Neighborly relations

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.
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Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.