Families of American terror victims: Suspend aid to Jordan

Families of three US soldiers slain by Jordanian soldier call on Congress to suspend aid to Jordan until it extradites the killer.

Elad Benari ,

Flag of Jordan
Flag of Jordan

The families of three US Special Forces troops slain by a Jordanian soldier at a military base in Jordan in 2016 are calling on Congress to suspend aid to Jordan until it extradites the killer, The Associated Press reported.

The families are also joining an effort to press Jordan to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, the terrorist convicted in Israel of a 2001 bombing at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two Americans.

In letters sent to lawmakers this week, the families say assistance to Jordan should be cut until Jordan addresses the cases.

The soldier, Marek al-Tuwayha, has already been convicted in Jordan and is serving life in prison for the murders, but the families say the sentence is inadequate because he will likely be released after 20 years. Tamimi has lived freely in Jordan since she was released in the 2011 Shalit deal.

In their appeals to lawmakers, the families of the US soldiers Matthew Lewellen, of Missouri, Kevin McEnroe, of Arizona, and James Moriarty, of Texas, said Congress should withhold or reduce foreign aid to Jordan unless both cases are resolved.

The king of Jordan “should publicly apologize for the murders of their sons and explain why his country harbors a terrorist that killed Americans in the pizzeria bombing,” they said in a statement quoted by AP.

The Trump administration’s nominee to serve as ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster, recently confirmed that US aid to Jordan could be withheld as leverage to pressure the Hashemite kingdom into extraditing Tamimi.

Following that report, the leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called on Jordan to extradite Tamimi to the US.

“We support (al-Tamimi’s) extradition, along with a U.S. prosecution of the murderer of our sons,” said Moriarty’s father, James. “We also hope all of the families of Americans killed by Jordanians finally get some measure of justice. King Abdullah should remember this: We will not stop until we do.”

The US has long been a major provider of aid to Jordan and, in early 2018, the administration signed a five-year, $6.4 billion aid agreement with the country that increased the annual amount of aid by $275 million to $1.3 billion.