Muslim Brotherhood Raising Jordan To Boiling Point
Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:40 PM
Swarms of refugees from Iraq and Syria, along with the rising Muslim Brotherhood, may bring the Arab Spring to Jordan.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/29/2011, 1:43 PM
Club-wielding Jordanian police
Israel news photo: Sufisticate.com
A growing reality of the nightmare of refugees from Iraq, from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and from Syria swarming across the borders to Jordan, along with the growingly influential Muslim Brotherhood, threaten the kingdom’s stability, researchers report.
“Within the Kingdom and across three of its borders, unfolding developments carry far reaching implications for the region in general and Jordan’s stability in particular,” according to Oded Eran of the Institute for National Securities Studies (INSS).
King Abdullah faced minor but unusual protests earlier this year, particularly from Bedouin and other Arabs who previously fled Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley during Arab-Israeli wars as well as under the PA regime.
Another ingredient in the boiling Jordanian pot is Iraq. “The U.S. final withdrawal from Iraq may cause anarchy there, which in turn will increase the flow of Iraqi refugees to Jordan,” Eran wrote.
“More than half a million people fled to Jordan in the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, exacerbating economic demands and inflationary pressures,” he added.
“Ongoing Sunni-Shiite tension may draw Jordan against its will into the conflict, as occurred in 2005 when a Jordanian suicide bomber killed 127 Iraqis in Hillah, mostly Shiites, approximately 100 km south of Baghdad."
The violence in Syria already has spread across the Jordanian border. Syrian soldiers shot at a girl fleeing to Jordan earlier this week, and Jordanian forces rescued her and shot in the air. Last week, Jordanian soldiers arrested a youth for allegedly for helping Syrians to buy arms, and he died in jail, prompting street protests.
housands of Syrian protesters have flooded Jordan, and the success of the protest movement may fan flames in the kingdom. The Muslim Brotherhood stands ready to help this happen.
Although Jordan would be pleased with Assad's demise if it weakens ties with Iran, “the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has sided with the Syrian anti-government forces…puts King Abdullah in an awkward situation. The specter of Jordanian and Syrian Muslim Brotherhood cooperation no doubt raises concerns in the Jordanian palace.”
The monarch went so far as to say that “If I were in his [Assad’s] shoes, I would step down,” but after media reported that he was outrightly urging Assad to quit, the king backtracked.
Another huge threat to King Abdullah is the prospect of a Palestinian Authority unity government that would restore Hamas’s status in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
Although Jordanian palace officials said that on the king’s recent visit to Ramallah, he discussed the proposal from a positive point of view, Eran noted, “A Fatah-Hamas joint platform of action, which may put an end to any prospect of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, would be viewed with great concern in Amman. The absence of any negotiations may drift into violent friction between Israel and the Palestinians with dire consequences for all concerned, Jordan included.
“The fear in Jordan of another wave of Palestinians fleeing a third intifada, in addition to fears from Syrian and Iraqi refugees, must surely cause sleepless nights in Amman.”
Posted 30 November 2011 - 02:14 PM
Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:01 PM
The Government of Jordan is accused of a vicious attack on a beautiful Palestinian activist.
Things are turning ugly in Jordan. Just two days ago, a beautiful young co-ed, Enass Musallam, was brutally stabbed in the abdomen five times by a masked man who was “professionally covered like he was on a SWAT team”.
Luckily she survived the vicious attack. What was her “crime”?
She is a Palestinian student at the University of Jordan. She is active in opposing King Abdullah’s discriminatory policies towards the Palestinians. Recently, King Abduallah’s uncle made threats to the Palestinians –out of the blue– on Jordanian national TV. She responded immediately with a posting on her blog. Shortly after her article was published, when she was heading to college, a masked man who reportedly spoke in a Bedouin accent, attacked her.
Her blog is called, Myth Pen with this sub-title “Here is flowing ink pens in the rebellious, the flow of blood in the veins rebel!” It can easily be translated into English. Here is the article in question.
After the attack, the Government made a public statement about the crime: “This girl has been involved in an affair with a former boyfriend who wanted revenge when she dumped him”.
