Jordan Jittery as Assad Troops Advance: Osama Al Sharif, Al-Monitor, June 9, 2013—Reports of a major military breakthrough by the Syrian army in Qusair, a strategic town close to the Syrian-Lebanese border, and surrounding areas last week [June 4-7] have given Jordan — which has felt the grave impact of more than two years of instability in its northern neighbor — the jitters.
Jordan is Reforming Without a Revolution: Hamada Faraenah, Al-Ayyam (P.A.)., June 9, 2013—Jordan is not safe from having major demonstrations by partisan and union bodies that oppose the government’s economic and social policies. Jordan has the factors that caused the Arab Spring wave, which started in Tunisia before moving to Egypt, Libya and Syria.
Ex-Jordanian Spy: Abdullah is Anti-Israel: Rachel Avraham, Jewish Press, May 19, 2013—Ouni Abed Botrous Hadaddeen is a former senior level Jordanian agent who is Christian. He defected from Jordan because he objected to the Jordanian monarchy’s practice of assassinating Jordanian citizens who have protested against the current regime.
Jordan, a Fake Country: Batya Medad, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013—Jordan’s land was supposed to be part of the Jewish State. When the League of Nations assigned Great Britain the responsibility to prepare former Turkish land aka Mandated Palestine to be the Jewish State, it included both sides of the Jordan.
Canadian Military in Jordan for Exercise: Lee Berthiaume, National Post, June 10, 2013
Jordan’s Secular Opposition: Plan B for Jordan: Mudar Zahran, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013
Jordan Threatens to Expel Syrian Envoy: Jerusalem Post, June 7, 2013
The Agreement on Jerusalem btw the P. A. and Jordan: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, Apr. 4, 2013
Jordan’s Syria Problem: Nicolas Pelham, New York Review of Books, Jan. 10, 2013
Osama Al Sharif
Al-Monitor, June 9, 2013
Reports of a major military breakthrough by the Syrian army in Qusair, a strategic town close to the Syrian-Lebanese border, and surrounding areas last week [June 4-7] have given Jordan — which has felt the grave impact of more than two years of instability in its northern neighbor — the jitters. Commentators have tried to analyze the effect of this victory by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime over rebel forces, who had to flee the town after a siege by the regular army and Hezbollah forces that lasted more than two weeks. The pressing question on everyone’s mind was this: Can Assad survive and win?
The answer to this question may determine the future stability of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. For months, since the eruption of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, Jordan has embraced a calculated position, calling for a political solution to the conflict and rejecting foreign intervention. But it also backed efforts to depose Assad and allow for a transitional phase so that the Syrian people could choose a new leadership. It was a tough line to follow.
Meanwhile, Jordan has opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees whose presence exacerbated the country’s economic problems. It has also received defecting officers and senior officials, including a sitting prime minister. The Damascus regime did not appreciate Jordan’s position, especially after allegations that Amman had allowed Jihadists and shipments of weapons to cross into Syria. At one point, Assad threatened that the fire in Syria would not spare Jordan.
Jordanians remain divided, though not equally, in their perception of the Syrian debacle. The majority supported the uprising, but die-hard Arab nationalists and Baathists stood by the Damascus regime. Under pressure from the United States and Gulf countries, Jordan slowly abandoned its calculated policy on Syria and joined the anti-Assad camp. In May, Amman hosted a meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria core group and signed onto a statement that called for Assad to leave power. The thin red line had been crossed, and Jordan found itself on the opposite side.
Still, Jordan did not evict the Syrian ambassador in Amman, Bahjat Suleiman, or hand over the embassy to the opposition. It thought that it could still manage its relations with Damascus and stay within the enemies of Assad's group. Suleiman, an ardent critic of Jordan, launched a scathing attack on the government for hosting the Friends of Syria group and later for announcing that it will deploy a Patriot anti-missile system along its northern borders. The batteries will arrive in Jordan, along with F-16 jet fighters, as part of multinational military exercises that will be held here, under the name of Eager Lion, later in June.
After Suleiman’s attack on Jordan, which he posted on Facebook, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh warned the envoy that he risks being expelled if he does not stop criticizing his host. “This is a final warning,” Judeh told the Associated Press. “Failing to commit, Suleiman risks becoming persona non grata,” he said.
It was another indication that the tension between Amman and Damascus has reached a boiling point. Jordan’s parliament is also pressuring the government to expel the Syrian ambassador. Suleiman had said that the answer to the Patriot system was the Iskandar missiles — a variation of Scuds that could reach northern Jordan.
The possibility of Assad surviving the civil war has raised questions about the future stability of Jordan. Pundits in Amman are worried that a vindictive Assad could retaliate by destabilizing Jordan. In a major foreign policy speech last week, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain warned that Assad will not end the two-year-old civil war that has killed more than 80,000 Syrians as long as he is winning on the battlefield, and anyone who thinks otherwise is “delusional.” Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, McCain said, “Jordan cannot last under this present scenario as we’ve seen; fighting has started in Lebanon and this thing could spread and engulf the entire Middle East in a civil war.”
McCain called on the Obama administration to renew US leadership in the Middle East and develop a credible Syria strategy. While the battle for Qusair will not decide the fate of Syria, many Jordanians believe that recent victories against the rebels in the Damascus countryside and along the Damascus-Amman highway will pave the way for attempts to take over Aleppo, Deraa and Homs from the rebels.
Amman still supports a political deal, in the form of the Geneva II peace conference, but there are signs that the meeting faces many logistical difficulties. Jordan stands to lose the most from a major shift in the military situation in Syria. While few are talking about Assad’s political survival, Amman is worried that divisions within the Syrian National Coalition and the retreat of the Free Syrian Army could strengthen Assad’s position and might have dire effects on Jordan’s stability.
Even if that does not happen for now, Jordan is already facing grave challenges in hosting half a million Syrian refugees. This week, a senior UN official said that the number of refugees in Jordan could swell to one million by the end of the year. The UN is launching a historic appeal to collect more than $5 billion to help host countries deal with the Syrian refugee problem. Jordan was forced to abandon its calculated policy on Syria. Now it appears as one of the biggest regional losers if the Assad regime survives or if the war drags on for a few more years. Either way, Jordan is feeling the heat.
Osama Al Sharif is a veteran journalist and political commentator based in Amman, Jordan, who specializes in Middle East issues.
Al-Ayyam (P.A.)., June 9, 2013
Jordan is not safe from having major demonstrations by partisan and union bodies that oppose the government’s economic and social policies. Jordan has the factors that caused the Arab Spring wave, which started in Tunisia before moving to Egypt, Libya and Syria. The Arab Spring may keep moving to other countries, both monarchies and republics, because the same conditions exist in those countries. The people reject regimes built around a single person, family, party or ethnicity. The factors that lead to the Arab Spring are:
The lack of independence and sovereignty standards. The placing of foreign interests above national interests. Foreign armies and unfair foreign agreements control the Arab order. Arab countries have a high debt burden. Some regimes receive military protection from the West. All that is helping maintain the occupation of Palestine, Syria, Iraq and southern Lebanon. There are foreign military bases in the Arabian Gulf. Binding agreements have been imposed on Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Djibouti and others.
The lack of democracy, pluralism and peaceful transfer of power through the ballot box.
The lack of social justice and the poor state of health services, housing and transportation. The unfair distribution of wealth. The high poverty rates and the widening gap between rich and poor, which causes conflict.
The above conditions do apply to Jordan. But the country has so far not experienced a popular revolution like other Arab countries. Rather, Jordan achieved positive, reasonable and balanced results for many reasons:
The Jordanian opposition is weak and fragmented. It took contradictory positions, such as its position on the National Dialogue Committee or on whether to participate in the parliamentary elections. The opposition is composed of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as nationalist and leftist parties. There are also the youth who mistakenly think that they are a substitute for the two traditional camps. As a result, Jordanian demonstrators have been divided and did not attract the general population. Therefore, the impact of Jordanian demonstrators was limited.
Most Jordanians fear the devastating effects of the Arab Spring, as happened in Libya, Syria and Iraq. Jordanians want reform and change, but most of them don’t want to see violence, like what happened in Maan for example. Jordanians are reluctant to join the protest movement, even though they do wish to see reform and gradual democratic change.
That the Arab Spring allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to reach power in the Gaza Strip, Egypt and Tunisia has made the Jordanians wary of making moves that would replicate the same result in their country.
The Jordanian leadership has been responsive to change. It did not clash with the protesters but tried to accommodate them. The king accurately read the changes sweeping the Arab world. He spoke about a constitutional monarchy, parliament and political parties — terms that used to be forbidden. He amended the constitution. As much as one-third of the constitution was changed. He issued a new electoral law. The new law allows for national electoral lists, created an independent supervisory body and redresses electoral transgressions through the courts.
Despite that, the king said that more changes will be made and that there will be further constitutional amendments. He described the election law as “not ideal.” Improving the electoral law is on the current parliament’s agenda.
