web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Holding a Rocket
Live Updates: Hamas Rockets Explode in Southern Israel (6:01pm)
Latest News Stories
Holding a Rocket

6:01pm Eshkol 5:55pm Beer Sheva – Barrage 5:54pm Beer Sheva – Barrage & Shaar HaNegev too 17:42 pm Ashkelon and surrounds 16:39 pm Kerem Shalom 16:30 pm Gaza Belt communities (they are very focused on these people) 16:29 pm Gaza Belt communities (again!) 16:21 pm Gaza Belt communities 15:52 pm Segev Shalom and Bnei Shimon […]

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to security cabinet meeting with National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror. (archive)

Israel’s Security Cabinet is meeting in a marathon session to decide the next step in Operation Protective Edge.

More than 1,550 individuals have immigrated to Israel from Ukraine in the first five months of 2014 alone, more than double the 693 who arrived in the corresponding period last year.

Signs that Islamic State (ISIS – Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorists have arrived in Egypt have appeared in the Sinai Peninsula.

TEL AVIV – The United Nations probe into the Gaza conflict hasn’t even begun, but Israel already is convinced it won’t end well. In a resolution adopted by a vote of 29-1 with 17 abstentions, the UN Human Rights Council moved last month to establish a commission of inquiry “to investigate all violations of international […]

Israelis may have to blame Qatar for the current round of lethal rocket fire, if a report published in Arab media is true.

So imagine, you’re working in the field harvesting cucumbers (or whatever is in season right now) and suddenly the siren goes off – Hamas is shooting rockets at you.

Another miracle for the Jews in Israel — this time in Ashkelon, where a missile exploded directly on a house but hurt no one.

An international media outlet has caught Britain’s Consul-General to Jerusalem, Alastair McPhail in a photo wearing the PA logo scarf.

Sapir College in southern Israel has canceled classes and exams for the day due to resumption of rocket fire from Gaza.

Israeli pilots attacked a terror cell in Zeitoun, Gaza on Wednesday morning. One terrorist was killed and five were injured.

Longshoremen pulled a fast on anti-Israel picketers and are unloading the Zim ship that was blocked from unloading last week.

Deif may, or may not, have escaped the bombing raid. His wife, at least one of them, was killed. Is Haniyeh next?

One by one, slowly but surely, the State Dept.is waking up.

Islamic State allegedly beheaded one American journalist, has threatened another with the same fate.

More Articles from Sean Savage
Narendra Modi

While traditional Israeli allies in Europe remain in economic stagnation and produce increasingly hostile rhetoric toward the Jewish state, Modi’s election may further elevate Israel’s bond with the world’s largest democracy.

An Israeli soldier wounded by a roadside bomb while patrolling the Golan Heights is brought to a hospital in Haifa. Three other soldiers were wounded in the explosion. Israel retaliated with artillary fire on Syrian army positions.

Despite the massive humanitarian toll and the use of chemical weapons against his own people, over the past year Assad has seen his fortunes improve as Western and Arab countries, unsuccessful in ending the conflict diplomatically, have been unwilling to directly intervene.

Caught between the larger Sunni-Shi’a battles for supremacy in Syria, Christians are forced to contemplate an uncertain future as Western powers debate action against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The Irish and the Jewish people share a common history of both suffering cruel persecution and achieving national redemption against immeasurable odds. But today Ireland is one of Europe’s fiercest critics of Israel. The Irish government and prominent Irish NGOs frequently condemn Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, and they are pushing a boycott of the Jewish state.

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.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: