting to cross into Jordan from Syria; four other passengers were arrested and seven machine guns were seized. As part of new antiterrorism measures, Jordan has begun stricter monitoring of the buying and selling of gold. The UN said that of the 3 million people who have fled the fighting in Syria, 613,252 have gone to Jordan.




Jordanian authorities arrested over 40 people suspected of membership in the Islamic State or the Al Nusrah Front, as "precautionary measures" to deter others from joining the terrorist groups. A lawyer for Jordan's Salafist movement said that over the past week 46 members of the movement had been arrested for pledging alliegiance to the Islamic State, and added: "The division between ISIS and the Al Nusrah Front in Syria has had a negative effect on the Salafist Movement in Jordan, although many of its leading figures supported ISIS." Prosecutors recently charged eight men with recruiting for Hezbollah and planning attacks on US soldiers in 2006 and the Israeli Embassy in Amman.




The Jordanian Armed Forces denied reports that Syrian jets had violated Jordanian airspace. A JAF source warned against the publication of "false news" that can result in harm to the national security.




Jordanian Salafist leader Mohammad al Shalabi a.k.a. Abu Sayyaf has indicated his support for the Islamic State, and said efforts are being made to resolve the differences between the IS and the Al Nusrah Front. Over the past two weeks, Jordanian authorities have arrested 20 Jordanian Salafists in Amman and Zarqa who are suspected of supporting the IS. Tribal elders and families in Maan turned over four wanted "outlaws" to authorities. When asked for a statement on Iraq, a government spokesman said "Jordan welcomes any step that will enhance the stability of Iraq." Another government official warned that demographic changes are in store for Jordan due to the influx of 2.5 million non-Jordanians, of whom over 1.4 million are Syrian refugees.




Jordan denied Iraqi press reports that its territory is being used by US forces to target the Islamic State in Iraq. Over 15,000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters demonstrated in Amman against the Israeli campaign in Gaza; many of the protesters shouted "Death to Israel," and some wore the uniform of Hamas' military wing, the Al Qassam Brigades. The first UN aid convoy through the Ramtha border crossing, which was taken over by the Al Nusrah Front in September, entered Syria on Aug. 6.




Hamzah Mansour, head of the Islamic Action Front, and Zaki Bani Rsheid, the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, praised Palestinian gains in Gaza. Islamists marched in support of Hamas at the Islamic University in Amman. A rights group criticized Jordan for reportedly denying entry to Palestinians escaping from Syria. On Aug. 2, Mohammed Shalabi Abu Sayyaf, leader of the Salafi jihadist movement in Jordan, said that cheering for the Islamic State in mosques in Jordan is "normal."




Imprisoned radical cleric Abu Qatada issued a 21-page statement calling the Islamic State's "caliphate" void and accusing IS emir Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi of heresy. Protests organized by the Muslim Brotherhood were held in Amman and Irbid, denouncing Israel's Gaza offensive.




Maher Rahhal, the head of the Syrian rebel group Liwa al-Mujahideen Brigade, was shot dead in Amman by two Syrian suspects in an alleged "family feud." Authorities discussed how to calm tensions between police and residents in Maan, said to be a hotbed of Islamist activity. A government spokesman reiterated Jordan's intention not to host training for Syrian rebels.




Jordan is reluctant to host an expanded US program to train and equip Syrian rebels. On July 9, Jordanian soldiers fired at and wounded three Islamic State gunmen who were trying to cross into Jordan from Syria for medical treatment; jihadist sources say about 2,200 Jordanians are fighting in the ranks of Islamist rebels in Syria, mostly with the Islamic State. Officials said Arabs from Syria, Egypt, and Iraq make up about 2.4 million, or nearly a third, of Jordan's 9 million population. Jordan continues to denounce Israel's Gaza offensive.




Over the past week, two rallies in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham were held in Maan, the first such public demonstrations for the group in Jordan. Salafi jihadist leader Mohammad Shalabi a.k.a. Abu Sayyaf reportedly convinced the ISIS demonstrators to tone down their activities. Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups have in the past been allowed to operate in Jordan, ostensibly so authorities can monitor and infiltrate them. Authorities recently said the country's borders are secure, and denied reports that ISIS had taken over the strategic Turaibil crossing into Iraq.




