Jordanian security forces have arrested two football fans for hate speech after they chanted “Saddam Hussein” at the opposing Kuwaiti side during a World Cup qualifier in Amman last Thursday.
Footage of the match between Al-Nashama and Kuwait depicts a man being held up by his friends chanting “Saddam Hussein” and asking others to join him, an act considered provocative of Kuwaiti feelings towards the memory of their dead after the Iraq invasion.
الجمهور الاردني اول ماييجوا ( #الجماهير_الكويتيه )
قولوا صداااام حسين.
— فـهد الدليمي 🇰🇼 (@moon69622) October 10, 2019
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 after accusing the Gulf country of slant drilling into the shared Rumailah oilfield. Roughly 1,000 Kuwaitis died and 300,000 fled.
At the time, Amnesty reported that following the invasion Iraqi forces perpetrated widespread human rights abuses including detention without trial of thousands of civilians and military personnel, torture, the imposition of the death penalty and the extrajudicial execution of hundreds of armed civilians including children.
During the early nineties, Jordan supported Iraq during the Gulf War and relations with Kuwait were tense. However, economic ties have since deepened – earlier this year Kuwait and Jordan signed 15 agreements in the oil and gas, media and tourism sectors among others.
الجمهور الاردني يرحب بضيوفه من الكويت ويهتفون صدام حسين 🙂
— SALEH |🇰🇼 (@ittiQ8) October 10, 2019
Translation: “The Jordanian fans welcome their Kuwaiti counterparts by chanting the name of Saddam Hussein…”
Amid fears, relations would take a step backward and the event would spark a diplomatic crisis, the Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tweeted that he condemned hate speech against Kuwait and affirmed that the behaviour of the football fans does not represent Jordanians at all.
Safadi called Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and said: “Any insult to Kuwait and its people is an insult to Jordan” and promised that their strategic relations will continue.
Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz said that it “does not reflect our values or the ties that bind us with our brothers.”
Kuwait’s Jordan ambassador has said the incident is an “irresponsible” and “cheap” way to undermine relations with Jordan.
In 2010 Kuwaiti MPs called on the Gulf state to freeze relations with Amman after a Jordanian town was named after Saddam Hussein.