News


DATE=2/20/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-227049
TITLE=JORDAN / IRAQ (L)
BYLINE=DOUGLAS ROBERTS
DATELINE=AMMAN
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  JORDANIAN POLICE HAVE CLASHED WITH PRO-IRAQ DEMONSTRATORS
FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS MONTH.  V-O-A CORRESPONDENT DOUGLAS 
ROBERTS IN AMMAN REPORTS JORDAN'S GOVERNMENT SAYS ONE PERSON WAS 
KILLED AND THREE WERE WOUNDED IN THE INCIDENT IN THE TOWN OF 
MAAN, ABOUT 250 KILOMETERS SOUTH OF THE CAPITAL.

TEXT:  NEWS REPORTS SAY THE INCIDENT OCCURRED AFTER FRIDAY 
PRAYERS WHEN A GROUP OF SEVERAL HUNDRED PRO-IRAQ DEMONSTRATORS 
ATTEMPTED TO MARCH FROM THE MAIN MOSQUE IN MAAN TO THE CENTER OF 
TOWN.

THEY WERE CONFRONTED BY JORDANIAN POLICE WHO WERE ENFORCING A BAN
ON PROTESTS THAT WAS ANNOUNCED EARLIER THIS MONTH.

A STATEMENT FROM JORDAN'S INTERIOR MINISTRY DESCRIBES THE 
PROTESTORS AS ADVENTURERS TRYING TO PROVOKE CHAOS IN THE KINGDOM.
THE OFFICIAL STATEMENT SAYS ONE PASSERBY WAS KILLED IN THE 
CONFRONTATION BETWEEN POLICE AND DEMONSTRATORS.  THREE OTHER 
PEOPLE, INCLUDING ONE POLICEMAN, WERE INJURED.

THE INTERIOR MINISTRY BLAMED THE INCIDENT ON OPPOSITION 
POLITICIAN LEITH SHUBEILAT, AN ARDENT CRITIC OF GOVERNMENT POLICY
ON THE IRAQ CRISIS.  THE STATEMENT SAYS MR. SHUBEILAT WAS 
ARRESTED LATE THURSDAY AFTER DELIVERING A SERMON IN MAAN THAT THE
GOVERNMENT DESCRIBED AS AN ATTEMPT TO INCITE UNREST.

MR. SHUBEILAT IS KNOWN FOR HIS PRO-IRAQ SYMPATHIES.  HE TRAVELLED

TO BAGHDAD LAST MONTH FOR A MEETING WITH PRESIDENT SADDAM 
HUSSEIN.  AND AFTERWARD, THE IRAQI LEADER RELEASED ABOUT 80 
JORDANIANS WHO HAD BEEN HELD IN IRAQI JAILS ON A VARIETY OF 
CHARGES.

THE GESTURE WAS SEEN AS A SLAP AT THE JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT WHICH 
HAD SOUGHT IN VAIN TO OBTAIN THE RELEASE OF THE PRISONERS.  

RELATIONS BETWEEN BAGHDAD AND AMMAN HAVE DETERIORATED DURING THE 
PAST TWO YEARS.  BUT JORDANIAN PUBLIC OPINION IS RUNNING STRONGLY
IN FAVOR OF IRAQ IN THE CURRENT STANDOFF OVER BAGHDAD'S WEAPONS 
OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

OPPOSITION PARTIES INCLUDING THE INFLUENTIAL MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD 
ATTEMPTED TO ORGANIZE A PRO-IRAQ DEMONSTRATION HERE IN AMMAN LAST
WEEK.  BUT THE PROTESTORS WERE QUICKLY DISPERSED BY CLUB-WIELDING
POLICE.  DOZENS OF DEMONSTRATORS WERE ARRESTED.  (SIGNED)

NEB/DBR/JWH/PLM

20-Feb-98 11:34 AM EST (1634 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.