web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Concern Grows Over Jordan As Possible Next Casualty Of Arab Spring

King Abdullah of Jordan

King Abdullah of Jordan

Bordering Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Jordan is sometimes overlooked by the media and policy experts because of its peace treaty with Israel, its alliance with the United States, and its relatively liberal socio-economic system.

Underneath this façade of stability, however, is a country plagued by a number of economic and social issues that threaten to plunge it into the chaos of the “Arab Spring” upheavals.

“If…there is to be a new country in play [in the Arab Spring], it is most likely Jordan,” said Dr. Daniel Pipes, president and founder of the Middle East Forum.

Jordan was established by Great Britain from the original Palestine Mandate. In return for the support of Ali bin Hussein, leader of the Hashemite tribe from the cities of Mecca and Medina, during the British-led Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the Brits installed his sons, Abdullah and Faisal, as kings of British-controlled Transjordan (later Jordan) and Iraq.

But when Transjordan was formed in 1922, the country was largely desolate, populated by Bedouin or “East Bank” tribes. With British support, King Abdullah formed a close alliance with those tribes, an alliance that became the foundation of the modern state of Jordan.

According to Professor Asher Susser, a senior fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, it is this history that has given Jordan’s monarchy more ethnic stability and legitimacy than some of its neighbors, like Syria, that have been ravaged by the Arab Spring.

“First of all the country in religious terms has a relatively homogenous population, unlike neighboring countries like Syria, Iraq and Lebanon that are deeply divided on a sectarian basis,” said Susser. And the Jordanian monarchy “has a certain level of legitimacy as descendants from the Prophet Muhammad. Also, the idea of hereditary rule is something that is quite customary in the Middle East. These people have more legitimacy than military or republican regimes.”

Jordan’s Hashemite monarchy has been able to maintain power for nearly a century while governments in Egypt, Iraq and Syria have fallen numerous times. The stability has persisted despite the large influx of Palestinian refugees from various Arab-Israeli wars, including Jordan’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967.

Since then, the Palestinian situation has festered as a perplexing problem for Jordan’s monarchy. Unlike many neighboring Arab countries, Jordan has granted citizenship and rights to its Palestinian community. But the Palestinians have long been treated as second-class citizens and viewed with suspicion by Jordan’s tribal community, who control many important state institutions, including the military and domestic security forces.

Tensions between Jordan’s native East Bank tribal community and the urban Palestinian community have been exacerbated by economic and political reforms undertaken by King Abdullah over the past decade, as well as the instability of the Arab Spring, which has plunged Syria into chaos and resulted in a flood of Syrian refugees into Jordan.

“[The] East Bank elite relied on the government for jobs and wealth, while the Palestinians have long been disenfranchised from this system,” said Susser. “However, ironically, the Palestinians’ wealth is growing from private sector and the economic reforms. This has caused great resentment from East Bankers, many of whom feel Abdullah lacks the legitimacy of his father King Hussein. He is less trusted among East Bankers.”

The deterioration of support for the monarchy among the traditionally stalwart East Bank tribal community disturbs Pipes as well.

“The problem, from the point of view of the monarchy, is more the tribes than the Palestinians, who simply are not disruptive in the way they were in the past,” Pipes said.

The growing distrust among the East Bank tribes, coupled with an emboldened Islamist Muslim Brotherhood opposition (which draws considerable support from the Palestinian community), presents one of the most difficult challenges facing the monarchy.

Jordan faced widespread protests in November 2012 over cuts to fuel subsidies as part of a loan program from the International Monetary Fund. Many analysts at the time speculated that this would lead to a popular revolt. But after a relatively benign government crackdown (by Middle East standards), the protests quickly dissipated.

The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, boycotted Jordan’s most recent elections and continues to trouble the regime. But Susser pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood’s initial appeal, which followed the first Arab Spring protests, has declined in Jordan due to the current chaos in Egypt and Syria.

“The Arab Spring has gone very sour and the appeal of the Muslim Brotherhood is not very high today. The situation in Egypt is hurting their image in Jordan and the bloodbath in Syria is not very appealing either for Jordanians,” Susser said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Jordan’s King Abdullah have long had a tenuous relationship. Abdullah, allied closely with the West and Sunni Gulf States, has been wary of Assad’s close relationship with Iran. Nevertheless, Jordan has accepted more than half a million Syrian refugees, who now comprise nearly ten percent of Jordan’s population.

