Three US Special Forces soldiers were murdered by a Jordanian gate guard in 2016 while working what is known as a IA or inter-agency job which sees Green Berets seconded to CIA projects, in this case the training of Syrian militia who will then infiltrate back across the border and engage in the Syrian civil war. Since the beginning of their involvement in the proxy war in Syria, the Special Forces soldiers have been warning their chain of command and the CIA that the militias they are training have Jihadi sympathies. In the case of the murder of Matthew Lewellen, Kevin McEnroe, and James Moriarty the perpetrator was not a CIA/Special Forces trained militiaman gone rogue but rather an uniformed Jordanian soldier.
As the US Army’s 15-6 investigation and recovered CCTV footage revealed, M’aarek Abu Tayeh moved in a cold-blooded and premeditated manner, killing the three Green Berets as their vehicle approached the gate to King Faisal Air Base. The Jordanian government floated several cover stories before being forced to admit the truth. First they said that the Green Berets tried to blow right through the gate without stopping. Next, they claimed that one of the American soldiers had an accidental discharge at the gate which spooked the guard and caused him to open fire. Investigations and video recordings proved both stories false.
“Jordan’s response to this deal has been an abomination,” Jim Moriarty, the father of James Moriarty told SOFREP. “They have lied… Jordan has a long way to go to make things right,” he continued. Mr. Moriarty intends to sue the Jordanian government and pressure the American government to push for sanctions. He also, “demands the prosecution of the other 11 gate guards who did nothing,” while Abu Tayeh murdered his son and his team mates. As recently as a few months ago the Jordanian ambassador to the United States, “claimed that Any Tayef acted in accordance with the Rules of Engagement,” Moriarty said. “There is a fucking video,” he said angrily, referencing the 7-minute long CCTV footage of the murders, now in possession of the FBI.
The murder of the three Green Berets takes place in a challenging geo-political landscape and strains the already complicated relationship between Jordan and the United States, not to mention the quagmire of the Syrian Civil War. The shooter was an Air Force soldier who came from the city of Ma’an, a hotbed of Islamic extremism. Ma’an is known to be a city openly sympathetic to the Islamic State, and the black flag of ISIS has been flown over the city despite crackdowns by Jordanian Special Operations troops. The Kingdom is Jordan is not as stable as many outsiders believe it is, and like any monarchy, it is prone to rapid collapse. The Jordanian government had a strong incentive to gloss over the murders of the three Green Berets. Likewise, the CIA was scared of potential blowback and the exposing of their covert program.
With strong Islamist movements underway in Ma’an and several other cities in Jordan, there are fears that after ISIS is defeated in Syria and Iraq that they will move on to the Kingdom of Jordan and destabilize the government there. There were also concerns that the Jordanian government would complete their white wash of the murders at King Faisal Air Base and portray Abu Tayeh as a mentally unstable individual. This was the case in 2015 when a Jordanian policemen opened fire at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) in Amman, killing five instructors to include two Americans.
No date has yet been set for Abu Tayeh’s trail.
Featured image courtesy of Houston Chronicle. James Moriarty salutes the casket of his son, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, at Arlington National Cemetery.