Gen. Zia-ul-Haq:The butcher of Palestinians during Black September 1970

Discussion in 'China' started by ajtr, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    I'm starting this thread based on the following posts of Ejazji......

    The role of General Zia-ul-Haq in the events of Black September (1970), involving killing of 25000 Palestinians in Jordan

    During Black September the head of Pakistani training commission took command of the 2nd Division and helped kill and cleanse the Palestinians (est. 25,000 dead) from Jordan.

    It was none other that Zia ul Haq.

    So much for the Palestinian cause.

    The butcher was awarded Jordan's highest honour for the services rendered.

    Zia was stationed in Jordan from 1967 to 1970 as a Brigadier, helping in the training of Jordanian soldiers, as well as leading the training mission into battle during the Black September operations as commander of Jordanian 2nd Division, a strategy that proved crucial to King Hussein's remaining in power.


    Zia remained posted in Jordan from 1967 till 1970, where he was involved in training and leading Jordon's military. He is still highly respected in Jordan for his role in the Black September operations in support of King Hussein, where he commanded Jordan's 2nd division. Zia's troops were heavily involved in street-to-street urban fighting and are credited with killing scores of Palestinians. Black September was a great example of how the Arab nations despise the Palestinians, and their support of them only goes as far as to encourage and help the Palestinians to kill Jews.


    Black September
    September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the "era of regrettable events." It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the autonomy of Palestinian organizations and restore his monarchy's rule over the country. The violence resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, the vast majority Palestinian. Armed conflict lasted until July 1971 with the expulsion of the PLO and thousands of Palestinian fighters to Lebanon.


    Jordanian army attacks
    On September 15, King Hussein declared martial law. The next day, Jordanian tanks (the 60th Armored Brigade) attacked the headquarters of Palestinian organizations in Amman; the army also attacked camps in Irbid, Salt, Sweileh,Baq'aa, Wehdat and Zarqa. Then the head of Pakistani training mission to Jordan, Brigadier Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (later Chief of Army Staff and President of Pakistan), took command of the 2nd division. In addition, the Iraqi army in Jordan after 1967 war serving as a reserve forces supported the Jordanian army.

    Arafat later claim that the Jordanian army killed between 10,000 and 25,000 Palestinians.

    The armored troops were inefficient in narrow city streets and thus the Jordanian army conducted house to house sweeps for Palestinian fighters and got immersed in heavy urban warfare with the inexperienced and undisciplined Palestinian fighters.
    Amman experienced the heaviest fighting in the Black September uprising. The American backed Jordanian army shelled the PLO headquarters in Amman and battled with Palestinian guerillas in the narrow streets of the capital. Syrian tanks rolled across the Yarmouk River into northern Jordan and began shelling Amman and other northern urban areas. Outdated missiles fired by the PLO struck Amman for more than a week. Jordanian infantry pushed the Palestinian Fedayeen out of Amman after weeks of bitter fighting.


    Muhammad Aamir Mughal writes:

    To all jihadi and sectarian activists (i.e., Ziaists), look at your spiritual and political Godfather General Zia:


    "The most promising comparison between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Jewish State of Israel came from Gen. Zia ul-Haq. Lacking a political constituency, he skillfully exploited Islam to legitimize and consolidate his military dictatorship. Presenting himself as a simple, pious and devoted Muslim, he institutionalized religious radicalism in Pakistan. In so doing, he found Israel to be his strange ally. Toward the end of 1981, he remarked:

    “Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.” He likewise surprised many observers in March 1986, when he called on the PLO to recognize the Jewish state. As discussed elsewhere, he was actively involved both in the 1970 Black September massacre of the Palestinians in Jordan as well as in Egypt’s re-entry into the Islamic fold more than a decade later. From 1967 to 1970 our Commander of the Faithful Late. General Muhammad Ziaul Haq was in Jordan in Official Militray Capacity and he helped late. King Hussain of Jordan in ‘cleansing’ the so-called Palestinian Insurgents, Zia and Hussain butchered many innocent Palestinians in the name of Operation against Black September {a militant organization of Palestinians}. The intensity of bloodletting by Zia ul Haq and King Hussain was such that one of the founder father of Israel Moshe Dayan said:

    “King Hussein (with help from Zia-ul-Haq of the Pakistani army) sent in his Bedouin army on 27 September to clear out the Palestinian bases in Jordan. A massacre of innumerable proportions ensued. Moshe Dayan noted that Hussein "killed more Palestinians in eleven days than Israel could kill in twenty years." Dayan is right in spirit, but it is hardly the case that anyone can match the Sharonism in its brutality.”


    As per a book: “Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile during the so-called Afghan Jihad following things did happen;

    “He told Zia about his experience the previous year when the Israelis had shown him the vast stores of Soviet weapons they had captured from the PLO in Lebanon. The weapons were perfect for the Mujahideen, he told Zia. If Wilson could convince the CIA to buy them, would Zia have any problems passing them on to the Afghans? Zia, ever the pragmatist, smiled on the proposal, adding, “Just don’t put any Stars of David on the boxes” {Page 131-132}.

    For further reading:

    P. R. Kumaraswamy
    Beyond the Veil: Israel-Pakistan Relations
    Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (JCSS)

    Memories of Barbarity: Sharonism and September By Vijay Prashad

    April 9, 2002 in COUNTERPUNCH.

    Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    In 2005, the outgoing ambassador of Palestine to Pakistan Ahmed Abdul Razzaq stated that late president of Pakistan General Ziaul Haq's bombardment on Palestinians in 1970, was done without taking any permission from Pakistani people, who would never allow this to happen.

    Background on the above statement:

    The most promising comparison between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Jewish State of Israel came from Gen. Zia ul-Haq. Lacking a political constituency, he skillfully exploited Islam to legitimize and consolidate his military dictatorship. Presenting himself as a simple, pious and devoted Muslim, he institutionalized religious radicalism in Pakistan. In so doing, he found Israel to be his strange ally.

    Toward the end of 1981, he remarked: “Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.” He likewise surprised many observers in March 1986, when he called on the PLO to recognize the Jewish state.

    He was actively involved both in the 1970 Black September massacre of the Palestinians in Jordan as well as in Egypt’s re-entry into the Islamic fold more than a decade later. From 1967 to 1970 our Commander of the Faithful Late. General Muhammad Ziaul Haq was in Jordan in Official Militray Capacity and he helped late. King Hussain of Jordan in ‘cleansing’ the so-called Palestinian Insurgents, Zia and Hussain butchered many innocent Palestinians in the name of Operation against Black September {a militant organization of Palestinians}.

    The intensity of bloodletting by Zia ul Haq and King Hussain was such that one of the founder father of Israel Moshe Dayan said: “King Hussein (with help from Zia-ul-Haq of the Pakistani army) sent in his Bedouin army on 27 September to clear out the Palestinian bases in Jordan. A massacre of innumerable proportions ensued. Moshe Dayan noted that Hussein "killed more Palestinians in eleven days than Israel could kill in twenty years." Dayan is right in spirit, but it is hardly the case that anyone can match the Sharonism in its brutality.”
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Saleem writes:

    Some authors are trying to change the history (or hoodwink his readers). What I have read and know about Black September and role of Zia-ul-Haq in that operation, is quite horrible. Actually, main character of that operation was Zia-ul-Haq under whose command operation took place. Whatever this writer wrote is very funny. Just imagine that even if a Jordanian General decided not to command the force than why Jordanian government would make Zia-ul-Haq commander of that force and not any of their own Jordanian Generals or officers?

    On the other hand, one must reflect upon the reason behind Syrian army moving towards Jordanian border. What interest Syrian army would have at the border of Jordan? Was it that since Syria was pro-Palestinians, they came to pressurise Jordan not to act against Palestinian with force and Jordanian General (as any Jordanian officers would have done) agreed on Syrian stand, so he may have declined to oppose them, hence need for non-Jordanian officer like Zia-ul-Haq to replace him?

    What I have read is that even though Jordanian force is small but it is most potent and professional amongst forces facing Israel. They always fought bravely against Israelis though are not big enough to really do much.

    As for battle of Karameh, Israel attacked Palestinian camp with consent of Jordanian King. Anyhow, when attack took place (in March 1968), Jordanian government ordered Jordanian forces not to intervene or engage IDF. Anyhow, Jordanian General Haditha along with some Jordanian officers ignored King's order and engaged IDF. Palestinians were putting resistance but it was Jordanian army entering the battle turned the table and inflicted heavy casualties on IDF, forcing IDF to pull out. Comparatively, Jordanian army casualties were much less than IDF. Result was that, even though decisive role played by Jordanian armed forces, most credit of that defeat got attributed to Palestinians and they attracted a lot of volunteers to fight, not only against Israelis but King of Jordan too.

    After battle of Karameh, several attempts were made to assassinate King Jordan. On 7th Sept, Palestinian hijacked many planes and landed them in Jordan. The area of desert they got the plane landed was almost under their control and Jordan was unable to do much to the disgust of King Jordan (probably, Jordanian army did not wanted to do much about it).

    King of Jordan declared Martial law on 15th Sept and started operation against Palestinian on 16th. With background of 'Karameh battle' and knowing the sentiments of Jordanian Generals towards Palestinians, Jordanian King could not have trusted Jordanian Generals doing operation against Palestinians, killing them, crushing them, and expelling them out of Jordan. Actually, there is little difference between Jordanians and Palestinians. So it is obvious that to crush Palestinians under Jordanian General was impossible. Jordanian Generals in command of the forces would not have allowed that.

    Since King of Jordan (and Jordanian Government) could not have trusted Jordanian Generals or commanders for such operation, Zia-ul-Haq was chosen for the job. Black September operation started on 16th September. Jordanian 2nd division under the command of Zia-ul-Haq (along with Iraqi army stationed in Jordan as reserve force) took part, killing Palestinians living in camps inhumanly, crushing them and then throwing them out of Jordan. Estimated 10 thousand Palestinians were killed within few days.
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Black September and Role of Pakistan

    After the Six Days War, Israel proved itself a Strategic and Military Power in front of Arab nations and the world. Israel which was equipped with the latest equipment provided by USA outclassed the Arab attacking countries Jordan, Egypt and Syria who were further helped by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algiers (Some Pakistani Air force Pilots also helped) who were mostly equipped with equipment provided by USSR. This conflict made Israel the Power House of Middle East making a downfall for Big Arab leaders like King Hussein, Nureddin Attassi and most importantly Jamal Abdul Nasser who resigned (and reconcile his decision) after this incident. Nasser lost his charismatic power over the Arab world. But at that time the newly created Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was gaining power.

    After the war, PLO was the new emerging threat for Israel. Previously following the ideas of Nasser, the main aim of PLO was the liberation of Palestine. After the war, PLO started to gain fame and power. It was having small conflicts with Israel Defence Forces. Arabs were coming to join PLO for their cause. In 1969, during one of the conflict Israel Forces entered PLO bases in Jordon but were repelled back by PLO with the help of Jordanian Security Forces. That battle was named the Battle of Karameh. That was a huge success for PLO giving it a wider fame all over the Arab and Muslim World. Yaseer Arafat emerged as the new leader of PLO and the new saviour of the Arab People. Muslims all over the world were now coming to Jordan to join PLO. Yaseer was a phenomenon at that time with people comparing it with revolutionary leaders like Che Guevara who were not going to lean in front of the Imperial World. USA and Israel begins to seem PLO as the last remaining threat after the war.

    The Six Days War not only ended the Arab Unity Dream of Arab leaders but it also completely changed the political scenario of the Arab World. Iran and Saudi Arabia were already in US control. Egypt and Jordon also started to negotiate with USA and especially Israel. The influence of USSR in middle east was now minimal after the collapse of its ammunition in front of USA superior battle machine and it give USA a relief as it was badly wounded by USSR in Vietnam at that time. Jordon especially which was previously negotiating with Israel secretly doubled its effort to get their support.

    The growing power of PLO was also becoming a threat for King Hussein of Jordon. Due to his negotiations with Israel he was getting unpopular in his own country and PLO was gaining support in both general public and Security Forces. PLO has now taken the full charge of Ibrid, Jordon where they had their stations and training camps. From here, they were also making small attacks on Israel. For the King this was a growing threat which needed to be eliminated for the stability of his own Government and for his own credibility.

    With this Jordanian Government started to take action against PLO. But this created a high rift between Jordon, PLO and Jordanian people as most of them were supporting PLO at that time creating more problems for the King authority. PLO has its own little state now within Jordon from where they were creating problems for Israel and now King Hussein too.

    PLO on the other hand were also having very much trouble from King Hussein too. His efforts for deals with Israel and for the removal of PLO was creating a lot of problems for them. So they thought too that it will be one way or another. They made many unsuccessfull assassinations attempts on King Hussein which failed. So they started to execute a bigger action plan.

    In September 1970, PLO hijacked three aeroplanes a Swissair and a TWA which was landed in Azraq and a Pan Am which was taken to Cairo. After emptying the planes from passengers they blew it up in front of cameras. Later they claim Ibrid in Jordon a liberal territory which make the King to take action against them. On 15th September he order the state of Martial Law in the Country and order a full crackdown against PLO.

    Jordanian Security Forces along with a Pakistani Training mission headed by a Pakistani Brigadier and an Iraqi troop attacked Ibrid. The Pakistani Brigadier was heading the assault as they attacked Ibrid and started killing Palestinians. Arab Radio claimed it a genocide. Arafat claimed the loss of more than 10,000 people during the fighting. Ultimately Arafat withdraw from Ibrid signing a peace deal with Jordanian King under the influence of President Nasser but the death of Nasser on 28th September prove to be another blow for PLO and the King continue the crackdown giving the biggest setback to PLO at that time.

    Syria tried to help Palestinians due to a plea by Arafat but withdraw its forces due to Israel and USA who threatened Syria of severe consequences. PLO received such a blow that for revenge a new organization named Black September came into existence which was than latter responsible for the Munich Killing of Israel's Athletes.

    The Pakistani Brigadier, who was at that time heading the training mission to Jordon and headed the 2nd Jordanian Division, when came back to Pakistan his name was suggested for Court Martial due to his role in Black September and for the killings of Palestinians. There was anger among people regarding this act. But due to unknown reason than Chief of Army Staff General Gul Hassan removed his name from the list which was sent to then President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Instead of a Court Martial that Brigadier was promoted to the rank of Major General. He was than in next few years again get promoted to the ranks of Lt General by "special attention". He was latter made Chief of Army Staff ahead of seven other senior officials. All this top flight from Brigader to the Chief of Army Staff was completed in just 6 years after the Black September.

