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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
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Jordan’s Secular Opposition: Plan B for Jordan

For the first time, the Palestinians engaged fully in the protests, calling for toppling the regime.
Can King Abdullah II of Jordan be saved?

Can King Abdullah II of Jordan be saved?

Also, Toner’s acknowledgement that the Jordanians’ concerns were not strictly economic was confirmed by a BBC report the following day, [31] and signified that the King’s problem went beyond just fiscal concerns.

TIME IS CRITICAL

With no signs of financial help for Jordan’s troubled economy; the king’s lack of reforms, and protests not declining in numbers or frequency, the situation in Jordan is likely to become even tenser, and escalate in the foreseeable future into a revolution.

In an interview with the BBC on 14 November 2011, the king said, “I believe, if I were in his [Assad’s] shoes, I would step down…. and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status-quo that we’re seeing.”[32]

A report of a 2002 workshop (organized by the American Friends Service Committee and the Regional Human Security Center at the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy) [33] states that Jordanian tribes, “living near and crossing national borders to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, the West Bank and Israel are known to have traditionally lived with small arms for self-defense purposes.”

The report adds: “As a result, it is believed that a large number of unregistered weapons exist [sic] in rural areas. Often the weapons held for traditional purposes help to fuel larger scale violence, such as tribal vendettas, hostage taking, and even outright civil war.”

The report states that Jordan’s Public Security Directorate [the police force] confirms there was a lack of precise statistics for unlicensed weapons in Jordan. However, for the year 2000, it does provide statistics, “showing a total number of 125,312 registered pieces and estimated 80 per cent of weapons remain unlicensed.”

Further, in 2010, Jordanian journalist and former Washington Institute researcher Samer Libdeh estimated that an average of five Jordanians were getting killed every week due to tribal unrest. [34]

It is therefore not out of the question that tensions in Jordan could evolve into armed clashes between the regime and the opposition, as in Syria — a situation the king has already acknowledged would lead him to step down.

There might be little time left for both those who want to support the king and those who want to make sure Jordan’s secular opposition –and not the Islamists–gains power should the monarchy come to an end.

JORDAN’S ARMY

The Egyptian army’s decision ultimately to back the revolution played a major role in making the Egyptian revolution mostly non-violent; will the Jordanian army do the same? One thing the Egyptian and Jordanian armies have in common is generous American financial support: since 1979, the Egyptian army has received $13 billion USD in US military aid. [35].

While the Jordanian army has been receiving substantial US military aid according to a recent US Congress report [36] US military aid to Jordan was $300 million for 2010 and $299.4 Million for 2011.

The same report also reveals that, “The US and Jordan cooperate closely on military and intelligence issues”.

The Jordanian military’s close ties to the US intelligence and military institutions might serve in neutralizing potential unrest between the King’s supporters and the opposition. Such measures, if supported by the US government, would make a regime change in Jordan quicker and least violent, thus helping to securing the region’s stability and security.

JORDAN’S COALITION OF OPPOSITION AND REVOLUTIONARY FORCES

In the wake of the ongoing uprising that started on 15 November, 2012, several leaders of the non-Islamist opposition agreed to form the Jordanian Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (JCORF).

JCORF’s main aim is replacing the Hashemite regime, and its symbols and pillars of support, in order to establish a civil state on the basis of “democracy, equality and justice to all Jordanians and securing Jordan’s sovereignty and regional stability.”

There is also The Syria National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, which had 63 members until recently [http://syrie.blog.lemonde.fr/2012/11/12/composition-de-la-coalition-nationale-des-forces-de-la-revolution-et-de-lopposition-syrienne/], who represent 23 million Syrians; thus, each member represents approximately 365,000 Syrians.

JCORF has 16 members, who represent 7 million Jordanians, thus each member represents 473,500 Jordanians.

JCORF’S MANIFEST

Below is a translation of the JCORF’s manifest:

I-Establishing a democratic civil state which sustains equality and brotherhood for all citizens, based on the values of freedom, equality, justice and observation of human rights.

About the Author: Mudar Zahran is the Secretrary General of the Jordanian Coalition of Opposition, a known Jordanian- Palestinian politician and writer, who now resides in the UK as a political refugee. His writings regularly appear in Arab, Israeli, and American publications.


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3 Responses to “Jordan’s Secular Opposition: Plan B for Jordan”

  1. this is an important document

  2. Marty Mensch says:

    This is very promising. I would like to see him repace the PA & Abass, which is not working. & than take all those that do not want to live in a Jewish State with us to Jordan with him. We should help with in Jordan. He sounds that he just might be the one that will bring real Peace to the entire region with our help.

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