Cablegate: Welcome Codel Inhofe

Published: Wed 5 Oct 2005 07:01 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
050701Z Oct 05
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: STATE 184331
1. Embassy Amman welcomes the visit of Senator James Inhofe
and his delegation to Amman, Jordan from October 8-9, 2005,
as requested reftel.
2. Control officer for this visit will be Richard McCrensky,
office 962-6-590-6225; mobile 962-79-582-0115; fax
962-6-592-7653, or email at Embassy
will provide airport expediter services and transportation as
3. Valid visas are required for entry into Jordan. Visas
may be obtained at the Queen Alia Airport. However, Embassy
suggests visitors obtain their visas prior to arrival, as
there can be long lines for visa issuance at the airport.
Money can be exchanged at the Queen Alia Airport.
4. Senator Inhofe and his party are invited to rest at the
Ambassador's Residence after their return from Iraq late
Saturday night until their departure early Sunday morning.
5. Each visitor, regardless of length of stay, must have
fiscal data to pay for direct costs of the visit. Each
agency, organization, or visiting delegation will be charged
for the actual costs attributed to the visit. Direct charge
costs include, but are not limited to: American and LES
overtime (for such services as airport expediting, cashier
accommodation exchange, control room staffing,
representational event support), travel and per diem costs
incurred by post personnel in support of visitors' field
travel, rental of vehicles and other equipment, long distance
telephone calls, office supplies, gasoline and other vehicle
maintenance costs, departure tax, and other airport fees.
6. Threat assessment:
Since late 1999, there has been a series of serious,
confirmed terrorist threats and disrupted terrorist plots
targeting U.S. interests in Jordan. Transnational terrorist
groups, as well as less sophisticated local elements, have
demonstrated the capability to pose threats here.
Anti-western sentiment, though less pronounced since the end
of Operation Iraqi Freedom, has been sparked on occasion by
regional events, particularly those related to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, to a lesser extent, Iraq.
In May 2004, two men were arrested for plotting to
assassinate diplomats in Amman, including an American Embassy
employee. In April 2004, Jordanian authorities disrupted a
plan to attack the American Embassy and Jordanian government
buildings with explosive-laden vehicles.
In September 2003, 13 were arrested for plotting attacks
against U.S. and Jordanian targets, including the American
Embassy in Amman. In May 2003, three persons connected to the
Zarqawi network were arrested for planning attacks against
foreigners and tourist sites. The October 28, 2002
assassination of a U.S. diplomat in Amman outside his
residence was ultimately linked to the Zarqawi network.
Jordanian authorities arrested the assassins in December
2002. The most recently published U.S. government security
alerts state that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist
attacks against U.S. interests worldwide.
Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in
Jordan, although petty theft is common in the downtown Amman
Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman amphitheater. In
the narrow streets of the old city and at some of the more
popular tourist sites, crowded conditions invite pickpockets
and other petty criminals. We urge travelers to be more
guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy
opportunities to criminals. Purse snatchings in central and
western Amman are reportedly on the increase. In several
cases, thieves in moving vehicles snatched pedestrians,
purses and drove off. In some instances, victims were
injured when they were unable to free themselves from their
purses. When carrying a purse, it would be wise to conceal it
if possible, to avoid walking near the road within reach of
passing vehicles, and to walk towards the flow of traffic.
7. Travel guidelines:
American citizens traveling in Jordan should exercise
caution, be alert and stay informed of regional and local
events that could quickly impact the security environment in
the country. Travelers should avoid large crowds and
demonstrations and take measures to avoid areas where they
are most likely to occur (city centers, universities, refugee
camps), particularly during periods of increased tension. It
is also recommended to maintain a low profile and not
establish predictable patterns of movement, even if only
visiting for a short period. Recent worldwide USG security
announcements continue to alert American travelers that
terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian
targets. Therefore, facilities where Americans or foreigners
are likely to congregate such as hotels, nightspots,
restaurants, and places of worship should be considered as
potential targets. Travelers should stay alert when
attendance at such locations is necessary. Taxis are the
only form of public transportation that is recommended.
As Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country, cultural
sensitivities should be observed. Female travelers should
dress conservatively and not travel alone, particularly in
areas where western visitors are uncommon. Western visitors
and residents have reported incidents of sexual harassment,
assault and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature. Such
incidents, while troubling, are not common.
8. Other:
The month of Ramadan (which began October 4 and lasts until
approximately November 3) is the holiest period in the Muslim
year. During Ramadan most local restaurants will be closed
daily between dawn and sunset except those establishments
catering exclusively to tourists. Some restaurants may be
open for take-out only during the fasting hours. All
establishments serving alcohol, including bars in hotels,
will remain closed throughout Ramadan. Foreign tourists may
be served alcohol in their hotel rooms. Eating and smoking
in public, especially in the streets and in taxis, cars, or
buses, are strongly discouraged. Dressing in a manner
inconsistent with Islamic norms is strongly discouraged.
Conservative dress is recommended. Official working hours
for Jordanian government offices and ministries are 0900-1400
hours, Sunday through Thursday. Foreign Service National
employees of Embassy Amman are on reduced six-hour workdays.
Traveling by vehicle between the hours of 1500 and 1800 can
sometimes be problematic due to traffic congestion and
9. For further information, see the State Department's
Consular Information Sheet for Jordan at and link from that site
to the most recent Public Announcement on Travel in the
Middle East and South Asia and the most recent Worldwide
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