Ahlam Tamimi upon her release from prison in 2011
Ahlam Tamimi upon her release from prison in 2011Reuters

Last Spring, seven GOP legislators threatened Jordan with economic sanctions and the withholding of aid money if it didn’t extradite the infamous terrorist, Al-Tamimi.

Al-Tamimi was involved - as the mastermind and controller who even scouted out the restaurant - in the terrorist bombing of the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001, which claimed the lives of 15 civilians (of whom 7 were children and one a pregnant woman) including two Americans. Due to a prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel in October of 2011, Al-Tamimi was released to Jordan where she has been living and unrepentantly enjoying life ever since. Attorney Arnold Roth, father of US citizen Malki Roth, one of the victims, has been fighting to have her extradited ever since.

Sbarro bombing medics and victim
Sbarro bombing medics and victimFlash 90
Malki Roth Hy"d
Malki Roth Hy"dINN:AR

King Abdullah has refused to extradite her to the US despite her being placed on the FBI's most wanted list and a criminal extradition treaty signed between USG and the Government of Jordan (GOJ) in 1995.

Al-Tamimi is a member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The king's administration has told the media several times that "The Muslim Brotherhood is a part of the Jordanian system."
For years, if not decades, Congress and succeeding administrations have looked very favourably on King Abdullah of Jordan. Only a select group of American’s knew the truth, namely that Abdullah was not a friend.

In response to questions from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), posed at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, a few days ago, President Trump's nominee Ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster, confirmed,

"The United States has multiple options and different types of leverage to secure Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi's extradition,"

"We will continue to engage Jordanian officials at all levels not only on this issue, but also on the extradition treaty more broadly. U.S. generosity to Jordan in Foreign Military Financing as well as economic support and other assistance is carefully calibrated to protect and advance the range of U.S. interests in Jordan and in the region."

On June 16/20, NBC.MONTANA reported that the US considers withholding aid to Jordan to force extradition. Considering that the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs released a report dated June 30, 2020, claiming that:

“The United States is Jordan's single largest provider of bilateral assistance, providing more than $1.5 billion in 2019, including $1.082 billion appropriated by the U.S. Congress to Jordan through USAID in the 2019 fiscal year budget, and $425 million in Foreign Military Financing,.” this was a heavy duty threat.

The king's excuses have ranged from the fact that the extradition agreement has never been ratified by the Jordanian Parliament, to Jordan's Court of Cassation ruling that the treaty was illegal, thus denying the USG's request to extradite Al-Tamimi.

Sources inside the king's intelligence apparatus have confirmed that King Abdullah will not change his position on Al-Tamimi's extradition. The reason for this is simple: Al-Tamimi is a member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

The king's administration has told the media several times that "The Muslim Brotherhood is a part of the Jordanian system" and that "The Muslim Brotherhood is a part of the regime".

Abdullah is even more dependent on the MB now because the Bedouin upon whom he used to rely, have developed a hatred for him.

As for Jordan's Palestinian Arab majority, it has historically hated Abdullah and his family.

King Abdullah knows President Trump is nowhere near as forgiving as previous US administrations have been when it comes to terrorism supporters, especially those who call themselves America's friends.

Abdullah's tactic is to keep dragging the issue out in the hopes that President Trump will lose the 2020 Presidential Elections and that America forgets.

As for the court’s ruling against Al-Tamimi’s extradition, the king is the head of the judiciary authorities in Jordan. According to the constitution he could override any Court decision.

Jordanians had not exhibited any support for Al-Tamimi in social media or on the streets. For the vast majority of them, she was a non-issue, but there has been an explosion of support for her and her need to stay free of US justice since April and the letter from the seven GOP lawmakers.

The sudden arousal of Jordanian concern at the time has been documented. And it's gotten stronger since then - see, for example: "14-May-20: In Jordan, they stand with confessed bomber Tamimi. And they're worried..." and also "16-May-20: The friends of Jordanian fugitive Ahlam Tamimi, including her lawyers, are speaking up. But not all of them."


On the other hand, Jordanians have protested against the king as well.

The king himself breaks the law, violates the constitution and provokes Jordanians every day by trying civilians before the State Security Court, a martial court deemed illegal by the Jordanian constitution and even international law. Every week, this court sentences critics of the king to jail and has sentenced people to lengthy jail sentences for things like issuing bad checks. Additionally, this court has ordered executions.

Al-Tamimi is not the only killer of Americans the King is protecting. He is also protecting Muarek Abu Tayeh.

Abu Tayeh was the Jordanian airman who killed three US Green Berets in cold blood in November 2016. The Americans have always insisted on interrogating Abu Tayeh independently, and the king has rejected this request on multiple occasions. The king and his government protected him, and at first, even promoted his military rank.

Thanks to the victims' families' pressure and lobbying in DC; the king eventually agreed to have Abu Tayeh prosecuted for the lesser crimes of second degree murders. He was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing three people. Abu Tayeh has continued to claim during and after his trial "I have carried out the orders" - hinting he was asked to do what he did.

Nevertheless, the FBI has not been allowed to interrogate him independently. Simply put, Abu Tayeh has a story to tell that may involve his commanders, and the king does not want the Americans to hear it. If the USG seeks to have him extradited, that could be another pandora's box opening in the king's face.

How long can the King refuse to cooperate? Is the Trump administration determined to bring him to heel?

We shall see.

Ted Belman is a retired attorney and the editor of Israpundit. In 2009 he made aliya and is
now living in Jerusalem.