Last Updated: 9/12/06
Al Qaida

Al Qaida Death Marks U.S.-Jordan Intel Ties

By David Bedein
Special To The Evening Bulletin
June 6, 2006

Jerusalem - The authoritative Middle East News Line reports that the killing of Al Qaida network chief Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi has highlighted Jordanian-U.S. intelligence cooperation.
U.S. and Jordanian officials asserted that Al Zarqawi's death marked the most intense intelligence cooperation between the two countries.

They said senior intelligence officers from Amman and Washington spent nearly a year tracking Al Zarqawi in northern Iraq.

"Jordanian intelligence units, with the approval of the U.S., have been working for some time in Iraq to find Zarqawi," an official said.

Officials said a Jordanian reconnaissance team, acting on intelligence from Iraqi and Palestinian sources, located Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian national, near Baqubah on June 7. They said the Jordanian team was supported by advanced U.S. equipment that tracked cellular communications of Al Zarqawi's aides.

Within an hour of discovering Al Zarqawi, two F-16 multi-role fighters dropped two 250-kilogram bombs on his safe house. They said the discovery of Al Zarqawi was based on both technical and human intelligence and marked a major tactical success in Iraq.

The officials said that until late 2005, U.S. and Iraqi Intelligence repeatedly missed opportunities to capture Al Zarqawi. They said the U.S. intelligence community had little knowledge of Al Zarqawi's habits or even appearance.

"Till last April [2006], the Americans and the Iraqis did not know how he looked like since no reliable pictures of him were available," B. Raman, a leading Indian analyst and expert on Al Qaida, said.

From November 2004 until February 2005, U.S. and Iraqi intelligence surrounded Al Zarqawi but failed to capture him. In one case, they said, Iraqi security forces arrested several suspected Islamic insurgents, including Al Zarqawi, near Faluja, but did not recognize the Al Qaida chief.
In February 2005, officials said, U.S. troops tracked a vehicle that contained Al Zarqawi west of Baghdad. But Al Zarqawi escaped; his driver and a key aide were captured.

"After that, the United States decided that they needed to bring in the Jordanians in a big way," another official said. "Jordan knew Zarqawi best and was working with sources who included relatives and former associates."

Officials said Jordan, which has been operating in Iraq since 2003, obtained intelligence on Al Zarqawi's whereabouts from Palestinian sources in Iraq.

They said Jordanian intelligence spotted the arrival of several Al Qaida lieutenants to the safe house.

Jordanian intelligence was aided by information from Al Zarqawi's family. Officials said Al Zarqawi, a former Jordanian detainee, had maintained contact with his family in Zarqa.

©The Evening Bulletin 2006

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