    The name of the Chief of Army Staff and than Brigader at the time of Black September was "General Zia Ul Haq" who than overthrow the elected Government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto due to his "doings" and later hanged him to "make him an example for the Free World".
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    AMMAN 1970, A MEMOIR

    By Norvell De Atkine

    This is the first in a series of memoirs on the Middle East in the 1960s and 1970s. Norvell de Atkine was one of the first Middle East experts trained by the U.S. military. He attended the American University in Beirut, became a U.S. military attache in Jordan, and spent many years working in the Arab world.

    I had just completed my studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1970, as part of the US Army Foreign Area Specialist program, when Major Bob Perry, assistant U.S. army attaché in Jordan, was murdered by Palestinian gunmen--probably from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at his home in front of his wife and children.(1) I was assigned to replace him.

    I had already been prepared for the revolutionary situation I would encounter in Jordan by my three years as a student at AUB, at the time nicknamed "Guerrilla U". There were remarkably contradictory aspects to the experience. On the surface, the Middle Eastern students were united around the need for revolutionary change and support for the Palestinian cause. Underneath that surface, however, conversations demonstrated a student body divided along ethnic lines, with many of the groups despising (or at least distrusting) each other. Ironically, the Western students were often more pro-Palestinian than the non-Palestinian Arab students.

    The non-Palestinian Arabs, especially the Lebanese Sunni seemed to resent the Palestinians for seizing the limelight. The Maronite Christians and Greek Catholics seethed with resentment. The Greek Orthodox students appeared obsessed with proving themselves Arabs, too, by their militant rhetoric. The Armenians tried to stay out of the fray, the Druze kept their own counsel, and the Shia Muslims kept themselves as invisible as possible. In a preliminary taste of events to follow there was also bitter antagonism between Palestinian and East Bank Jordanian students

    An attentive student could receive a terrific education at AUB from such professors as Hannah Battatu, Zeine N. Zeine and my mentor Dr. Joseph Malone. Battatu, a meticulous researcher and lecturer, was a Palestinian Marxist who, despite my disagreement with his ideology, was a superb and objective lecturer. Although it did not sit well with the mostly Arab students, who looked for affirmation of their wish for a united Arab world, he never hesitated to point out that almost every secular ideological movement in the Arab world was in some way an attempt by non-Sunni or non-Arab minorities to attain a measure of equality with the Sunni Arab majority. Why, he asked, were Communists in the Arab world almost exclusively Christians, Kurds, Jews, Armenians and Shia Muslims?

    Zeine showed how the forgotten details of Middle Eastern history were often the key to understanding the big picture. He also enraged some Arab students with his view that the Arab world had been more peaceful and enjoyed better living standards under the Ottoman Empire than during independence.

    Nevertheless, Beirut was a capital city for the world’s then highly fashionable radical movements. New Left gurus from everywhere came to observe and praise the Palestinian movement. There were huge photos on the school’s walls of Israeli soldiers killed at the 1968 Karama battle in Jordan. Pictures of the latest Palestinian martyrs were on posters everywhere on the walls of Beirut buildings, replaced by their successors every few days. The most common slogan was the ubiquitous "this generation shall see the sea," referring to the presumably inevitable elimination of Israel and a Palestinian march to the Mediterranean coast there.

    Among the fascinating characters shuttling in and around Beirut in those days was the carefully coiffured Leila Khaled, the world’s only two-time aircraft hijacker, a PFLP activist wearing the latest London fashions, speaking in English to an admiring throng of students. Another visitor was Tom Hayden, the high priest of the American radical "New Left" making the obligatory pilgrimage to a Beirut refugee camp. My favorite character, however, was the son of the Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon. His father was known by everyone as the "high commissioner" of Lebanon, because, as Gamal Abdel Nasser’s representative, he manipulated the country at will (or was perceived to do so). Nevertheless his son, who spoke in American slang and associated almost exclusively with American students, spoke of the Arabs as if they were an alien race. Among others representing the bewildering and byzantine nuances of Arab society and politics was our Christian Palestinian family doctor who came early one morning in December, 1968, to visit my wife suffering from hepatitis, and in a state of elation related the details of an Israeli commando attack on Beirut Airport conducted the night before, convinced that it would pull the country into a full-scale war with Israel. Another very different perception a short time later was that of the Lebanese Maronite villagers of Mount Lebanon, who, during a visit by myself with a British officer from the Trucial Oman Scouts of the Gulf Emirates, expressed admiration at the Israeli success in destroying 13 Lebanese airliners. Their opinions prompted my incredulous British guest to plaintively ask, "Are these people Arabs?"

