Mahmoud Saidat I deliberately stayed away from all news sources during the Christmas holidays to give myself a break from the daily dose of death and destruction. Now that I’m back behind the computer screen, things are not looking any better.

One particular news item is disturbing me a great deal: The abduction of Jordanian driver Mahmoud Salman Saidat. A group calling itself the "Hawks Brigade" has claimed the abduction and is demanding the release of failed Iraqi bomber Sajida in exchange for his freedom. Since the Jordanian government has already turned down their demands, saying they will not be "blackmailed" by kidnappers, Saidat’s chance of survival looks very slim. My prayers go out to Saidat’s family during theses very difficult times.

The kidnappers’ demand reminds me of a rumor that — according to my friends and family members — has been circulating in Amman for quite a while and is causing some panic. The rumor goes that Zarqawi is planning to kidnap a number of young Jordanian women in exchange for the release of Sajida! Of course it is a baseless and ridiculous rumor but it has managed to create quite a state of fear among some, at least for a while.

On the issue of panic post the Amman attacks, make sure to read Rami’s post.