In the Palestinian culture such an allegation is like the ultimate death sentence. It means that the girl is a “*****” in the eyes of Palestinians who accept it at face value. It suggests that her family is a low-class ill-mannered family. In other words, the Jordanian regime has attacked the untouchable with the Palestinians, their honour.
The girl’s family did not take it lightly and accused the Government of the vicious attack. And they were not alone. Her friends also quickly connected her attack to her anti-discrimination article and her political views. So did UNESCO in Jordan. It sent out a message of support, stating the attack was political retribution. She reported that her attacker at one point held the knife to her throat and told her to “stop your lying.”
One day after the attack, the smiling King Abdullah had a love-in with the delegation of American Jewish Presidents from the Conference of Presidents
Recently, I highlighted the plight of the Jordanian Palestinians in my article, The Poor Palestinians.
Just today David Keyes wrote an article in Israel Hayom in which he wrote:
“Simmering beneath the surface in Jordan is tremendous discontent, fear and inequality. On my last trip to the Hashemite kingdom, I was astounded by the contrast between crushing poverty in the slums of Amman and the king’s Royal Automobile Museum. It boasts hundreds of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porches, Mercedes Benzs and Aston Martins once driven by the king or his father. Few people living in a fear society will admit it, but imagine the latent outrage many Jordanians must feel seeing such conspicuous consumption by an unelected, hereditary leader with a lifetime appointment.”
And now they have one more thing to be outraged about. Where will it end? Probably with a repeat of the mass killings which are taking place daily in Syria.
Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:55 PM
10 August 2012
International attention over the Arab uprisings has been naturally drawn in recent weeks to Egypt and especially Syria. Yet, Jordan is clearly the Arab state whose internal stability affects Israel's security most directly. From a purely geographic standpoint, Israel's border with Jordan is its longest international boundary. King Abdullah has managed to assure his kingdom's security and avoid the kind of internal disruptions that have afflicted most of his neighbors though he had to deal with a wave of protests in the spring of 2011. The Jordanian protests were analyzed several months ago in a study by the International Crisis Group.
What was striking was the fact that these did not only involve Jordanians of Palestinian origin but also East Bank Jordanian tribes that had always been one of the main pillars of support for the Hashemite throne. A process of alienation among some of this tribal population in Jordan has been going on for several decades. Under King Hussein, many East Bank Jordanians were rewarded for their loyalty with civil service jobs or positions in the security apparatus from which the Palestinians were excluded. The Palestinians increasingly were drawn to the private sector. But in the 1990s, Jordan cut back public spending and privatized many public services, which hurt the East Bank Jordanians disproportionately. Recently, there have been East Bank Jordanians who have even complained about increasing poverty.
Given this analysis, anyone studying Jordan should not be surprised to find at that time some Jordanians from the East Bank tribes became attracted to jihadist doctrines and even went to fight in Afghanistan. There is the famous case of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who came from the Bani Hassan tribe, known for its loyalty to the Hashemites, who would become the commander of al-Qaida in Iraq. Lately, jihadist networks have been found in Irbid, near the Jordanian-Syrian border.
In February 2011, 36 tribal leaders of the East Bank bedouin warned King Abdullah that unless Jordan underwent serious reform, he risked a popular revolt. It appears that King Abdullah has to juggle between two parts of the Jordanian population: the East Bank bedouin who feel economically deprived and want reform that gives them more resources and the Palestinians who want more political power.
This year Jordan faced two additional challenges, which makes King Abdullah's balancing act even more difficult. The repeated attacks of al-Qaida against the Egyptian gas pipeline caused a serious problem for Jordan, and not just Israel. At the same time the Syrian uprising has produced tens of thousand of refugees who have come to Jordan, thereby straining its already limited resources. Over the years Jordan has taken in different waves of Palestinian refugees and also nearly a million refugees from Iraq. Now the Jordanian government is estimating that up to 150,000 Syrian refugees have also entered the kingdom.
What is to be done? At the beginning of August, the International Monetary Fund approved a $2.06 billion loan to Jordan. These kinds of measures will be necessary to help the Jordanians get through the period ahead. In the longer term, Jordan also needs to improve its ties with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The Saudis provided $1.4 billion in aid to Amman last year and invited Jordan to join the Gulf Cooperation Council, the organization of the oil-rich Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia. But then Saudi relations with Jordan soured and no new aid has been forthcoming. Talks about giving Jordan an association with the GCC were frozen.
It should be stressed that Jordan will be playing an increasingly critical role in containing the Iranian expansionism. It borders Iraq, whose prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, serves Tehran's regional interests. Already, Jordan has dispatched forces to Bahrain, which was facing a pro-Iranian insurrection. It has offered to train the Yemeni army which is also fighting pro-Iranian Shiite forces. The U.S. and its allies must have a strategic interest in protecting Jordan's economic stability and in assuring that it has the full support of the Gulf states, which together are ultimately facing the very same threat from the east.
Posted 20 August 2012 - 01:34 AM
In a daring and unprecedented move, Jordanian politicians, academics, political activists and media figures have sent a letter to King Abdullah urging him to end discrimination against Jordanians of Palestinian origin.
The letter serves as a warning to the monarch that the Palestinian majority in the kingdom would one day revolt against continued oppression and discrimination.
The last time Palestinians challenged the Hashemite royal family was in the late 1960s. Then, the late King Hussein sent his army to crush the revolt, killing thousands of Palestinians in what has since become to be known as Black September.
Although King Abdullah's wife, Queen Rania, is a Palestinian from the West Bank, his attitude towards Palestinians living in his kingdom has not been much different from that of other Arab countries.
In the early 1990s, more than 400,000 Palestinians were expelled from the Gulf in retaliation for the PLO's support of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. When Kuwait was liberated, many Palestinians who remained in the sheikdom were killed or tortured by angry Kuwaitis.
In Lebanon, thousands of Palestinians have been massacred by Lebanese and Syrians over the past four decades. In addition, the 500,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon have long been subjected to state-sponsored apartheid laws that deny them access to work, education and health services.
Following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, many Iraqis also turned against Palestinians, accusing them of siding with the former dictator. Thousands of Palestinians were forced out of Iraq while others were killed or had their homes torched and ransacked.
Palestinians carrying Jordanian passports say that unlike his father, King Abdullah has been doing his utmost to "marginalize" them through a series of laws, royal decrees and security measures.
The king is obviously afraid of the "demographic threat" that the Palestinian population poses. He is also wary of talk about turning Jordan into a Palestinian state -- a move that would, of course, end the royal family's rule of the Hashemite kingdom.
In recent months, demands for reform and democracy in Jordan have been on the rise. Some Jordanians say that the "Arab Spring" has been knocking on the kingdom's door for some time now and that unless King Abdullah wakes up things could get out of control.
But all indications are that the the monarch has still not realized the approaching tornado. Instead of embarking on real and meaningful reforms and combating rampant financial and administrative corruption, King Abdullah has chosen to direct his energies against Jordanians of Palestinian origin.
The letter that was sent to him notes that the Jordanian authorities have been revoking the [Jordanian] citizenship of many Palestinians.
The letter reveals that Jordanians of Palestinian origin suffer from discrimination in many walks of life, including when they are held in prison.
Discrimination is also employed against Palestinians when they seek to enroll in Jordanian universities, where priority is given to Jordanians with no Palestinian roots.
The letter also expressed concern over King Abdullah's ongoing effort to limit the number of Palestinians in parliament, adding that such a move would be in violation of the constitution.
"How can public opinion expect fair and just elections when partners [Palestinians] are being dismissed and marginalized?" the authors of the letter wrote to King Abdullah. "The presence of Jordanians of Palestinian origin in some institutions and all universities has become a rare phenomenon."
The king is already being challenged by the powerful and popular Muslim Brotherhood. Unless he improves relations with his Palestinian constituents, King Abdullah will soon have to face an even bigger threat from millions of disgruntled second-class citizens.
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