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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘King Abdullah’

Muslim Brotherhood Plotting To Take Over Jordan?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Jordanian government officials say there are growing signs that the kingdom’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood organization has plans to overthrow the regime. The organization, according to the officials, has succeeded in hijacking the anti-corruption and pro-democracy protests that have swept Jordan over the past year.

Today, most of the anti-regime demonstrations throughout the kingdom are being initiated and led by Muslim Brotherhood supporters whose goal is to turn Jordan into an Islamic republic.

Many Arabs feel that President Barack Obama’s endorsement of the Muslim Brotherhood has emboldened the Islamists and increased their appetite to drive moderate and secular rulers out of the Arab world.

King Abdullah has good reason to be worried about the Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to hijack the pro-reform drive in the kingdom. This concern was reportedly one of the main reasons that the monarch replaced Prime Minister Awn Khasawna — a staunch supporter of rapprochement with Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian sister-movement, Hamas — a few weeks ago.

In a bid to appease the anti-corruption and pro-democracy campaigners, King Abdullah has also taken a number of unprecedented measures against a number of senior government officials suspected of embezzling public funds and abusing their powers. The king has replaced three prime ministers since the “Arab Spring” began and has thrown a number of former officials into prison, but all this has not satisfied the Muslim Brotherhood.

What is clear by now is that no matter how much the king does to fight corruption and implement reforms, the Muslim Brotherhood will continue to argue that this is not enough.

“They have learned from the Egyptian experience, where Muslim Brotherhood also hijacked the anti-regime protests that were triggered by secular and genuine reformists,” explained a senior Jordanian government official in Amman.

Another Jordanian official said that his government has proof that “outside forces” were backing Muslim Brotherhood’s scheme to “spread chaos and anarchy in the kingdom” by exploiting demands for reform and democracy.

The official pointed out that some representatives of Muslim Brotherhood recently visited Turkey, where they reportedly met with former CIA deputy director Steven Kappes and former British MI5 chief Eliza Manningham-Buller.

Osama Rantisi, a prominent Jordanian journalist and political analyst, claimed that Kappes and Manningham-Buller pledged in the meeting that “the US government and its intelligence services will support the Muslim Brotherhood goals of reaching power.”

The claim has been vehemently denied by both the US government and Muslim Brotherhood.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders say the report about a conspiracy backed by the US and Britain to help the group topple King Abdullah’s regime is part of a smear campaign waged by Jordan’s General Intelligence Department.

Some Jordanians have also pointed to Iran and its proxy Hizbullah militia in Lebanon as being behind a Muslim Brotherhood scheme to stage a coup in the kingdom.

But while these efforts have persuaded many Jordanians to stop their street protests, Muslim Brotherhood supporters continue to stage protests and incite Jordanians against the regime.

What has particularly worried King Abdullah is that the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to “infiltrate” many powerful Jordanian tribes, which have always been known as traditional and staunch supporters of the monarchy.

Unless the US Administration stops flirting with Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan will be turned into a radical Islamic republic and a source of further instability in the Middle East.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Jordan and the ‘Arab Spring’

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Jordan’s ‘Arab Spring’ protests started as a peaceful small-scale demonstration against corruption in the town of Theeban in January 2011. Since then the protests have spread out to the outlying governorates, along with the rise of so-called popular movements. However, the unrest never reached the magnitude of the uprisings in countries such as Yemen, Egypt and Libya.

As in other Arab countries, protests in Jordan were being led by the Islamist movement, which dominates the political opposition, as well as by the popular protest movement which includes numerous pro-reform organizations.

Protests

The Jordanians mainly protested against corruption and favoritism.

Demonstrators called for investigations into regime corruption at almost all the protests.

Later the protests were directed against the worsening economic situation in the country. The deterioration of the economic situation is alarming as it could lead to a full-blown revolution as happened earlier in Tunis and Egypt.

Jordanian demonstrators demanded reform and change in general in a peaceful way. Lately however, some protests have turned violent. Last week dozens of people were injured during clashes between Salafists and pro-government demonstrators in the city of Zarqa.

Compared to the protests in other countries across the region, those in Jordan have been relatively sparse. This situation can be explained by a lack of organizational skills among the few political parties and an effective security system. In addition, from the outset, the protests’ consensus was that political and economic reform – not regime change – were the solution.

Palestinians

The fact that the Palestinians, who make up almost two thirds of the population, have not joined the protests may explain why there hasn’t been a full-blown revolution in Jordan.

However, the Palestinian Arabs in Jordan have good reasons to be angry at King Abdullah and his government. Although the majority of Jordan’s population is Palestinian, they have been discriminated against for decades.

This is something which King Abdullah in fact admitted when, back in 1999, he called upon his Jordanian (non-Palestinian) subjects to “end class divisions that have marginalized Palestinian citizens of the Hashemite Kingdom.”  He also said at the time that “discrimination must end.”

This discrimination includes the refusal of the Jordanian Government to let Palestinians actively take part in the governing of the country. For example, the Palestinian majority in Jordan holds only 6 seats in a 120 member Parliament, while in Israel the 20 % Arab minority holds 14 out of 120 seats in the Israeli Parliament.

In addition the UN Higher Commission for Refugees confirms that Jordan’s government still treats the majority of its Palestinian citizens as refugees. Human Rights Watch reported in 2010 that King Abdullah’s government has  been randomly cancelling passports of numerous Palestinians throughout Jordan, thereby destroying livelihoods and breaking up families.

Recently Jordan even revoked citizenship of PLO and PA officials. At the same time, a new electoral law sought to limit Palestinian representation in the Jordanian parliament even further.

Instead of taking responsibility for his government’s discriminatory actions, King Abdullah has  accused Israel of being an ‘apartheid’ state. He made this accusation in an interview with the Washington Post about the failed peace negotiations between Israel and the PA which were conducted in Amman. The king said that “Israel will have to choose between democracy and apartheid”.

Reforms

From the outset of the revolts in other Arab countries it was clear that King Abdullah was very concerned that a similar revolt could threaten his regime. He was therefore quick to announce reforms.

He has also been trying to divert the attention towards Israel by blaming the Jewish state for the shortcomings and failures of the Jordanian government, just like other Arab leaders have been doing for years.

Abdullah also tries to hide his opposition to the Syrian regime because he fears Assad’s repercussions and because the Jordanian economy largely depends on Syria.

The majority of Jordanian-produced goods are imported by Syria and Syria also serves as Jordan’s gateway to Lebanon, Turkey, and Eastern Europe. If the trade relations between both countries were to come to an end, the already weak Jordanian economy would receive a massive blow, which in turn could spark more protests and demands to topple the King and the Jordanian government.

One of the reform measures which Abdullah implemented included firing the government and replacing it with a new one. Similar actions were undertaken by Saudi Arabia, which uses its oil wealth to keep its citizens quiet.

However, the reform measures were not enough to satisfy the protesters and they demanded more extensive changes. Their demands included serious efforts to fight the regime’s corruption, a demand for an elected prime minister (instead of a prime minister appointed by the king), abolition of the senate (also appointed by the king) – or its transformation into a body elected by the people, and a demand to pass a new elections law.

In short, the protest and reform movement demands a decrease in the king’s powers and more influence and freedom of action for the parliament.

Aggressive

The protests continued, becoming more aggressive over time. Some protestors even publicly demanded that King Abdullah step down (there is a law in Jordan which forbids direct criticism of the Royal Family).

The tone of the demonstrations changed when the protesters saw that their situation was not really changing for the good.

Demonstrators started to display signs with slogans such as “there can be no reform under the current security grip” and “the people want freedom, justice and an end to corruption.” More recently various opposition members and groups have been accusing the King of being an “occupier”. They also accused Queen Rania of ruling the country instead of her husband.

In response to the radicalization of the protests, the regime has taken several measures to satisfy the Islamic movement and Bedouin tribes in Jordan. This included attempts to buy them off with money and positions of power.

The regime started to show flexibility on several issues which were previously considered sacred. For example, the king now said that he would be willing to curtail his own powers and that there might be talks about a constitutional monarchy.

Islamists

The regime also tried to pacify the Islamists by starting a dialogue. This move came after it became clear that the Islamic parties were the driving force behind the protests which are taking place in cities all over Jordan almost every Friday.

In addition, the regime capitulated to the demand of the Islamic movement to free prisoners, including the release of 150 Salafi-Jihadist prisoners who were imprisoned for attacking security officers with swords during a rally in the city of Al-Zarqa which took place in April 2011.

Furthermore, the regime also announced that it would renew its contacts with Hamas. The relations between Jordan and Hamas were suspended in 1999 because of Hamas’s terrorist activities. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was subsequently expelled from Jordan, after which he moved to Damascus. In 2006 Jordan blacklisted the organization after an alleged weapons cache was discovered in the country.

Now the regime is trying to patch up things with Hamas, in order to satisfy the Islamists in Jordan.

Khaled Mashaal visited Jordan at the end of January 2012, allegedly to find a new home for Hamas’s headquarters which until then had been located in Damascus.

The US government however, immediately made clear that it would not tolerate the establishment of Hamas’s headquarters on Jordanian soil and warned that there would be serious repercussions if the regime did not prevent this from happening.

Shortly afterwards the Jordanian regime hurried to make it clear that Mashaal’s visit had no “political implications and does not signal a change in Jordan’s political agenda.”

Israel

In Israel pundits are worried that the Jordanian regime will not be able to hold off the Islamists in the long run. New concessions to keep the Islamists at bay will probably be necessary but could further destabilize the region.

These concessions will no doubt include a review of the relations with Israel. Already at this moment it is apparent that Israeli-Jordanian relations are deteriorating.

The (failed) Global March to liberate al Quds/Jerusalem (an anti-Israel manifestation that took place at the end of March) was, for instance, prepared at a conference in Amman last January.

In the same month Jordanian MP’s called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. Recently a spokesman for the Jordanian government called Israeli actions against the continuing rocket fire from Gaza “barbaric aggression.” In the beginning of April, Jordanian state TV broadcasted an inciting sermon by imam Khaleb Rabab’a. He told worshippers that “Jordan’s army will destroy Israel and will regain Jerusalem from the killers of prophets.”

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Is Jordan Keeping Out Palestinian Refugees?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

More than 1,000 Palestinians who fled the violence in Syria and were hoping to find temporary shelter in Jordan, have been stranded along the border between Syria and Jordan for the past few weeks. The Jordanian authorities have thus far refused to allow them into the kingdom.

The Jordanian authorities have set up a makeshift refugee camp along the border with Syria, where the Palestinians are being held in tents, with poor sanitary conditions.

Jordan’s treatment of Palestinian refugees is not uncommon for an Arab country. Lebanon and Egypt have also refused to grant asylum to the fleeing Palestinians. This is also not the first time that an Arab country keeps Palestinians waiting on the border. In the past, Palestinians have also been denied entry into Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Libya.

Arab support for the Palestinians has been largely rhetorical over the past two decades, forcing the Palestinians to become almost entirely dependent on American and EU taxpayers’ money.

At the same time, an additional 100,000 Syrians who fled their country in the past year have been permitted to enter Jordan.

The Jordanians are worried that if they allow a few hundred Palestinians to settle in the kingdom, this would create a precedent and pave the way for the 500,000 Palestinians living in Syria to flee to Jordan.

As Jordan’s King Abdullah already has a problem with the 80% Palestinian majority in his kingdom, he does not want the Palestinians in the kingdom – they pose a demographic threat to the Jordanians.

The decision to ban the Palestinian refugees from entering Jordan coincided with reports that the Jordanian authorities have begun revoking the Jordanian citizenship of Palestinians which had previously been granted.

Because the Palestinians pose a demographic threat to the Jordanians, hundreds of thousands of them residing there will lose their status as Jordanian citizens.

The Jordanian government, according to sources in Amman, has even decided to revoke the Jordanian citizenship of Palestinian Authority leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas.

King Abdullah this week dispatched a high level delegation to Ramallah to discuss these new measures against the Palestinians with the Palestinian leadership. Headed by Jordan’s interior minister, the delegation informed the Palestinians that the kingdom would not be able to help the Palestinians fleeing Syria.

King Abdullah is so worried about the talk – mainly in Israel – about the need to establish a Palestinian state in Jordan that he recently instructed his government to come up with a new electoral law that would keep Palestinians away from parliament and most government institutions altogether.

 

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Bibi, Can You Bomb Iran Already or Just Shut Up?

Monday, March 12th, 2012
I am getting really fed up with all the talk and speculation about Israel’s plans to bomb Iran. Will Israel bomb Iran or won’t they? Will America approve the attack or not? Is Israel secretly infecting Iranian computers with fatal viruses? Is Israel backing Iranian underground terrorists? Are Mossad agents assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists? What is all this speculation worth? If we talk about it day and night, is it going to help the situation?
If there is one thing that Iran’s leadership has made very clear, it is that it has no concern with Western public opinion or its media image. Human rights, too, are of little concern to a country that has one of the highest known execution rates in the world. Daily, Iranians are executed for crimes such as rape, murder, drug trafficking, homosexuality, and other forms of “spreading corruption on Earth.” Leaked reports and cell phone videos have shown rape of both men and women in the custody of law enforcement, as a means of degradation and punishment. Beatings and arrests of protesters who oppose the regime are the norm when citizens dare to take to the streets. (On a side note, the silence of the international community on the topic of atrocities committed by the Iranian regime on its own people is deafening.)
America has been at odds with Iran for over three decades – ever since the Islamic Revolution there in the late 1970′s. Years of Western sanctions have had little influence in changing its policies, but sanctions are still suggested by many world leaders as a means of pressuring Iran to discard their nuclear armament programs. Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, a regular guest of the United Nations general assembly in New York, denies the holocaust just as he denies that his nuclear plans include using the bomb on Israel. Meanwhile, from the other side of his mouth, he threatens to wipe the Zionist State off of the planet.
Those concerned with Israel’s potential action to deter what is believed to be a threat to its very existence are debating whether we should believe Ahmadinejad or not. They claim that his words are being misinterpreted or that he doesn’t really mean what he says. Talk about speaking out of two sides of your mouth! (It is fascinating how people who claim to be concerned about human rights can be the very people who are so against attacking the abusive Iranian regime. Could there be any higher level of hypocrisy?) Jewish history has taught us that if a tyrant says that he intends to wipe us out, we should take his words very seriously. Individuals like Ahmadinejad need to realize that the Jewish people have good reason to be paranoid and they should make it their business not to be misunderstood when it comes to talking about wiping out the Jewish people and our country. At this point in history, the Jewish people have a strong army and the means to protect ourselves from the Hitlers of this generation. We will not go like the sheep to slaughter any more.
Israeli intelligence authorities need to assess the threats coming from Iran. This is not a public relations issue. Obama and the other world leaders can support or oppose our actions, but Israel will have to do what is best for the future and well-being of the Jewish State. No one else will do the heavy lifting for us. While we cannot diminish the possibility that Iran actually has the technology and the motivation to strike Israel, we also cannot afford to overlook other real and obvious threats to Israel.
At times, it seems that the Israeli campaign on the Iranian threat could be a distraction from the other threats to the State of Israel and lasting peace in the Middle East. While focusing on fears of what might come from Iran (or Hamas, for that matter), the public is distracted from the ongoing incitement coming from “moderates” like the Palestinian Authority’s Salem Fayyad and Jordan’s Abdullah, both of whom regularly convey threats to Israel. They might not have nuclear bombs, but they do have armies and other means of pushing Israel into a dangerous corner.
In the age of social media and the blogosphere, there are new types of threats to regional stability that we should not ignore. Leaders of Israeli security agencies should take note that incitement coming out of a basement in Chicago could be even more dangerous than Iranian nuclear aspirations and verbal threats. Provocation by an unemployed hate monger typing away at his keyboard in a clear effort to ignite the Middle East should get our attention, as well. Electronic Intifada blogger Ali Abunima spends his days and nights trying to bring the concepts of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion into cyberspace. Week after week, in a process of trial and error with different types of lies and incitement, he pushes for the incitement of physical attacks on Israel. Claims that Israel or Jewish activists planned to assault the Al-Aqsa mosque got minimal response. His web-based campaign in support of Islamic Jihadists’ hunger strike while in the custody of Israeli detention picked up more wide spread support. His potential success in causing a new real intifada, bringing people out into the streets within Israel and crossing the borders into Israel could grow be a greater threat than Iran to Israel, and should not be ignored.
It’s time to distribute our threat-evaluation more evenly, and then move from speculation on to decisive action.

Jordan’s King Abdullah Needs to Wake Up – Fast

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Facing growing criticism over lack of reforms and transparency, Jordan’s King Abdullah has announced an unprecedented crackdown on corruption, sending a number of his former top government officials to prison.

But the clampdown has only increased the appetite of the Jordanians, who continue to press for harsher measures against senior officials suspected of embezzling public funds and abusing their powers.

The king’s hitherto unsuccessful attempts to appease the protesters are designed first and foremost to prevent the Arab Spring from infiltrating the kingdom.

For the past several months, Jordan has witnessed weekly demonstrations calling for far-reaching reforms and an end to financial corruption. Most of the protests have been initiated by the kingdom’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood organization.

At the beginning, King Abdullah did not take the protests seriously. But when some Bedouin tribes who were known for their loyalty to the monarchy started joining the protests, the king finally began to realize that the situation in the kingdom is much more serious than he had thought.

Over the past year, King Abdullah has dismissed two governments in a bid to calm the situation, but to no avail. His recent decision to appoint Awn Khasawneh, a respected judge of the International Court of Justice, as prime minister, has also failed to put an end to the growing protests.

Although most of the protesters in Jordan have thus far avoided calling for regime change, a former parliament member broke the rules by publicly calling for toppling the monarchy.

The man, Ahmed Abbadi, was last week arrested by Jordanian security forces and is now facing up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

Abbadi hails from a powerful Jordanian tribe and his arrest has triggered street clashes between his supporters and police forces in the capital Amman.

Members of Abbadi’s tribe have vowed to stage more protests until the former lawmaker is released.

Political analysts in Amman point out that the king is desperate to restore calm and order that he has gone as far as ordering his security forces to arrest some of his most trusted and loyal officials, including the former mayor of Amman, Omar Maani, and the ex-chief of General Intelligence, Mohammed Dahabi.

The two men were arrested on suspicion of financial corruption as part of the king’s efforts to show that he is serious about reforms and transparency.

Some former prime ministers and cabinet ministers are also being questioned about their role in various corruption scandals over the past decade.

Yet all these measures have failed to convince the demonstrators that the king is indeed serious about improving the situation.

Each arrest and questioning has been followed by more demands from angry Jordanians.

Now many protesters are demanding that the king arrest Bassem Awadallah, one of his closest friends and a former minister of planning and head of the Royal Court, on graft charges.

A Jordanian journalist said that if the king continues to succumb to public pressure, “in the end he will have to fire himself.”

True, King Abdullah has taken a number of measures to fight corruption in his little kingdom. But at the end of the day, Jordan is still far from becoming a democratic country.

This is a country where the king can appoint and fire prime ministers and governments and dissolve an elected parliament any time he wishes. And this is a country where the prime minister — with the approval of the king, of course — appoints newspaper editors and senior journalists.

King Abdullah’s efforts to improve his image were recently marred by the sentencing of an 18-year-old activist to two years in prison for setting fire to a picture of His Majesty King Abdullah II.

The young man, Uday Abu Issa, was tried before a military state court, which found him guilty of “undermining the king’s dignity.”

The king would do well to realize that in the age of the Arab Spring, sending a young man to prison for burning the picture of an Arab leader will only add fuel to the fire. He also needs to understand that the rule of totalitarian autocrats in the Arab world is no longer acceptable.

If King Abdullah wants to survive, he must cede some of his powers, allow free and democratic elections for parliament and government and stop suppressing his critics. If he fails to wake up, Jordan could soon be taken over either by Islamists or the Palestinian majority.

Mashaal On Official Hamas Visit to Jordan

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

King Abdullah of Jordan met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on the Hamas chief’s first official visit to Jordan since he was expelled in 1999.

The visit is seen as an attempt to engage increasingly influential Islamists in the Arab world. Still, an AP report quoted a Jordanian official  as saying that Jordan will not allow Hamas to reopen a branch in Jordan.

Report: Jordan Considering Diplomatic Sanctions on Israel Over Palestinians

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

King Abdullah of Jordan has insinuated that relations between Israel and Jordan may suffer if Israel does not facilitate progress with the Palestinians in Jordan, according to the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.

The report stated that Abdullah was able to convince PA president Mahmoud Abbas to hold discussions in Amman by intimating that Jordan would consider diplomatic sanctions if Israel failed to “demonstrate it is willing to make significant concessions which will allow the Palestinian leadership to justify their return to the negotiating table.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-jordan-considering-diplomatic-sanctions-on-israel-over-palestinians/2012/01/25/

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