Fascinating story in the New York Times today about the Jordanian man allegedly responsible for last week's huge suicide bombing in Hilla in Iraq and the consequences that it is having on Iraqi-Jordanian relations. Raad Mansur al-Banna's family thought he was looking for work abroad until they received a phone call from Iraq last week telling them he had died a "martyr." What I find interesting is that the story was broken by a new Jordanian paper called Al Ghad (no relation to the Egyptian party) and that the reporter has been detained by Jordanian intelligence. One of the details he reported--and which fanned Iraqi outrage and has led to demos and an attack on the Jordanian embassy--was that Al Banna's family took out a large ad calling their son a martyr and inviting others to congratulate them on his death. The article points out that this sort of things enflames Iraqi Shia feeling that their Sunni neighbors are sabotaging them. Anyway, this Al Ghad paper may be worth watching.
The Arabist is published and edited by Issandr El Amrani, a writer and analyst based in Cairo, with contributions by friends.
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