Document Type



Revised version of a paper presented at the 5th Inter-University Graduate Student Conference at Cornell Law School, March 2009.


In the aftermath of 9/11, criminal law reform in Jordan was part of the worldwide expansion of criminal laws facilitated by UNSC Resolution 1373 that was enacted under mandatory Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The introduced criminal law amendments were largely offered as a symbolic response to 9/11; it was built on the assumption of inadequacy of criminal law without fully understanding the dimensions of deterrence. Probably with the exception of the new laws against the financing of terrorism, the state had a whole range of extraordinary measures available if not morally, then practically, to counter terrorism.

Jordan’s experience with terrorists incidents and threat suggests that measures against terrorism, whether national or international in nature, are unlikely to be fully effective in the absence of appropriate political action to deal with legitimate grievances or double standards in dealing with national unrest or international crises. The government is aware that issues of inequality, discrimination, and controversial foreign policies may lie behind or contribute to the radicalization of its political opponents, thus their possible resort to terrorism.

This paper aims to highlight the main characteristics of Jordan’s response to terrorism, in particular, its distinctive approach to counterterrorism post-9/11. The main argument advances a less often considered response option that addresses political capabilities, what Martha Crenshaw terms “de-legitimation,” that is, policies and practices designed to decrease the legitimacy of the terrorists or undermine their political support. I contend that the way in which the government has dealt with its political opponents and critics is a vital element of its legal strategies and antiterrorism practices.

Date of Authorship for this Version

May 2009


Jordan, Counterterrorism, Terrorism

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