King Abdullah II
Interview with Jon Scott on Fox News
September 17, 2001
JON SCOTT: The tensions over Osama bin Laden and his apparent residency in Afghanistan
are forcing all nations to figure out where they stand, especially in the Middle
East. There is pull there in two very different directions.
We're joined by His Majesty, King Abdullah II of Jordan, the son of the late
Your Majesty, it's good of you to be with us today. Thank you for being here.
HIS MAJESTY, KING ABDULLAH BIN HUSSEIN: Good morning.
SCOTT: Can you tell us. What is the view in the Muslim world of Osama bin Laden
KING ABDULLAH: I'm sorry; your voice is coming in somewhat distorted. Can you
say that again, please?
SCOTT: What is a Muslim view, the view of the Muslim world toward Osama bin
Laden right now?
KING ABDULLAH: Im very sorry, sir. Your voice is coming in extremely distorted.
I cant hear what youre saying.
SCOTT: All right. We are attempting to fix that problem, Your Majesty, and we
apologize for that. I know that you were on your way to Washington and your
own plane had to be turned around as a result of these attacks. This event has
struck you as well.
KING ABDULLAH: I cant hear.
SCOTT: All right. We are apparently having those difficulties getting in touch
with His Majesty. We will attempt to straighten out that situation and be back
with him momentarily.
A couple of developments underway. There have been no live recoveries in the
World Trade Center in the past four or five days, although the mayor at his
most recent news conference said .
[Momentary Break to Correct Technical Problems.]
SCOTT: His Majesty, King Abdullah II of Jordan has been good enough to join
us. We are having some difficulty establishing an audio link with him, but he
is very patiently waiting to share his views with our viewers, both in America
and worldwide. And we return now to Amman, Jordan and His Majesty. There will
be some delay as the satellite signal reaches His Majesty. So we hope our viewers
will stay with us, but this gentleman is one of the most important players on
this international drama about to unfold and wed like to get his views.
Your Majesty, if you would please share with us the Muslim view of Osama bin
KING ABDULLAH: Sorry? I can hear -- I have a TV. I can hear on the TV if that
KING ABDULLAH: But Im not getting your image.
SCOTT: If you could tell us your view, the Muslim worldview of Osama bin Laden,
KING ABDULLAH: Well, again, obviously, Osama bin Laden has some popularity in
certain circles of the Middle East, simply because in the political vacuum in
being able to achieve a solution on different conflicts in the area, he does
have a platform whereby he can rally some sort of support.
SCOTT: If there were stronger governments in place in some of the countries
where he is known to operate, would that reduce his influence?
KING ABDULLAH: I believe, yes, it would. And I think what were talking
about now is a series of actions by the United States and the international
community which would encompass, obviously, the military, political intelligence
and financial. The military, I think, will probably be the smaller portion of
the reaction. It is the political one where you go to countries that have been
known to harbor or support terrorism and say, look, whats happened has
happened. But today is a new day and we want to know where you stand. Do you
stand with us or do you stand against us? And if you stand against us, then
that leads us to other options.
The more difficult situation or option that has to be dealt with quickly is
obviously the funding and the financial ability for these organizations to work
and this is an international effort because youre talking about an international
banking systems, NGOs all over the world, some of which have more than dubious
associations with different terrorist organizations.
SCOTT: Which of your neighbors can the United States count on for support now?
KING ABDULLAH: I think, sir, that you can count on the majority of the Arab
world. As I said, the Arab and Islamic world are aghast at the horrible tragedies
that unfolded in the United States last week. And again, we have to wait to
see, and not only people in the Arab and Islamic world, but the Europeans and
others are waiting to see exactly what the United States is going to define
as a way of combating international terrorism through, as I said, the political,
economic, military or intelligence fields. So were all waiting to see
what can be done and what we can do to help.
SCOTT: Your nation has had its own trouble with Osama bin Laden. His organization
was accused of planning of the millennium terror attack and some of its members
are to go to trial -- were scheduled to go to trial there in Jordan today. Would
there be a great deal of applause if someone were to take out Osama bin Laden?
KING ABDULLAH: I believe, sir, that again, you know, we need to be able to put
a stop to international terrorism and the many faces of it. Yes, Osama bin Laden
and his organization were going to do a massive strike inside strike inside
Jordan during the millennium celebrations, due to the very quick response of
our intelligence service, we managed to put a stop to that. More importantly,
we managed to uncover a series of plots that were going to take place in the
United States and in Europe and by so doing; we obviously managed to save many
thousands of lives in the West. And this is a platform that, you know, I think
the more and more people understand in all parts of the world and including
this part of the world, that people like Osama bin Laden and international terrorist
organizations dont care who they hit and who they hurt.
Theres one Jordanian definitely known to have died in the World Trade
Center. We think theres another one. At the moment, the psychological
impact on the United States to try to put communities against each other is
not the physical damage that is what Osama bin Laden and his people were trying
to perpetrate. It was also trying to break up the fabric of American society.
Making Americans fear each other; putting Americans at odds with each other;
Arab Americans, those of the Islamic persuasion. This is the major, I think,
target was to destabilize the beacon and the bastion of freedom and liberties
and this is what we must not allow to happen or happen in the future.
SCOTT: Well, as you know, there is a lot of anger in America that is directed,
perhaps unfairly, toward the Arab world. How do you differentiate yourselves
from the supporters of Osama bin Laden?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, I think thats very straightforward. There are --
I say the huge majority of Muslims and Arabs all over the world are shocked
and disgusted by what we have witnessed in the United States. But, again, you
have to remember that we have been fighting this fight for decades, in Jordan
in particular. Theres been more Jordanian diplomats that have lost their
lives due to international terrorism than Israeli diplomats, and many other
countries in the Middle East have had to suffer the same fates. So what were
saying now is, you know, help us fight. Join the fight. This is something that
we have been working together with the United States, but maybe with not as
much of an understanding by the average person in the street.
Unfortunately, as awful as the crisis was on Tuesday, its a wake up call
for the world that maybe weve been looking the other way or not dealing
with this as seriously as we should and once and for all, we should say that
stop, enough is enough. We will not allow this to happen anymore, whether its
to Arabs, to Jews, to Christians, to people in Europe, in Asia or in the Middle
East. Terrorism is the scourge of the century and as I said, this is a new war.
This is the third world war to eradicate this horrible phenomenon that uses,
in this particular instance, religion and the word of God as a tool for bringing
destruction to innocent people.
SCOTT: There is the prospect of some kind of military campaign against the Taliban
government in Afghanistan because our government says they are harboring Osama
bin Laden. How do you avoid some kind of backlash in the Muslim or Arab worlds
against the United States if there is a campaign against Afghanistan?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, again, I think you have to be very clear on your objectives.
Getting in is always the easy part, and I believe that the planners in the United
States understand the difficulties that they have to face. You want to get in.
You want to be able to achieve some success on the ground. But, again, please,
I think we make the misunderstanding that this thing will be over within a week
or two. There will be military action of some sort against those who support
and harbor Osama bin Laden, but then, it crosses borders. Again, I think, the
military solution becomes less and the political, economic, intelligence portion
of this problem will take the forefront. And Im very reassured that Im
sure that people in the United States government and military are thinking of
efficient ways of dealing with this one that the international community will
come aboard on.
SCOTT: I know you spoke with our President Bush. Can you share in broad strokes
what you told him?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, sir, obviously, it was an opportunity to pay our condolences
to the President of the United States, his government, the people of the United
States and in particular, the families of the victims. And again to show our
solidarity with the United States that we are side by side in combating international
terrorism and that whatever it takes, you can count on your friends here in
Jordan to be able to stand side by side with you and you can stand by also.
I allowed myself to speak on behalf of many of the leaders in the Arab and Islamic
world, that you will have friends. And its in troubled times like this
where friends, true friends, will come and stand by you and youll see
that you have many true friends in the Middle East.
SCOTT: Your Majesty, I know that America very much appreciates your friendship.
At the same time, you are in a difficult position geographically, as well as
politically with your neighbor, Iraq. The United States says that Iraq is one
of those states that sponsors terrorism. In your view, does the U.S. have the
right to target Iraq in this war on terrorism?
KING ABDULLAH: I think, sir -- as I alluded to beforehand, I think that, first
of all, we have -- and the information will be, I think, finalized in the next
couple of days -- who is ideally responsible for the bombings in Washington
and in New York. And then, as I said, I think that there will be an international
call led by the United States to say to the world, as the President has said
before, if youre with us, youre with us, and if youre against
us, youre against us. Make up your mind. We are against international
terrorism. We, as the international community, are setting our foot down and
saying that this no longer acceptable, no longer allowed. Those countries that
are suspected of supporting, harboring, helping terrorist activities across
the world, make up your mind now because today is today, tomorrow, if youre
not with us, youre against us. And I think that thats how we should
deal with the situation.
I think that whats happened in the past is the past. The world has gone
through a dramatic historical change with the bombings on Tuesday. The world
is not the same as it was before the bombings. This is a new era and there is
a new enemy out there. Do you want to be the enemy or do you not? And I think
then those countries will have to look very hard into themselves and decide
whether they are on the side of good or on the side of evil and then the rest
of us will take actions appropriately.
SCOTT: Your Majesty, I know that all of America thanks you for your support
and for your condolences and we thank you for being with us today.