Iraq asked Jordan to support the Maliki government's fight against Sunni insurgents; Jordan expressed concern but said it does not interfere in Iraq's affairs. Al Qaeda-linked cleric Abu Qatada was acquitted of a charge of conspiracy to commit terrorism; he faces another trial in September for allegedly planning terrorist acts in Jordan in 2000. The UK said Qatada, who was deported in 2013, is barred from returning to Britain. While in prison, Qatada managed to issue statements on the feud between the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Abu Sayyaf a.k.a. Mohammad Al Shalabi, the main spokesman for al Qaeda's branch in Jordan, has said his group has nearly 2,000 jihadists in Syria; he also claims to lead some 5,000 Salafi jihadist followers in Jordan. Another Jordanian Islamist leader, Saad al Huneiti, has been in Syria trying to broker a truce between ISIS and Al Nusrah.




Concerned about events in Iraq, Jordan has reportedly deployed some 40,000 troops along its eastern and northeastern borders with Iraq and Syria to prevent ISIS and Al Nusrah Front fighters from entering Jordan. The State Security Court charged the owner and 13 journalists of the Amman-based Iraqi satellite TV station Al-Abasiya with inciting terrorism.




Authorities dismissed a Free Syrian Army claim that Jordanian soldiers killed a child in an exchange of fire with the FSA. About 2,000 Al Nusrah Front fighters are said to be active in southern Syria near the Golan Heights and Jordan's northern border, where they operate checkpoints across the Hauran plain. The government said it will continue to prohibit Syrians without valid residency permits on board flights to Jordan unless their tickets show they are merely transiting through Jordan. Members of a liberal dissenting faction of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood met near Irbid to discuss possible reforms.




The organizers of the 20-nation "Eager Lion 2014" military exercise, which is currently underway, said that no Israeli troops are involved and no chemical weapons are being used in the training. About 7,500 US troops are currently in Jordan, of whom 6,000 are engaged in Eager Lion. After several US government personnel were chased by assailants on May 20 in Mafraq governornate near the Iraq border, the US Embassy warned American citizens to avoid the area.




The state security court sentenced 10 "jihadists" to jail terms of two-and-a-half years each for trying to enter Syria to join radical groups such as the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Security forces arrested 158 suspects in Maan after the shooting of five gendarmes there last week.




Security forces are looking for 19 suspects in Maan, where clashes with security forces have been ongoing since a man was killed during an attack on police last week. Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood dismissed three of its members for taking part in the national "Zamzam" initiative, which seeks to promote national unity through dialogue.




Jordanian authorities reportedly released convicted terrorist Mohamed al Dersi in exchange for Jordanian diplomat Fawaz Al Aytan, who was kidnapped in Libya, presumably by Ansar al Sharia. Al Dersi is said to be already in Libya, but al Aytan has not yet been freed. Authorities are trying to stem the flow of Jordanian jihadists to and from Syria, amid reports that some 2,000 Jordanians are fighting there and about 300 have returned in the past two months. "Outlaws" tossed petrol bombs in Maan, where one person was killed and five policemen were injured in clashes this week.




Four Jordanian fighter jets hit and destroyed a number of vehicles entering Jordan from Syria that were believed to be carrying Syrian rebel fighters. Syrian state media said the vehicles were not from its army.




Abed Shihadeh a.k.a. Abu Mohammed Al Tahawi, a hardline Islamist leader on trial with over 60 other Salafi Jihadists for inciting violence in April 2011, challenged the court's authority and asked to be freed on bail. Over 700 Syrian refugees entered Jordan in the past 48 hours. Border guards foiled an attempt on April 5 to smuggle "huge caches of light and medium weapons and explosives" into Jordan from Syria. On April 2, the State Security Court sentenced eight terrorists in a 2004 plot by Azmi al Jayousi, a Jordanian al Qaeda operative who planned to kill at least 80,000 people with toxic chemicals; six received life terms and two others were sentenced to 15 years each.


 
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