    Ultimately, the stage was actually being set for a Lebanese civil war in which the PLO was a major participant. In brief, but bloody, battles in the south, the Lebanese forces actually won militarily but Nasser’s pressure led to Beirut’s surrender in the 1968 Cairo agreement. The Lebanese government agreed to let the PLO operate against Israel under certain conditions, including a Palestinian agreement that their soldiers would not carry weapons in Lebanese cities. Within a few months, however, all the conditions were forgotten and fedayeen could be seen strolling along Beirut’s main streets carrying AK-47s.

    In December 1967, while on a visit from Lebanon to the Ghor Valley, I witnessed first-hand the tinderbox environment existing between Jordan and Israel. Retaliating for a cross- river fedayeen raid, the Israelis strafed a column of Jordanian troops killing several and knocking out an M-88 tank retriever in the middle of the road. Soldiers and civilians pointed toward the sky and talked about "American" airplanes, though I tried to explain they were French-made Mysteres. Since no one seemed ready to pick up the bodies left in the road, myself and a fellow American officer loaded a couple of them into our small compact car and took them to a nearby police station.

    All of this prepared me for my arrival in Amman in late June 1970. The first thing I saw when the plane landed reflected the current situation in that city. There were two visa control and customs checks: one by Jordanian officials and another by PLO representatives. There were indeed two governmental authorities coexisting in an uneasy, confrontational relationship. Most of Amman and a large slice of northern Jordan were controlled by various Palestinian fedayeen factions. Their Toyota trucks with machine guns mounted in the back constantly patrolled the streets of the capital.

    While my Jordanian army colleagues repeatedly told me in the following weeks that there was Palestinian-Jordanian antagonism, the officer who was my counterpart explained he had to change into civilian clothes to go to his home in the Ashrafiyah district of Amman to avoid being harassed, or worse, by youths in his mostly Palestinian neighborhood.

    Aside from the tumultuous political situation, the U.S. embassy was also in chaos. The previous U.S. ambassador, Harrison Symmes had been declared persona non grata by King Hussein in May 1970 and the embassy itself was leaderless. This action by the King was taken in vain attempt to placate the increasingly strident demands of the Palestinian militants, much in the same manner as the dismissal of Glubb Pasha to placate Arab nationalists in 1956. Dependents had already been evacuated. With little or no guidance coming from the embassy’s senior staff, a few of us devised our own escape and evasion plan should we be overrun.

    Every day there were rumors of the regime’s impending collapse and incessant threats against Americans in the Arab news media. There were months of intermittent warfare between the army and PLO forces. Ceasefires were repeatedly made and quickly broken. Aside from the murder of Major Perry, two American women were raped, an embassy official was abducted and beaten, and a sergeant from the attaché office was taken from his car at a PFLP roadblock and held in a cage for several days.

    Numerous American-owned automobiles had been stolen by the gangs often linked to Palestinian political groups that did as they pleased in Amman. The usual technique was to come to the door and demand the keys to the car. Every trip to and from the embassy was an anxious journey. We were constantly stopped at fedayeen checkpoints. Young 14 and 15 year-old members of the Ashbal youth group manned roadblocks and scrutinized our identity cards in a leisurely and insolent manner before waving us on. Though their weapons were loaded, they obviously did not know much about how to handle them.

    The behavior of the armed fedayeen angered the rank and file of the Jordanian army and antagonized much of the civilian population, including a segment of the Palestinian residents. The disdain was mutual. Palestinian West Bankers referred to Jordanian East Bankers as "al-hufa" (the barefoot ones), to imply they were backward and illiterate. For their part, Jordanian officers blamed Palestinian forces for the 1967 defeat and resented the PLO’s claiming the 1968 battle of Karama as a victory when most of the fighting had been done by the regular army. Referring to 1967, the director of Jordanian army operations claimed, "The Palestinians ran like rabbits."

    The Palestinian relationship was particularly bad with a small but vital part of the Jordanian military structure, the Circassians and Chechens. These peoples of the Caucasus, though a miniscule percentage of the population, constituted an inordinate percentage of the fighter pilots, Special Forces, and palace guard. They were fanatically loyal to the Hashemites. They and their families were also frequent targets of Palestinian harassment or physical attacks.

    Thus, Jordanian society was highly polarized and this situation intensified in the spring and summer of 1970, with frequent shootouts between Jordanian troops and various fedayeen factions. Inevitably, negotiations would follow and a truce or agreement would be announced on Radio Amman in the morning with the government newspapers urging people to get back to work. By late afternoon, firing would break out again, panicking parents to rush to school to pick up their children.

    Both sides suffered from serious flaws in their leadership. Arafat did little or nothing to control the various PLO factions or to discipline his own men. He would claim control of the Palestinian movement when beneficial to do so and point to "renegade" organizations over which he claimed he had no control when it suited him. The radical Palestinian leaders, like Nayif Hawatmah and George Habash, openly called for the king’s overthrow.

    Yet King Hussein was also not always the resolute and determined leader often described by later accounts. Far from looking for an excuse to defeat the Palestinians, he desperately sought an alternative to a showdown with the PLO. In the end, his counterparts’ behavior forced him to act decisively.

    The final turning point was the seizure of three Western airliners by PFLP terrorists on September 6 and 9, 1970. The hijackers forced them to land at Dawson’s landing, a saltflat field that had been used by the British air force during World War Two. The PLO hijackers renamed it "Thawra" (revolutionary) field. (After the civil war ended, the U.S. Air Force used it to land supplies and ammunition for the Jordanian military. It was jokingly nicknamed "reja’iya" (reactionary) field, after the radicals’ insulting name for their moderate rivals.)

    After fruitless negotiations, the three airliners were blown up and most of the passengers were released. However about 50, mostly Israelis, were kept by the PFLP and scattered around Amman for another two weeks. Shortly thereafter Palestinian elements declared the area around Irbid in northern Jordan as "Free Jordan." It was obvious that The Hashemite regime was losing control.

    In the U.S. Embassy, the situation took a decided turn for the better when Ambassador L. Dean Brown arrived and took charge. A group of first-rate Foreign Service personnel--including Hume Horan, Pat Theros, and Bob Pelletreau--became the embassy’s core group. They were keen observers who empathized with the Arabs without the gushy myopic idealization so often found among American academics and some Foreign Service officers.

    At the same time, as Royal Guard officers later told me, the army told the king that he must act or the armed forces would move on their own to change the situation. Finally, on September 17, the cautious and reluctant king acted, ordering a massive military operation to clear Amman of the Palestinian organizations. That morning, the Jordanian Army moved into Amman in a sweep they confidently expected would last at most a few days. Their over-confidence was more than matched by their PLO enemies’ belief that the Arab world would come to their aid and the Jordanian monarchy would soon fall.

    In fact, the bloody conflict dragged on for weeks. The Jordanian Army was not equipped nor trained for urban warfare. The 60th Armor Brigade, which carried the brunt of the initial attacks did not coordinate well with accompanying infantry and was ineffective. Moreover, units from the two infantry divisions pulled off the Israeli front were composed of a high percentage of Palestinians and small village East Bank Jordanians. Many of the Palestinians deserted and later constituted several PLO battalion-size units in southern Lebanon. The Second Division’s commander Brigadier Bajahat Muhaisein, an East Banker who had married into a prominent Palestinian family, quit. In an ironic turn of events General Zia al-Haq, then head of the Pakistani training mission to Jordan, basically took command and kept the 2nd Division operations going.

    The East Bank soldiers, mostly from northern villages or southern tribal groups, were not familiar with the city in which they were now fighting. The situation seemed close to what T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, had described in explaining the vast differences between the urban and rural peoples of Jordan over 50 years earlier. Amman was an alien place to them.

    The Jordanian armored units, trying to operate in narrow twisting streets filled with rubble, were easy prey. I saw a number of American M-60 tanks disabled by Soviet anti-tank missiles. After pulling back, the Jordanians resorted to unobserved artillery attacks using almost their entire reserve of ammunition. Since the artillery fire was not directed by observers pinpointing targets, it tended to be haphazard and counter-productive. Palestinian civilians were often the casualties. They also brought in twin 40mm anti-aircraft weapons manned by air force personnel, which put on massive pyrotechnics displays while doing very little damage.

    Nor was the artillery fire particularly well coordinated with infantry or armor advances. In fact, the heavy limestone structure of many buildings made them vulnerable to only the heaviest of weapons. Even 106mm recoilless anti-tank rifles did little damage to most of the buildings. From my perch in the old American embassy building in Jabal Luwaybdah, I could clearly see the Jordanian attempts to root out the Palestinian guerillas from Jabal Ashrifiyah, one of their strongholds. The attack columns would start out with the infantry close behind but as the volume of fire from the Palestinian positions increased the infantry would fall behind and the tank would soon be isolated. Tanks would fire their main gun at individual Palestinian snipers. Four or five Palestinian fighters would fire upon advancing Jordanian troops, inflicting casualties, and when finally located by the Jordanians, would simply move a hundred meters to another house and resume firing.

    However, the volume of fire and explosions was being reported by the Western media as a near-genocide by "enraged bedouin troops," raping and slaughtering as they moved into Palestinian areas. In reality, the battle was fought with very little hand-to-hand fighting and usually subsided at night. Moreover, the vast majority of the press was holed up in the Intercontinental hotel, reporting on the war from infrequent glimpses through the windows and repeating rumors and stories related to them by the hotel staff, most of whom were Palestinians. The telephone exchanges were in the hands of the rebels and telephonic communications were sporadic at best.

    The Western media was also far more comfortable with the better-educated and politically savvy Palestinian leadership than with the Jordanian military, and the reporting reflected that fact. A leader in championing the Palestinian cause was the BBC Arabic service, which dwelled on alleged Jordanian atrocities and Palestinian "successes." Nasser’s Voice of the Arabs radio station from Cairo, which backed the PLO, had a powerful influence on the large numbers of Arabs who listened to it faithfully. The heavy-handed approach of the Jordanian government also contributed to their "image "problem. They had made very little, if any, provision or plans for handling thousands of people locked into an urban battle ground with no escape routes and, after a while, no water. The ubiquitous water tanks on top of the houses were almost all riddled with bullet and shrapnel holes and the city water mains were broken.

    Meanwhile in other parts of Jordan, the Jordanian Arab Army was turning the tide. Al-Salt, hometown of Christian DFLP leader Nayif Hawatmeh, was retaken; gradually villages along the Ghor valley were also regained by Government troops; and throughout the conflict, the south always remained in government control.

    There were two wild cards in the Jordanian civil war and at first glance both seemed favorable for the PLO. Syria, portraying itself as the paragon of Arab nationalism, had always been hostile to the Hashemites. Iraq, with a large military force remaining in Jordan since the 1967 war, had also been outspokenly favorable to Arafat’s forces.

    But these appearances were misleading. The faction then taking over in Syria, led by Hafiz al-Asad, was hostile toward Arafat while, in the end, Baghdad’s relatively new leader, Saddam Hussein, decided that he preferred good relations with Jordan. His units withdrew, amid Palestinian charges that Iraqi units had coordinated their movements with the Jordanian Army to make it harder for the PLO seizing control of ammunition, bases and areas. These two choices would continue to affect decisions many years later, with Asad always suspicious of Arafat and Saddam generally enjoying Jordanian help (or favorable neutrality) including his 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Arafat, however, did not hold any grudge against Saddam who he worked with closely in later years.

    At the same time, though, Syria was still mainly governed by Asad’s rival, Salah Jadid. On September 20, Syria’s army invaded Jordan using both regular forces and PLO army units from the Palestine Liberation Army. At first, the Jordanians were being overwhelmed, losing a number of tanks from their premier armored unit, the 40th Armored Brigade, and were forced to pull back. However under effective Jordanian air attacks, the Syrians suffered heavy losses. A senior fighter pilot in the Jordanian Air Force told me it was a veritable "turkey shoot" with the Syrian tanks being easily seen and hit in the gently rolling open terrain of northern Jordan.

    However General Asad refused to put his planes into the air to provide cover for two reasons. One was his own dislike of Arafat, who he saw as a client of the rival Jadid faction. The other was Israel’s warning, made at Jordan’s request through the U.S. embassy in Amman, that its forces would intervene if the Syrian offensive continued. The demoralized Syrian forces dragged themselves home, towing dozens of destroyed tanks with them, and within a few weeks Asad seized power in Damascus. King Hussein, always careful to look to the future, resisted recommendations from the military to vigorously pursue the Syrians, and allowed the Syrians to evacuate in a leisurely fashion, carrying back almost all their destroyed equipment. He correctly decided that any further damage inflicted on the Syrians might unite a Syrian government coming apart.

    As the Iraqis pulled out and the Syrians retreated in humiliation, the Palestinian leadership realized defeat was inevitable and began negotiating. However, the Jordanians had concluded that they could not make a deal with Arafat that he would implement faithfully. Urged on by the military leadership and Prince Hasan, King Hussein maintained his position, demanding the PLO’s full military withdrawal from Jordan.

    An agreement was reached in Cairo, under the supervision of the ailing Nasser, Arafat’s patron, who died the day after it was signed on September 28. With Nasser gone and Jordan’s Arab neighbors in political disarray, King Hussein proceeded slowly and surely to evict the remainder of the PLO and other Palestinian armed groups from Jordan. By July 1971, the last remnant of the PLO was holed up in the Ajlun hills. I watched one of the last Jordanian assaults on these PLO positions. It was an uneven contest with the Palestinians replying to Jordanian artillery and tank fire with katusha rocket attacks that were so ineffective that the Jordanian soldiers did not even take cover. When one exploded seemingly close by, I "hit the deck" as I had numerous times during Viet Cong mortar attacks, eliciting gales of laughter from the soldiers nearby.

    A few days later the Palestinians surrendered and one group of about 200 waded across the Jordan River to surrender to the Israelis rather than face the wrath of the East Bank soldiers. But apparently my brief appearance at the battle site was enough to put me on a PLO "hit list." It was soon claimed that I had been "directing" the Jordanian assault in Ajlun.

