Last month, Jordan’s King Abdullah addressed the world from the UN Podium, directly warning Israel that it could “be engulfed in a sea of hatred in a region of turmoil.” These threats were not “just talk” as some of his few remaining Western cheerleaders would like to claim, but in fact, the king was making a threat, which he has executed into actions that could bring the world one step closer to another war in the Middle East.
But, why is the King doing this?
For the Jordanian Opposition Coalition (JOC), the answer is simple – Abdullah is weak, fragile and literally standing on his very last leg. As a result, he is playing the oldest trick in the book, blackmailing the world by working both ends against the middle and either threatening war or allowing it to happen. Let’s see how.
One day before the king made his threats at the UN, the Jordan’s parliamentary elections took place on 20 September, and they were largely boycotted by the Jordanian people. In fact, even with the “success” that the king claims, the official turnout rate was the lowest in Jordan’s history – just a mere 37.5% of those eligible to vote, voted. Even worse, this rate is being contested amid allegations that the king’s Ministry of Interior “rigged the elections,” issued fake IDs for its affiliates, allowing them to vote multiple times in order to increase the rate. Furthermore, the turnout rates in Jordan’s major cities, Amman and Irbid, were as low as 17%.
In addition to the low turnout rates, it appears that for some reason, the king executed the elections in a very hasty and chaotic fashion. For example, several ballot boxes were lost, while many more mysteriously disappeared. For example, in the “Central Bedouin District” where the candidates are contesting the results in court because of the missing ballot boxes, 8 appeals have been made in court by several candidates accusing the government of rigging the elections.
This holistic chaos and royal disregard for the public’s desire has evolved into protests, marches and a general public outcry against the king, the elections and those who won seats.
What’s most alarming about this whole situation is this: the king clearly handed the parliament to Islamists whose agenda is to radicalize the public, cause instability in the region, and spread hatred against the West, USA and Israel.
In total, at least 35 members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) are now in the parliament (Almost 27% of 130 seats) 15 members come from the Islamic Action Front Party, 10 from the Centrist Islamic Party and 10 MB affiliates who are not official members, similar in nature to the way Mr. Bernie Sanders was not a registered Democrat, yet ran as one.
What’s alarming about this should be clear to everyone who follows Jordanian politics: Islamist have boycotted the last three parliamentary elections, making their vigorous return to the parliament evidence of a much-rumored “handshake” deal between the MB and the king. In fact, with Constitutional changes made by the Parliament just before they were disbanded last year, the king ensured that changes in the elections law not only gave him more power, but muddied the elections law allowing for these fundamentalists to not only take hold, but to capture seats in an already contentious Parliament. For example, take the so-called
“Virtual District” This odd concept gave the king a free hand to secure the Islamists a victory by assuming a non-factual contingency, and came at a time when concrete fundamental connections between the MB and ISIS ideology and structure are clear and evident. As a result, it appears that the king’s new elections law was specifically designed to empower fundamentalists in the next parliament in exchange of their unconditional support that will keep the monarchy in power.
To make matters worse for Jordan and the world, the king allowed the so-called Centrist Islamic Party to secure 10 seats. Despite their name, that party’s leaders are known as diehard loyalist to the king who have an extremely radical Islamist agenda that is against women’s rights -such as passing citizenship to their children-and is vehemently anti-peace and Israel.
Finally, the king helped usher in many anti-Western figures from the non-Islamist camp. An example of those is 3 newly-elected parliament members from the newly-found, and mysteriously well-funded, Maan List. For those unfamiliar with the Maan List, it is well known within Jordan that those on the list are vocally loyal to the king and are publicly very close to Queen Rania’s office. In fact, on its official site, the Maan List ran on highly anti-Western, anti-peace and pro-BDS ticket. Ironically, one of those – Qais Zaiyadeen – allegedly won his seat by securing thousands of votes, despite running for one Amman Christian parliamentary slot, a slot which barely gets a few hundred votes. This alone confirms that the elections were rigged by the king, and in Zaiyadeen’s case, someone seems to have gotten carried away and given him more votes than there are possible voters. To add insult to injury, Zaiyadeen is a very vocal advocate of Syria’s Assad, making his victory unexplainable in a country where Assad is passionately hated and considered to be a butcher.
Now let’s turn our attention to Jordan’s strong General Intelligence Department (GID). The GID has vigorously opposed the king’s empowerment of the Islamists. What’s most significant here is that more than 30 parliamentary candidates who lost their elections are all known operatives and loyalists of the GID, which signifies the perception that Jordan’s king is not only at odds with Jordan’s intelligence body but made their candidates lose in an attempt to put the department in its place. This should come as no surprise as the GID has been distancing itself from the king since 2012 for his apparent alliance with Jordan’s Islamist. What helps the GID maintain its moderate position is its cemented counterterrorism cooperation with the CIA, British MI6 and the Mossad.
To the untrained and uninformed -who usually claim authority about Jordan- they will argue that the above outcomes are evidence that the Jordanian public is radical, and hence, the radicalized parliament is “not the king’s fault.” To those we ask: if the elections were transparent, how come even the major tribal figures lost? How come anyone who is considered a moderate has lost? How come even moderate Christian candidates lost and radical anti-peace candidates won? Why is there no free press in the country to actually report on the violent aftermath of the elections? And, how on earth could the intelligence department’s candidates lose?
It should be quite clear to the world that Jordan’s King created an Islamist and anti-Western parliament so on one hand, “the king can stand up and say to the West that the only one who can protect it and Israeli interests in Jordan is me” and then urge all Western governments to support him economically and militarily. Yet on the other hand, should this parliament become active on 7 November 2016 as planned- the king has primed the country for an all-out political, social and economic civil war that will threaten Jordan and destabilize the region, as well as the interests of the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
In fact, the disastrous outcomes of the king’s gamble are already in, with the results and their effects waiting just around the corner. Today as you read this, Jordanian society has broken out in public unrest that is sweeping the country from the North to the South. In fact, fire, gunfire, riots and confrontations with the police, as well chaotic protests have engulfed the country under a regime-forced media blackout, nonetheless, images and reports of the unrest are still surfacing on Jordan’s social media to this day. The JOC’s Shadow Secretary of Homeland Security, Naseem Al-Gheewan, estimates the “violence will cool down eventually but unrest and chaotic protests shall remain for a long time, this is the beginning of trouble, not the end of it.”
The world must recognize the coming storm in Jordan and at the same time understand the political sabotage Jordan’s king is executing is a threat to the region and therefore the world in order to buy himself more time on the throne, and if the region explodes, he will retire to his mega mansion in the French countryside where he could follow news of the next Middle Eastern war from the safety of his living room.Mudar Zahran