Of the many fascinating details in the Sahab interview with Abu Dujana al-Khurasani, one made my jaw drop and break my self-imposed blogging ban. Abu Dujana says his Jordanian handler named another Jordanian intelligence official as the person responsible for the assassination of Abdallah Azzam in Peshawar in November 1989:
“This idiot confessed to me and told me, ‘if you go and kill any leader of the mujahidin, you’ll become a top man in Jordan, like my chief, Ali Burjaq’. According to Abu Zayd [Abu Dujana’s handler], Ali Burjaq, Director of Jordanian counterterrorism, is the man responsible for the murder of the shahid, as we reckon him, shaykh Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar 20 years ago.” (translation by Adam Gadahn)
As you know, Azzam’s assassins have never been identified, and numerous theories have been suggested (CIA, Mossad, Usama bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Khad, KGB to mention a few). However, I have not heard this particular claim before, despite having worked on a biography on Azzam for some time.
It’s hard to know what to make of it. Of course, Abu Dujana may have made it up to smear the Jordanian regime. But he could have made up worse things, and blaming Jordan exonerates the US, who usually takes the blame for Azzam’s death in the jihadi community. One might also ask why a handler would divulge such a secret to an asset he has only known for a few months. But Abu Dujana’s trajectory shows he clearly did inspire trust. The biggest problem I have with this claim is that I don’t see why Jordanian intelligence would have wanted to take out Azzam in 1989. Azzam neither organized nor called for militant activity against the Jordanian regime at the time.
Either the GID did the job for someone else, or Abu Dujana’s claim is false.