    While most Palestinians and Jordanians did not directly participate in the war, to say that it was not a civil war is like saying that because most American southerners and northerners did not participate in the war of 1861 it was not a civil war. The Jordanian conflict lives on with lingering bitterness, split families, and neighbors. People were dragged from their cars and killed based on their identity cards. The Jordanian soldiers of an armored unit told me they pulled down the trousers of Palestinian prisoners and sat them on the hot engine compartment of their tanks. There was looting and individual acts of murder on both sides. In the politically correct jargon of Arab politics it became known as "the era of regrettable events."

    In my trips back to Jordan over the years it has been my observation that the scars of the civil war have not healed. It marked the complex development of Palestinian-Jordanian relations in the 1970s and 1980s. The arrival of thousands of Palestinians expelled from Kuwait in 1991, bringing with them considerable amounts of money, have reopened some old wounds. I was told by a retired army general "They [Palestinians] build big villas on the hills and add nothing to this country." Certainly it is true that few Palestinian officers--or soldiers for that matter--serve in combat units today. In my most recent visit, I observed what seems to be a parallel process of modernization characterized by an emerging trendy, upper-class youth with water pipes installed in their Mercedes and young girls in a night club attired in tight body suits talking from table to table with cell phones, developing alongside a very definite Islamization of the society. For instance, the dress of the young women of Yarmouk University was decidedly conservative. However, in neither case did I detect any erasure of the old Jordanian-Palestinian fissure as some writers on Jordan have described recently.

    The 1970-71 fighting, though brief, was a bitter conflict with all the earmarks of a civil war based on ethnic division. It could be said there was no real difference in language, religion, culture or history separating the two sides; yet, even if one believes that the split did not exist before, the 1970 war clearly created one.


    1. Major Perry was most probably killed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Kill at least 10 Ahmadis a year: General Zia-ul-Haq’s legacy

    April 5th, 2010Abdul NishapuriLeave a commentGo to comments

    While right wing jihadis and Taliban apologists in Pakistani media and politics are known for makings noises about real or perceived grievances of Muslims all over the world, they never seem to complain on Muslim on Muslim or Muslim on non-Muslim persecution and violence such as those against Ahmadis, Shias, Christians and Sikhs in Pakistan.

    We at LUBP support Ahmadis’ freedom to live without facing discrimination and with full civil rights in Pakistan and elsewhere, and to self-describe themselves as they wish and to believe and practice their religion free from any threat or harassment.

    We present below two recent reports on violence against Ahmadis in Pakistan.

    The following report suggests that since the promulgation of the ‘anti-Ahmadi’ law in 1984 by General Zia-ul-Haq, not a year has passed when there has been less than ten Ahmadis killed due to religious bias.

    11 Ahmadis killed during 2009: report

    LAHORE: During the year 2009, eleven Ahmadis were killed while numerous others became victims of attempted killings, a recently published report titled ‘Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan during year 2009’.

    Since the promulgation of the ‘anti-Ahmadi’ law in 1984, not a year has passed when there has been less than ten Ahmadis killed due to religious bias.

    The report, which was released by Nazarat Umoor-e-Aama Sadr Anjuman Ahmadia Pakistan (Rabwa), claimed that the actions of these Ahmadi opponents have been encouraged largely by the prejudiced attitude of the authorities. It alleged that the federal government has been in continual denial of the human rights and religious freedom of the Ahmadis, especially the governments of Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir who have openly supported religious fanatics in their anti-Ahmadi campaign.

    Apart from the killings, dozens of Ahmadis, including women and children, were booked for blasphemy.

    Source: Daily Times, 15 March 2010

    Here is the latest incident reported from Faisalabad (5 April 2010) where three Ahmadis have been killed. It is worth noting that the PML-N government in the Punjab province has recently forged an alliance with a terrorist outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba in this area (Jhang / Faisalabad). Faisalabad is also a home town of Rana Sanaullah, the law minister of Punjab, who is notorious for his close links with terrorists of Sipah-e-Sahaba. Also, it may be recalled that only a few weeks ago, supporters of Sipah-e-Sahaba attacked a peaceful Eid Milad-un-Nabi rally of Barelvi Muslims in Faisalabad.

    Ahmadis slam target-killings in Faisalabad

    LAHORE: The Jamaat-e-Ahmadia Pakistan on Sunday condemned the target killing of three members of its community in Faisalabad on April 1 (Thursday), Daily Times has learnt. The incident occurred around 10pm last Thursday when the three Ahmadis were returning home in their vehicle from their jewellery and cloth shops situated in Rail Bazaar in Faisalabad. As their car approached the Canal Road near Faisal Hospital, four or five unidentified militants – in a white car – ambushed them. The three Ahmadis were seriously injured when the men opened fire at them. The attackers managed to flee from the scene. The three men died before they reached the hospital. The deceased men include 60-year-old Sheikh Ashraf Parvez and 57-year-old Sheikh Masood Jawad – who were brothers –and Jawad’s 24-year-old son Asif Masood. staff report

    Source: Daily Times, 5 April 2010

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