Viewing cable 08AMMAN57

08AMMAN572008-01-07 14:51:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Amman

DE RUEHAM #0057/01 0071451
P 071451Z JAN 08
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1. (SBU) Embassy Amman warmly welcomes the visit of Gary Groves to 
Jordan from 11 - 21 January, 2008, as requested reftel.  The 
travelers should carefully review this message, especially the 
threat assessment at paragraph 9. 
¶2.  On October 1, 2007, the Department of State electronic country 
clearance (eCC) application was deployed for all U.S. Government 
travelers.  eCC is the official channel to request country 
clearance.  All agencies and visitors are requested to use eCC to 
request country clearance in the future. 
¶3. (SBU) Control officer for this visit is MSG McPherson.  Contact 
information is as follows:  962-6-590-6651 (office); 962-6-590-0160 
(fax); 962-6-592-6023 (home); 962-77-672-0453 (mobile); and The Embassy's after-hours telephone number is 
¶4. (SBU) Hotel reservations have been made at Amman HOTEL NAME HERE, 
phone 962-6-xxx-xxxx and fax 962-6-xxx-xxxx.  Cost is at a rate 
within per diem; breakfast is not included in the room rate.  Due to 
security concerns in Jordan (paragraph 8), TDY personnel are 
assigned hotels on a rotational basis.  Therefore, Embassy Amman 
will make the final decision on hotel accommodations for all 
visitors.  The Embassy will provide expeditor assistance upon 
arrival and departure. 
¶5. (U) Valid visas are required for entry into Jordan.  Visas may be 
obtained at Queen Alia airport though not at all land border 
crossings; however, Embassy Amman suggests visitors obtain their 
visas prior to arrival, as there can be long queues for visa 
issuance at the airport.  Money can be exchanged at Queen Alia 
airport or in the delegation's control room. 
¶6. (U) Action request: Each visitor, regardless of length of stay, 
must bring/forward 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 its 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 visitor's 
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.  Post will 
not provide service if fiscal data is not provided for the direct 
charges.  For TDYers remaining at post over 30 days, there is a 
charge for ICASS support services.  This charge is for the following 
ICASS services:  Basic Package, CLO and Health Services.  Agencies 
will not be billed until the accumulated invoice cost for TDY 
support exceeds $2,500 for the fiscal year.  If your sponsoring 
agency is not signed up for ICASS services at post, please be 
prepared to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for ICASS support 
services upon arrival.  The agency should provide post with a 
written communication, generated by the traveler's headquarters, 
that confirms the agency will pay ICASS charges for the TDYer, 
provides the agency ICASS billing code the TDY support charges 
should be applied to, and authorizes the traveler to sign the ICASS 
invoice generated by the TDY module.  Where travel is urgent, the 
TDYer should bring this documentation with him/her to ensure there 
are no interruptions in the provision of service.  Post will not 
provide any service to a TDYer staying in excess of thirty days 
without provision of this documentation before day 31 of the TDY. 
¶7. (U) HEALTH:  H5N1 avian flu was confirmed in poultry in Jordan in 
March 2006, and in the same month, the Government of Jordan 
confirmed a human case of H5N1 avian flu in a person who was 
infected in Egypt and traveled to Jordan while sick.  The World 
Health Organization declared Jordan to be free of avian flu in May 
¶2006.  There have been no confirmed cases of avian flu in people or 
birds in Jordan since the summer of 2006.  Further cases of avian 
flu in both people and birds in Jordan remain possible.  For this 
reason and for normal health precautions, visitors are encouraged to 
avoid live poultry, poultry farms, and any dead birds.  Visitors 
should use hand sanitizer and wash hands frequently.  Travelers 
should also patronize restaurants having high standards for food 
safety and hygiene, and ask that poultry and egg products be cooked 
Although Jordan does not pose any unusual health hazards for 
visitors, the quality of health care facilities is not up to the 
U.S. or European standards, particularly outside of Amman.  As 
medications on the local economy are often in short supply, visitors 
should bring sufficient medications to post for their chronic 
medical problems.  Immunizations should be current for Tetanus and 
Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B.  Visitors should drink bottled water 
rather than tap water.  Food in the hotels and most restaurants is 
safe to eat, but some of the smaller local restaurants do not always 
observe proper food handling procedures. 
Only those personnel covered under the State Department's medical 
program and who have a valid medical clearance for Jordan are 
eligible for a medical evacuation at USG cost.  All other visitors 
are advised to have their own medical evacuation insurance to cover 
evacuation by air ambulance.  Otherwise it will be necessary to 
ensure that the respective agency will cover any costs related to a 
medical evacuation.  All local hospitals take major credit cards. 
State Department regulations and Embassy policies, visitors 
requesting unescorted access to the Embassy compound should inform 
RSO Amman of their security clearance level (if any) and should name 
the agency that granted that clearance.  Telegrams containing this 
information should include the "ASEC" tag to ensure distribution to 
the RSO. 
Electronic devices:  RSO approval must be obtained before any 
electronic device is brought into the Embassy. Privately owned 
laptops and personal computers, peripherals, diskettes, and tapes 
are prohibited in all mission facilities.  Cellular/mobile phones 
and palm pilots are prohibited in controlled access areas. 
Travelers with USG-owned unclassified laptops or notebook computers, 
peripherals, diskettes, and tapes must receive RSO/IMO authorization 
before being granted access to U.S. Mission buildings.  USG-owned 
classified computers must be sent to post via classified diplomatic 
pouch.  Classified equipment must bear external USG bar-code 
inventory numbers and classification markings commensurate with the 
highest level of information processed on the system.  Questions 
concerning other types of electronic devices and magnetic media may 
be directed to the RSO and IMO. 
Mandatory personal security training:  Per 04 STATE 66580, all 
employees traveling to post for 30 days or more (whether PCS or TDY) 
must have completed the mandatory personal security training (State 
Department Security Overseas Seminar or equivalent) before arriving 
at post.  Agencies must provide the Chief of Mission with 
certification that this training will be completed prior to the 
employee's travel.  Failure to do so will result in denial of 
country clearance. 
¶9. (U) THREAT ASSESSMENT: The threat of terrorism remains high in 
Jordan.  Transnational terrorist groups, as well as less 
sophisticated local elements, have demonstrated the capability to 
pose threats in Jordan.  The Al-Qaida in Iraq network is of 
particular concern for terrorist activities against U.S. and 
Government of Jordan (GOJ) targets in Jordan.  The Al-Qaida in Iraq 
network claimed responsibility for the November 9, 2005 bombings of 
three international hotels in Amman, which killed 60 people and 
injured over 100.  Pedestrian suicide bombers wearing explosive 
vests carried the bombs into the hotels.  Al-Qaida in Iraq also 
claimed responsibility for the Aqaba rocket attacks on August 19, 
2005 targeting a U.S. naval ship, which killed one Jordanian soldier 
and wounded another.  The assassination of American diplomat Larry 
Foley outside his west Amman residence on October 28, 2002 was also 
attributed to Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was 
killed in Iraq in June 2006. 
In addition, there has been a series of confirmed terrorist threats 
and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. or Jordanian interests 
in Jordan.  In November 2006, the GOJ arrested four men who were 
planning to use a taxi cab to identify and assassinate an American. 
In the same month, the GOJ arrested three men who were reportedly 
plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy and assassinate President Bush 
during his visit to Jordan.  In February 2006, the GOJ disrupted a 
terrorist cell plotting to attack Queen Alia International Airport. 
In November 2005, the GOJ indicted six men for planning to carry out 
attacks against Americans at hotels and bars in Amman and Aqaba.  In 
August-September 2005, four militants were arrested for plotting 
assassinations of Americans in Jordan.  In July 2005, GOJ 
authorities arrested 17 men who had planned to assassinate GOJ 
officials and Americans in Jordan; the group was reportedly linked 
to Al-Qaida in Iraq.  In February 2005, four men were arrested for 
plotting attacks against GOJ officials, tourists and five-star 
hotels.  In the same month, another group was disrupted while 
plotting to attack liquor stores in Amman and foreign tourists in 
Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government 
personnel and private citizens.  Terrorists may target areas 
frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels, 
restaurants, bars, nightclubs, liquor stores, shopping malls, 
transportation hubs, places of worship, expatriate residential 
areas, and schools.  In light of these security concerns, U.S. 
citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, to be 
aware of their surroundings, and to take appropriate steps to 
increase their security awareness.  It is especially important for 
travelers to be unpredictable by varying their times and routes and 
to maintain a low profile.  Moreover, U.S. citizens are urged to 
avoid contact with any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and to 
immediately report the presence of such objects to the authorities. 
U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the 
same precautions. 
Anti-American and anti-Western sentiment exists in Jordan and has 
been sparked on occasion by incidents in the region, particularly 
those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and, to a lesser extent, 
Iraq.  This may lead to random acts of violence against Westerners. 
On September 4, 2006, a gunman fired on foreigners at a popular 
tourist site in central Amman, killing one and injuring six. 
Travelers are advised to avoid any demonstrations or large 
gatherings of people.  Many demonstrations occur near mosques after 
Friday prayers.  Consequently, special sensitivity and caution 
should be exercised at or near mosques and religious sites during 
holy days and the Friday Muslim Sabbath.  Demonstrations also often 
take place at universities and refugee camps. 
Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan, 
but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square 
area and near the Roman Amphitheater.  In the narrow streets of the 
older parts of the city center, crowded conditions invite 
pickpockets and other petty criminals.  Travelers are urged to be 
more guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy 
opportunities for criminals. 
In central and west Amman, there have been reports of thieves 
snatching pedestrians' purses from moving vehicles and then driving 
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 against the flow 
of traffic. 
Jordanian police have warned the public to exercise vigilance when 
leaving banks or ATM machines, as thieves have reportedly preyed 
upon persons soon after using these services. 
Western women both visiting and residing in Jordan report sexual 
harassment, stalking, and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature; 
there have been isolated reports of assault.  Women are advised to 
take reasonable precautions including dressing conservatively and 
not traveling alone.  Modest attire should be worn in deference to 
local custom. 
¶10. (U) TRAVEL GUIDELINES: American citizens and official visitors 
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.  It is also recommended to 
maintain a low profile and not establish predictable patterns of 
movement, even if only visiting for a short period.  Yellow taxis 
are widely used throughout the country and for the most part without 
adverse incidents occurring.  Still, there have been confirmed 
reports of single females being assaulted or verbally harassed by 
taxi drivers.  The Embassy Internet website has a list of radio 
controlled taxi companies that the Government of Jordan has advised 
us vet their drivers at 
For further information, see the State Department's Consular 
Information Sheet for Jordan at and link 
from that site to the most recent Public Announcements on Travel in 
the Middle East and South Asia and the most recent Worldwide 
Visit Amman's Classified Web Site at