The influx of refugees “is a huge resource drain for the state and is an enormous undertaking,” Adam Coogle, the Amman-based Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, told JNS.

Jordan has appealed to the United Nations to assist the country in dealing with the Syrian humanitarian disaster.

“I don’t think people really know where things are headed at this point,” said Coogle. “There is a general idea that the security situation is declining, as well as the major Syrian refugee situation. There is also simmering popular discontent with the pace of reforms and whether or not there have been true reforms at all. In our assessment it is a mixed bag; some reforms have been good and some have not been good.

“Whether or not this will lead to a popular revolt against the monarchy is still an open question.”

(JNS)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Concern Grows Over Jordan As Possible Next Casualty Of Arab Spring”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat being carried in a rally last winter.
PLO Blows Up Netanyahu’s ‘Peace Process’ Renewal
Latest News Stories
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.

Rabbi Riskin believes the Rabbinate must be prepared to accept Halachic decisions that aren’t Ultra-Orthodox.

The Egyptian flag

The case also called for banning the sale of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Liberation newspaper in Egypt over “blasphemy against Prophet Mohamed.”

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat being carried in a rally last winter.

The Palestinian Authority and its superior PLO organization have totally dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s overture to sit down and discuss new borders that would leave several settlement blocs under Israel sovereignty. Haaretz headlined on Tuesday a report that Prime Minister Netanyahu told European Union foreign policy adviser Federica Mogherini last week that he wants […]

Eller-070414-Sunscreen

The temperature is expected to reach extreme levels today, drink water.

“In the chaos of the conflict… Hamas…granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuse, amounting to war crimes.”

The Israeli Air Force responded to a rocket attack from Gaza by striking terrorist sites within the Strip.

Information on more than 100,000 US taxpayers was stolen by hackers who breached the IRS.

Hamas terrorist leaders are hiding again as Israel considers a response to Tuesday’s rocket attack.

“In the chaos of the conflict… Hamas…granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuse, amounting to war crimes.”

Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin plans appeal to Supreme Court over fight to stay in his position; city’s mayor also vows support.

European leaders warn that “no deal” is likely between the US-led world powers and Iran by the time talks reach the June 30 deadline.

An Arab vehicle terror attack at the Gush Etzion junction was foiled by Israel Police on Tuesday evening; the terrorist fled towards Beit Fajar, leaving some damage behind.

9:43 PM Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon is currently moving patients to the bomb shelters, just to be safe. 9:37 PM The army has officially confirmed one rocket hit in Gan Yavne. Islamic Jihad has taken credit for the launch, and it was the result of internal fighting within that terror group in northern Gaza. 9:17 […]

The number of Syrian refugee schoolchildren is going to outstrip the number of Lebanese students, a UN envoy warns.

Bomb threats hampered travel for six international flights to Boston, New York and New Jersey over US Memorial Day weekend.

An extremely rare 1,000-year-old ketuba inscribed in Aramaic is now on exhibit in the National Library in Jerusalem.

More Articles from Sean Savage
Hamas-052215

“There is ongoing public disenchantment against Hamas inside of Gaza,” said Zilber.

Israel is home to one of the few remaining growing Christian communities in the Middle East.

Tevi Troy, who served as White House liaison to the Jewish community under President George W. Bush, called Warren’s recent decisions on Iran sanctions and PA funding “worrisome signs.”

El-Sisi has embarked on an ambitious plan to destroy Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure underneath the Egyptian-Gaza border.

The Cincinnati case helped clarify what cities can and cannot do concerning access to public places.

As expected, one of the biggest themes throughout the week long UN gathering was a focus on the threat posed by Islamic State to the international world order, with nearly every major world leader mentioning the U.S.-led international efforts underway to combat the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

Looming large over any efforts to rebuild Gaza is the ongoing split between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which continues to control the Gaza Strip.

J Street’s co-sponsorship policy extends to groups on both the anti-Israel and pro-Israel side of the spectrum.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/middle-east/jordan/concern-grows-over-jordan-as-possible-next-casualty-of-arab-spring/2013/05/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: