Jordan experienced a series of assaults today. The attacks left seven police officers, two Jordanian citizens, and one tourist dead. There were also 27 people injured. With several attacks taking place, there is apparent suspicion of an organized attack on state officers and citizens.
In a combination of ambush tactics, attacks were led out in multiple areas. One specific event started with an emergency call about a house fire. Jordan police responded to the emergency in the town of Qatraneh, which lies about 90 miles outside of the capital city of Amman. Police forces were subsequently fired upon when they arrived and the suspects fled in a car.
Another attack on Jordan police happened at a station in Karak Castle, a popular tourist site due to its historical connection to the Crusades. Multiple men holed themselves up inside the castle walls before the conflict was resolved.
The presence of Islamic extremists in the area has created tension inside Jordan borders. They have been labeled as a pro-Western state, offering peace in a region that has been rife with controversy and conflict. This image has been tarnished by a series of incidents led by extremists. Tourism has also taken a hit due to their existence. Karak Castle, the Crusader castle that came under fire, was a popular site for Jordan tourists. Additionally, one of the deaths reported was that of a Canadian citizen, furthering safety concerns for visitors to the country.
Jordan has recently been struggling with the presence of homegrown extremists. These radicals have been battling alongside the likes of other groups in the area from Syria and Iraq. Seemingly undeterred by the alliance between Jordan and the United States, many citizens have turned their back on Western ideology. Over the past year, Jordan police and other local security forces have dealt with the nuisance of a growing rebellion from within their borders.
Western influence has been widespread through the Middle East for centuries. One of the main plot points of this story surrounds the attack on a Crusader castle. European forces, starting in 1095, worked their way into what is considered the holy land to claim a foothold in the area and ensure their ideology permeated throughout the region. The Crusades is merely a single detail in Middle Eastern affairs.
There is a myriad of more contemporary examples. After World War 1, Allied forces disregarded the cultural and religious territories in the Middle East and divided it evenly for their own benefit. Additionally, British influence in Egypt became a major issue because of their interest in the Suez Canal and its access to the Eastern world. Subsequently, the British government gained massive authority inside Egypt.
Even more recently, we have seen the injection of American forces into Iraq and Afghanistan. This has created a difficult situation in which the United States has struggled to retract from. Israel has methodically taken more and more land from their Palestinian counterparts throughout the years. Currently, Syria is plagued by a civil war that has both the United States and Russian forces involved.
The Western involvement in Middle Eastern states is vast. Attacks like the one in Jordan are widely known around the globe since the inception of extremist action. As objectionable as the ambush of police enforcement may be, there is historical nuance to the force behind such action. A country like Jordan, connected to the Western world, is not cast aside from this presence. Considering its proximity to other countries that have suffered major atrocities under the influence of foreign forces, they are prone to the involvement of terrorist behavior. Creating an environment where we don’t have to potentially fear for safety on a global level seems to be fading.
[Featured Image by Ben Curtis/AP Images]