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Jordanian MP’s Arrest Sheds Light On Arms Trafficking Issues

Imad al-Adwan has allegedly carried out a dozen separate smuggling attempts since last year.

Jordanian Parliament Member Imad al-Adwan was arrested on April 23, 2023, at the Allenby Bridge while trying to smuggle some 200 weapons into the West Bank — and perhaps beyond, into Israel. He was quickly released after questioning and sent back to Jordan. 

An Israeli investigation revealed that al-Adwan had carried out 12 separate smuggling attempts since early 2022, according to the Arab News

A general view of meeting hall as Jordanian King Abdullah II (R) arrives to attend the opening of the second term of the Jordanian Parliament in Amman, Jordan on November 13, 2022. (Photo by Royal Hashemite Court RHC/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Al-Adwan is not the only major smuggler. According to Israel Defense Forces figures, during 2020-2021 some 1,600 smuggling attempts from Jordan were interdicted, and in the first months of 2023, several hundred weapons were seized in other attempts.

Lessons learned 

First, Jordan’s ability to interdict such smuggling appears limited, possibly due to insufficient intelligence penetration into the illicit enterprise or because closing down smuggling is not a priority since it does not directly threaten the regime. It is also possible that the Jordanians do not want to be portrayed at home as Israel’s defenders, and when they have relevant information, prefer to pass it to Israel. 

Any gap in intelligence gathering is worrisome. Considering the hostile atmosphere to Israel that characterizes the Jordanian street today and concerns over Iranian entreaties to Sunni regimes, an inability to obtain information is problematic. Moreover, it could project on the stability of the regime itself, which is already confronting growing domestic challenges. 

Israeli forces take security measures after two female Israeli settlers were killed and one is seriously injured after the attacks at the Jordan Valley near West Bank in April 7, 2023. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A second lesson from the al-Adwan affair relates to Israel’s eastern border. The claim that Israel’s security no longer requires military and intelligence control over Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, including a military presence in vital areas and control of the crossings and the Jordan Valley “in its broadest sense” (as Rabin said in the Knesset in October 1995) has proven erroneous.

This claim was the basis of the security component of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry’s peace proposals (i.e., General Allen’s security plan). 

Originally published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate

Edited by Jessi Rexroad Shull and Sterling Creighton Beard

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