web analytics
September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 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
The Palestinians have desecrated Joseph's Tomb on more than one occasion.
Capture of Joseph’s Tomb Terrorists Exposes Truth About Palestinian Authority
Latest News Stories
Rocket Crossing

5:21 AM At around 5:21 AM Israel time, the rocket alert went off along the Gaza border. No additional information available at the moment.  

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY-9)

THThree NYC Cong. Ds from heavily Jewish districts defied constituents, announcing support for Nuclear Iran Deal.

Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

An IDF soldier in the Yamam counter-terrorism unit was injured in one of the Jenin battles on Monday evening.

Rocket Crossing

In response to the IDF Jenin Operation, Gazan terrorists are threatening to launch rockets.

Five administrative detainees in Ketziot Prison in the Negev desert started a hunger strike, according to the Israeli Prison Service.

The Celebrated European Clubs Will Clash in Two Games As Part of The 2015 Euroleague Basketball World Tour.

One IDF soldier is seriously wounded after Arab terrorists attacked IDF soldiers in a Jenin arrest operation.

Rep. Pompeo has received money from KochPAC, McDonald’s, the Snack Food Association PAC, FoodPAC, and Land ’O Lakes butter — but not a penny from AIPAC.

The death bed confessions of a former Nazi soldier revealed the whereabouts of the “Nazi train” which remained hidden for decades in tunnels in Poland and is thought to contain gold, art and other valuables.

The purpose of the talks was to find a way for Nahal Oz to grow potato seeds for Jamal from the Gaza Strip for the autumn season.

Obama knows how to capitalize on the bulk of American Jews, who want Israel to be a nice Jewish boy that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable President Barack Obama declared that American Jews’ concerns are like those of Afro-Americans and other Americans, indicating that Israel is not one of those worries. He unsurprisingly chose the left-wing […]

Jerusalem Arabs on Monday returned to their masochistic hobby of throwing rocks at the Jerusalem Light Rail trains that passes though the Arab Shuafat neighborhood. Wibndwos were shattered, but there were no injuries. If one tries to understand the reasoning for Arabs trying to disable the trains that serve the Arab population, the conclusion must […]

“It cannot be that in one moment of diplomacy, the reality is changed so completely.”

The management of the former death camp says there was no intention to remind people of the gas “showers.”

PM Netanyahu says he will beef up security in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria due to rising Arab violence.

ISIS destroys a new, majestic part of the Syrian UNESCO World Heritage site, Palmyra.

More Articles from Sean Savage
Pro-Israel student leaders pose for group picture at CAMERA's recent conference in Boston.

Osakwe, like many other students at the CAMERA conference, described an extremely hostile campus environment when it comes to the issue of Israel.

President  Barack Obama.

How and when is it appropriate for pulpit rabbis to comment publicly on the Iran issue?

“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.

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: