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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Abdullah’

As Israelis Mourn the Dead, Jordanians Glorify Killer

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Israelis just transitioned from their annual day of remembrance to the day they celebrate their independence. But even in celebrating 65 years of statehood, Israel never forgets the sacrifices it has made over the course of its existence.

As Israelis mourn the 23,000 soldiers and defense personnel who have been killed in the course of defending the Jewish state against aggression and terrorism, Jordanian leaders (not including the king, at least thus far) are making a hero out of a Jordanian soldier who murdered seven Israeli school girls and wounded six others during a peace program in 1997. Ahmed Daqamseh, who expressed pride in his mass murder, was convicted of these crimes but spared the death penalty, despite the fact that Jordan executes large numbers of criminals for relatively trivial offenses.

Now after serving approximately two years for each of the murders, he is seeking his release and he has the support of a large majority of Jordanian parliamentarians, who regard him as a hero. The very word “hero” was used by the Jordanian justice minister in joining the chorus calling for his release.

Daqamseh’s mother has said, “I am proud of my son and I hold my head high. My son did a heroic deed and has pleased Allah and his own conscience. My son lifts my head and the head of the entire Arab and Islamic nation. I am proud of any Muslim who does what Ahmed did.”

Daqamseh himself has said, “I have no regrets.” He continued, “The only thing I am angry about is the gun, which did not work properly. Otherwise, I would have killed all of the [children].” He also said he would do it again if given the opportunity.

The 13 school girls who were shot by the Jordanian soldier were on a peace mission at a place ironically called The Island of Peace. It is the man who shot these 13 school girls, wishes he had killed more, and promises to do it again, who is being called a hero by Jordanian public officials. The silence of King Abdullah speaks loudly about the widespread popular support that exists for this mass murderer of Jewish children.

In justifying his support for Daqamseh’s release, the Justice Minister said, “If a Jew murdered Arabs, [the Israelis] build him a statue.” In fact precisely the opposite is true. When a Jewish extremist (not a soldier) murdered Arabs at prayer, the Israeli government not only did not build him a statue, it forbade any statue from being built by private sources and has demonized the killer (who was himself killed), as a mass murderer deserving of no lionization.

Another indication of the widespread support is that 110 out of the 120 members of the lower house of Jordan’s parliament have called him a hero and demanded his release. They are seeking “freedom for the soldier hero” and saying “we are all Ahmed Daqamseh.” Leading this despicable effort to free a mass murderer is Ali Sneid, a man who claims to be of the left.

The effort to release Daqamseh has taken on elements of Islamic anti-Semitism by calling the continued imprisonment of this murderer “protection for the herds of the brothers of apes and pigs” and calling the victims of this mass murder by other anti-Semitic terms.

Nor is this hatred of Jews and the Jewish state by Jordanians limited to this particular case, despicable as that would be. Among grassroots Jordanians, particularly those of Palestinian background, there is widespread hatred of all things Jewish, Israeli and even American. Islamic extremism is rampant in parts of Jordan, though suppressed by its king and his dictatorial minions. Jordan is ripe for yet another Arab Spring turned winter. All that stands between the current monarchy and an Islamic upheaval is massive American financial and military support for its charming king.

King Abdullah presents a far more beneficent face of despotism than did any of the other Arab despots who were toppled, or are in the process of being toppled, by the Arab Spring turned Islamic extremist winter. How long this situation will last is anyone’s guess. But the possibility that before long Israel may have a neighbor to the east who is not as peaceful as the current Jordanian government, must be seriously considered.

Will the Arab Spring Reach Jordan?

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Many claim that the Jordanian regime has emerged from the Arab Spring relatively unscathed. For example, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan was reported as stating in Yedioth Achronot in June 2012 that the Arab Spring would not reach Jordan and even if it did, “the regime would find the right way to satisfy the people’s wishes with reforms.” Mudar Zahran, a Jordanian Palestinian pro-democracy activist who is a political refugee, currently living in the United Kingdom claims otherwise.

Zahran, who says he has an extensive following among Jordan’s Palestinian population, argues that the Palestinian majority in Jordan is “angry to the fullest and have nothing to lose.” He further claims that as a whole, Jordan is experiencing rising foment among the general population against King Abdullah II, Jordan’s head of state. In short, “the situation in Jordan is bad.”

Zahran predicts that this year will be King Abdullah II’s last year in power in Jordan and that Abdullah II’s reign will not even survive the summer.

Even the native Bedouins, who were traditionally loyal to the Jordanian monarchy, are protesting openly for the king to be toppled, he says. “They have gone as far as surrounding his palace and telling him to leave the country,” Zahran explains. “All of his photos were burned in every Bedouin area and every refugee camp in Jordan.” For the first time in forty years, the Bedouins and the Palestinians are uniting together to topple the Jordanian monarchy.

Zahran claims that the Jordanian economy is on the verge of collapsing, accelerating the problem for the monarchy. “We have an inflation rate that exceeds Somalia and Ghana, and a growth rate that is less than Somalia, at 2.5 percent,” he said. “The national debt rate exceeds 75 percent of the GDP.”

For Jordanians, this horrendous economic situation brings back memories of the economic situation in 1989, when the Jordanians woke up one morning to find that their Jordanian currency had shrunk by half. Evidently, the prices of local stores in Amman are comparable to London and Tokyo, even though income per capita is 600 dollars less than Egypt, meaning that for the first time in the last 50 years Egyptians earn more than Jordanians.

According to Zahran, such a situation is not sustainable: “Jordan is a time bomb and the economic and political pressure will eventually make it explode.”

As a result, King Abdullah is desperate to save himself, Zahran says, claiming that Jordanian intelligence has been cooperating with the Assad regime over the last two months. Zahran asserts that Abdullah “has been sending back opposition figures to Assad, which is a death sentence for them, and he has been advocating at the Davos Forum that Assad will not fall, even playing on the fear factor that if Assad will fall al Qaeda will take over.”

While the king continues to paint himself as the main opposition to radical Islam, Zahran says he has made an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood which has been helping him crush secular opposition figures.

He claims that the secular opposition in both Syria and Jordan have no interest in fighting Israel and that it is they who dominate the revolution (though he concedes that the Muslim Brotherhood, with its enormous wealth, has the best shot at winning elections because no one is financially supporting the secularists). According to him, the Palestinians of Jordan, who make up the majority of the Jordanian population, are very liberal compared to Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza.

In addition to colluding with Assad and the Muslim Brotherhood, Zahran says that Abdullah is also reaching out to Iran. In parallel, Al Quds Al Arabi has reported that Iran has already offered Abdullah assistance in developing Jordan’s uranium wealth.

“The king is playing with fire and the Iranians could easily burn up Jordan,” Zahran declares. “They don’t care, just like they did in Lebanon, and they will burn any where as long as it is not on their own soil.”

Another Gaza?

While Zahran says such developments in Jordan require Israel to question its support for Abdullah, he reiterates that he does believe that when (not if) King Abdullah falls, the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood will win elections as they are “the only one[s] with the money.”

What is Really ‘Broken’ In Syria?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Among the many noteworthy aspects of President Barack Obama’s recent tour of the Middle East was a comment on March 22, during a press conference with Jordanian King Abdullah II. Obama said, “Something has been broken in Syria, and it’s not going to be put back together perfectly, immediately, anytime soon – even after Assad leaves.”

Although the characterization of Syria’s condition was accurate, Syria has been “broken” for a longer time than most Weste­rners seem to think. A religious fissure in Syrian society – a tear that has now widened into a civil war and filled up with blood, bodies, and ruins – dates at least to 1970. That was the year Hafez Al-Assad (1930-2000), father of the current dictator, Bashar Al-Assad, who are both members of the Alawite religious minority, seized power within the Syrian wing of the Ba’ath party, which had ruled the country since a coup in 1963.

Supporting both Al-Assads, and serving as their main subordinates and followers, were – and are – other members of the Alawite denomination, which some consider Muslim and others do not. The world was slow to recognize in the Syrian civil conflict, commencing in 2011, a sectarian confrontation. The Syrian war pits the Alawites, who are typically counted as about 11% of the country’s population of 22.5 million, against the Sunni Muslims, who total around 75%. There is also a small Alawite presence in Lebanon, which is vulnerable to involvement in the Syrian contest.

When Hafez Al-Assad became dictator of Syria, Alawites had already infiltrated the Syrian army on a wide scale, a pattern that began under the French mandate controlling Syria from 1920 to 1946. Hafez Al-Assad installed still more Alawites as Ba’athist leaders, at the summits of military elite and state administration in Syria – an Alawite ascendancy maintained by Bashar Al-Assad. Between the Alawites and the Sunni Arabs stand small communities of Sunni Kurds and Turkmens, Christians, Druze (an esoteric faith derived from Shia Islam), other variants of traditional Shi’ism, and even a microscopic Jewish contingent. While favoring the Alawite minority, the Al-Assad regime pursued, under both father and son, a policy of public secularism. This included protection of the marginal creeds, as a bulwark against the overwhelming Sunni multitude.

Even though the Alawites are typically described as an “offshoot of Shia Islam,” from their emergence in the 9th century until the 20th century, their identification with an Islam of any kind has been denied by Muslim rulers and theologians.

Rejection of their claim as Muslims was, and is, based above all on their worship, as God, of Ali Ibn Abi Talib – the fourth caliph who succeeded Muhammad (and three others from among Muhammad’s companions). Ali, assassinated in 661 CE, was a cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, and is considered by Shias to have possessed divine knowledge – one of the core differences between Shias and Sunnis, who refuse any such an assumption about Ali.

All Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, accept Ali as a righteous leader of the Muslims. The Alawites, however, have taken their devotion to Ali so far as to believe that Ali was the creator of the world, of humanity, of Muhammad of a third member of the “Alawite trinity,” Salman Al-Farsi, a companion of Muhammad and the first translator of the Koran out of Arabic, into his native Persian. Ali, as the Alawites conceive him, was the final manifestation of God.

The notion that Ali was God and created Muhammad, has been treated by Sunnis and, until the late 20th century, conventional Shia Muslims, as a departure from Islam, if not a tradition with which Islam was never directly involved. The Alawite sect has been said by foreign scholars to have roots in, and reflections of, ancient Phoenician practices, Persian religious movements derived from Zoroastrianism, and even Christianity.

Through the centuries, several important Sunni fatwas [Islamic clerical judgments] proclaimed that the Alawites were not Muslim. These fatwas include three issued by Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), an ultra-fundamentalist Sunni, considered the leading forerunner of Wahhabism, the state religion in Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda frequently praises Ibn Taymiyya a a source of inspiration. Ibn Taymiyya’s knowledge of the Alawites, however, was imperfect, according to Yvette Talhamy of the University of Haifa, who summarized 650 years of fatwas made against Alawaites in a 2010 article in Middle East Studies, “The Fatwas and the Nusayri/Alawits of Syria.” In 1516 and in the 1820s, high Ottoman Sunni clerics issued even more fatwas against the Alawites which justified repression of the minority.

King Abdullah and Abbas: Jointly Prevent Judaization of Jerusalem

Monday, April 1st, 2013

On Sunday, March 31, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the acting leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, signed an agreement to jointly defend Jerusalem “from Israeli Judaization attempts.”

A statement issued by Abdullah’s palace expressed the terms of the agreement and asserted Jordan’s role as custodian of the Temple Mount and other “Muslim holy sites” in Jerusalem.  As custodian, the King asserted, he maintains all rights to exert all legal efforts to preserve them.

It is also emphasising the historical principles agreed by Jordan and Palestine to exert joint efforts to protect the city and holy sites from Israeli judaisation attempts.  It also reaffirms the historic principles upon which Jordan and Palestine are in agreement as regards Jerusalem and their common goal of defending Jerusalem together, especially at such critical time, when the city is facing dramatic challenges and daily illegal changes to its authenticity and original identity.

Jordan’s custodial role over holy sites in Jerusaelm is derived from Article 9 of the 1994 Jordanian Peace Treaty with Israel.

Contrary to the presentation by Abdullah and Abbas, the Peace Treaty, signed by King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, is between Israel and Jordan; the PA does not play a role.  The “Washington Agreement,” which set out the understanding for the terms of the Treaty, requires Israel to acknowledge the custodial role of Jordan over “Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem,” it does not require Israel to allow Jordan to prevent “Judaization” of the city.  What it does require is for Jordan and Israel “to act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions.”

At the time the Treaty was entered into, the details enraged the Arab Palestinians who saw the decision to award the custodial role to Jordan as a way of negating their claims to the Jerusalem sites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/king-abdullah-and-abbas-jointly-prevent-judaization-of-jerusalem/2013/04/01/

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