IN A PLAIN, UNREMARKABLE CONFERENCE room in a nondescript hotel on a main street in Amman, Jordan, sat the Leader of the Supreme Party. She was in a closed meeting with her top military leaders and other important members of the Party. As the protocol demanded, the Leader sat at the head of an oval table, facing the main door of the room. She was dressed in a Supreme Party uniform and sat straight and motionless. With her six generals dressed in uniforms identical to her own sitting at her sides, she looked around with a stern gaze, leaving no doubt about who was in charge.
Nearly everyone who was expected to attend the meeting had already arrived and taken a seat. There was a palpable feeling of anticipation in the air and an acknowledgement that the business at hand was of tremendous gravity. Everyone gathered in the room knew that a very important action would be undertaken that day, and this action would be critical to strengthening not just the future of nation but also the future of the Party.
The Leader looked at one of the generals sitting on her right side and gave a slight nod. The general, who was in his early sixties, in turn looked at Ammar, a tall man standing near the middle of the table, directly opposite the Leader. Everyone in the room turned to look at Ammar in anticipation. He was a handsome, twenty- five-year-old man with a chiseled nose and grey eyes just like his mother’s. Ammar was the heir apparent who, from his earliest years, was being prepared to become the Leader one day.
The general broke the heavy silence in the room by asking Ammar in a strongly accented voice, “Are you sure about this man?”
“Yes, General,” replied Ammar. “He’s perfect for our needs. He is well trained, devoted to the nation, and he will handle things for us very quietly, just the way we want. He is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and he has seen the world. This man will fit in amongst the locals easily. I have personally selected him from among many strong candidates for several reasons.”
While explaining the reasons behind his choice, he looked around the table as if addressing all those who were present. The moment his eyes met the Leader’s, he quickly averted his gaze for reasons of hierarchy and decorum, and turned his eyes instead to the general sitting to the left of the Leader.
The mother and son thought differently on matters concerning the working and running of the Party, but they preferred to leave those matters to the passionate discussions they had when they were alone. After all, although their opinions on matters related to the Party and the nation sometimes differed, they shared the same goal: to enjoy ultimate control over the country and its resources. The Leader had worked her way up to the head of the organization and Ammar had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. After all, he was the only son of the Leader of the Supreme Party.
The general looked at a man who was sitting at the corner of the table. This man also wore the Supreme Party uniform. When the general signaled with his hand, the man pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and, without speaking even a single word, slid it across the table toward Ammar. The general looked at Ammar and said, “This is the list that you wanted. Now, you are to tell him what to do with these people.” The general again looked at the Leader as if seeking approval for what he had said. There was no reaction from the Leader. Ammar picked up the paper and started to read. Written on the paper was a long list of names, most of which were American and European.
“These people are the enemies of the nation, enemies of our religion,” the general said, his voice clear, strong, and confident. “They are against Islam, against Allah, and they are trying to incite a violent change in the nation. To preserve our sovereignty, our culture, and our prosperity, we must take action against them!” He pounded the table with his fist to emphasize his point.
Ammar raised his eyebrows and a smile came to his lips. “Excellent words, General!” he stated enthusiastically. He began to clap his hands and everyone else in the room rose to their feet, applauding. The Leader waited several seconds and then rapped on the table loudly and repeatedly until the applause died down and people returned to their seats.
The Leader looked at the general and raised her hand, signaling toward the door. The general, in turn, signaled to a guard posted at the door. “Bring him in,” he ordered. The guard nodded slightly and opened the door.
Ali, a tall man of around fifty years of age walked through the doorway. He was well built and handsome. He was also wearing a Supreme Party uniform that fit him perfectly. In purposeful, even strides, he moved to the end of the table, stopped abruptly, and stood at attention, his head level, his eyes straight ahead. A row of stitches above his right eyebrow lent an aura of mystery and adventure to his appearance. Since his injury, he had seen how men looked at him with great respect and women looked at him with great desire.