General Intelligence Directorate (Jordan)
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|دائرة المخابرات العامة|
Official Seal of the GID
Dairat al-Mukhabarat al-Ammah (Arabic: دائرة المخابرات العامة) (translated: General Intelligence Directorate, or GID) is the intelligence agency of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and a branch of the Jordanian Armed Forces. The GID is reportedly one of the most important intelligence agencies in the Middle East, and is considered one of the most professional in the Arab world.
Law and Establishment
Before establishing GID, the department was known as the General Investigation Department (دائرة المباحث العامة) from 1952 to 1964.
GID was established in accordance with Act 24 of the year 1964 which went through all its constitutional stages.
The GID Director is appointed by royal decree, itself the result of a decision made by the Counsel of Ministers. On January 2, 2009, King Abdullah II replaced Muhammad Dahabi (brother of Nader Dahabi) as director with General Muhammad Raqqad, the former GID director. In 2012, Muhammad Dahabi was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. Officers are also appointed by royal decree upon the recommendation of the Director General; they all have university degrees in different majors and must go through a thorough security check before joining the service.
According to Jordanian sources, the current GID Officer in the Royal Court is Zeid bin al-Hussein, who advises the King on issues related to recruitment. Other officers in the GID include Fawzi al-Ma'aytah, Farraj Adeeb Farraj, Fawaz al-Fares al-Abadi, Jamil Samawi, Fawaz al-Khalaylah and Mihammad Rasouk al Kailani. The former GID officer in the Jordanian embassy in Tel-Aviv was Hussein al-Abadi.
The duties of the GID is specified in law and consists in protecting the internal and external security of the Kingdom through carrying out necessary intelligence operations, and executing duties assigned by the Prime Minister in writing.
As quoted from the official GID Site, their mission is
to contribute to the safeguarding of the Kingdom and the Nation under the Hashemite leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II bin al Hussein, as well as protecting the freedoms of the Jordanian people and preserving a democratic form of government. It is our objective to share with others the responsibility of building the proper grounds that leads to create an environment of security and stability, which will reflect prosperously on all sectors of the Nation, providing the confidence to all types of local and foreign investors to operate in a reliable and secure atmosphere.
In practice, the agency is notoriously known for its extensive activity in Jordan and throughout the Middle East, as well as its cooperation with American, British, and Israeli intelligence. Through a complex spying system, it plays a central role in preserving stability in Jordan and monitoring seditious activity. The GID is believed to be the CIA's closest partner after the MI6. The GID enjoys good relations with the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, but relations temporarily soured in 1997 after a Mossad attempt to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Amman.
The GID was the main force behind maintaining Jordan's stability in the years after Black September, thwarting numerous terrorist plots. Even before the 9/11 attacks, the Jordanians had become key partners in the war on terror. In 1999, tips from the Mukhabarat alerted the CIA to plots by Bosnia-based terrorists against U.S. targets in Europe.
At the dawn of the new millennium, Jordanian Intelligence uncovered a large scale terrorist attack, known as the 2000 Millennium Terrorist attacks, that would have attacked dozens of hotels across Jordan and the United States. Jordan immediately relayed the information to Washington and the attacks were thwarted in both countries. The GID warned the United States of the impending 9/11 attacks. In late summer 2001, Jordanian intelligence intercepted a message implying that a major attack was being planned inside the US and that aircraft would be used. The message also revealed that the operation was codenamed "Big Wedding", which indeed turned out to be the codename of the 9/11 plot. The message was passed to US intelligence through several channels.
As many as 100 al Qaeda prisoners have passed through the Mokhabarat's Al Jafr prison in the southern desert. Among them are some of the biggest catches in the war on terror: Al Qaeda operations head Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Persian Gulf chief Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri. The reliance of US intelligence on its Jordanian counterpart was forged in part by both countries’ aversion to Islamic radicalism. Their collaboration is believed to have helped quell the Al-Qaeda insurgency in Iraq and eliminate terrorist masterminds such as Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
- The Crown: The Hashemite Royal Crown represents the Constitutional Monarchy.
- The Olive Wreath: Two branches of olive symbolizes prosperity, welfare and peace.
- The Shield: An Arabic Islamic shield carved on it twenty five Arabian gates marking independence day, May 25, it also symbolizes defending the security of the nation and safeness of the Home Land.
- The Eagle: One of the country's powerful birds, symbolizes power, invulnerability and having control over the target.
- The Snake: Symbolizes the invisible enemy either internal or external.
- The Two Swords: Two Arabian Swords crisscrossing behind the shield, symbolizing the use of power against terrorism, evil and corruption.
- The Ribbon: A ribbon written on it the holy verses "say the truth has prevailed," which represents the truth, seek to implement it and fight the untrue. It also represents the base that the two swords and the two olive branches are settling on.
- The Two Lightnings:The two lightning bolts represent the name of one of their special forces. The two lightning bolts also symbolize the swiftness and accuracy of the General Intelligence Directorate.
According to Neil MacFarquhar, Jordan is a good example of a Middle Eastern police state because Jordanians are readier to talk about their clashes with the mukhabarat than in other more repressive states like Syria or Iraq. Some Jordanians euphemistically call its agents "the friends". According to Mahmoud A. al-Kharabsheh, a former mukhabarat agent and maverick Jordanian MP, the mukhabarat runs the country's politics and "enter into 90 percent of the political decisions". The influence of the agency goes beyond security to include politics, the media and business. The directorate intervenes in the naming of university professors, the main newspaper editors and ambassadors. Enrolling in some studies in the public university requires a certificate of good conduct by the GID. There are thousands of Jordanians paid by the GID as informants. The National Center for Human Rights reports alleged mistreatment and abuse in GID facilities. Converts from Islam and Christian activists have been repeatedly called for interrogation.
As an example of how their officers feel above the law, MacFarquhar tells that a former chief routinely smoke aboard of Royal Jordanian planes. Complaints from fellow passengers were helplessly dismissed.
- Barari, Hassan (2009-01-22). "Jordan's Intelligence Chief Sacked: New Policy Toward Hamas?". The Washington Institute for Near East Police. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- They Tried to Warn Us HistoryCommons.org
- TheNational.ae, "US and Jordan intelligence services pay the price of secrecy"
- Chapter 8 of The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East, Neil MacFarquhar. New York: Public Affairs Books, 2009. ISBN 978-1-58648-635-8. It is a further ellaboration of Heavy Hand of the Secret Police Impeding Reform in Arab World, Neil MacFarquhar, November 14, 2005, The New York Times.
- 2008 Human Rights Report: Jordan, United States Department of State
- GID.gov.jo - The official website of the GID