Jordan is also a juicy target because Amman has a relationship with Washington that is probably closer than that of any other Arab country, and, compounding its "apostasy" in the eyes of its opponents, it has signed a peace treaty with Israel. Bin Laden is extremely popular, and Islamism has plenty of adherents. The ability to operate within Jordan would also enhance the possibility of orchestrating attacks against Israel, which jihadists have found increasingly attractive because it would give them a role in the conflict that commands the most interest in the Muslim world. An additional draw for Iraqi-trained terrorists is that Amman has become Iraq's effective offshore capital. Numerous international institutions and nongovernmental organizations have based their Iraqi operations there because of the dangers of locating in Baghdad.
After Wednesday's bombings, Taher Masri, a former Jordanian prime minister, told the Los Angeles Times that the attacks demonstrated that the U.S. invasion of Iraq had begun to seriously destabilize the Middle East. "Iraq was not the source of terrorism [before the invasion]," Masri said, "but now it has become exactly that."