Jordan is still at the heart of the change process. It has averted violence so far. Most Jordanians — including the king, the nationalists and the leftists — believe in gradual change toward a constitutional monarchy having an elected parliament, despite the forces pushing in the opposite direction. Those regressive forces include the conservatives, which are backward and reactionary, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which does not believe in religious, ethnic, ideological or partisan pluralism.
Jewish Press, May 19th, 2013
Ouni Abed Botrous Hadaddeen is a former senior level Jordanian agent who is Christian. He defected from Jordan because he objected to the Jordanian monarchy’s practice of assassinating Jordanian citizens who have protested against the current regime. Ouni was born to the tribe of Hadadeen, which is supportive of the Hashemite dynasty that has traditionally filled significant positions within the Jordanian government and armed services.
While he worked as a senior level Jordanian intelligence “collaborator” (spy), Ouni was ordered by the Jordanian government to confront anti-government protests and to lead counter protests in support of the Jordanian monarchy. In addition, he was told to write articles within the Arab media in support of the Jordanian government to prevent Jordan’s power base from collapsing, as was the case in Egypt during the “Arab Spring.” Hadaddeen claims that supporting the current Jordanian regime is not in the best interest of Israel and has accused Jordan’s King Abdullah of manipulating the Jordanian people to have negative views and even hatred of Israel.
Hadaddeen is presently a political refugee in Norway, while his family remains within Jordan. He claims that the Jordanian government has constantly threatened to rape and murder his wife and three young daughters. When asked if the threats were credible, Ouni said that rape is a systematic tool used by the Jordanian intelligence and the fact that he is Christian, rather than from a Muslim tribe, makes the regime less concerned about repercussions. Despite the threats, Hadaddeen continues to be an outspoken advocate against the Jordanian monarchy, out of the belief that at this point only public exposure will help his family.
There is evidence to back up Ouni’s claim that the Jordanian regime is fomenting hatred for Israel among the Jordanian people. The Jordanian educational system, instead of teaching the country’s youth to peacefully co-exist with Israel, educates youngsters that Palestine was stolen by the Jews. A report published by Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia Today, states that in Jordanian school textbooks, “references to Zionists as agents of imperialism and proponents of expansionists’ schemes […] occur.” Many of the anti-Israel textbooks that are presently used within Palestinian schools were originally Jordanian textbooks.
However, according to Hadaddeen, it seems that the Jordanian regime doesn’t merely publish anti-Israel textbooks. “One of the main foundations of King Abdullah’s regime is establishing hatred for Israel under the table,” Hadaddeen reports. He says that:
During the protests, [Abdullah] would tell Jordanian intelligence operatives, with me only being one of them, to sneak into protests and chant anti-Israeli slogans, both to distract the attention of people from the king and to give the impression that if he falls, Israel will be next.
Furthermore, a year and a half ago, the Jordanian intelligence establishment organized a massive march to the Israeli border, where Jordanians were told to “cross the border into Palestine.” But when Jordanians began to attempt to cross the borders, Jordanian intelligence officials attacked the protesters. Hadaddeen said this was a ploy in order to convince the Israelis that it was in their best interest to keep the Jordanian king in power.
Hadaddeen said that after the Israeli diplomatic mission was evacuated, as a result of this march, Jordanian intelligence officers went into the streets and proclaimed, “Haha, the Israeli chickens have left.” Hadaddeen compares the Jordanian king to Yasser Arafat, claiming that they are both double-faced. Just as Arafat told westerners he was dedicated to peace yet called for shahids among his own people, the Jordanian king portrays himself as the lone front against the Islamists, while getting his intelligence people to organize Islamist, anti-Israel and pro-regime protests, as the secular opposition, opposed to terror, is persecuted.
Unlike the situation in Egypt during the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan was and is on the same side as the regime. As Zaki Bani Rushied –leader of the Islamic Action Front Party—the Brotherhood’s political arm—informed the media, “The people of Jordan have chosen to reform the regime; people can choose to topple the regime or reform it, and here in Jordan we have chosen to reform the regime.”
Indeed, Hadaddeen asserts that in Jordan the Muslim Brotherhood is a “tool used by the king himself.” He said that the Jordanian king is “using the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorize Israel. He would meet them, and this is documented by media, and one day after they would start massive protests against Israel. It is not even a secret.”
Hadaddeen made the claim that in Jordan not a single Muslim Brotherhood member is in jail, and their members drive brand new German cars, in a country where such things are considered an extreme luxury. Hadaddeen described the cooperation between the Jordanian monarchy and members of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, claiming that the Jordanian monarchy has supported the Muslim Brotherhood for decades.
Hadaddeen decided to abandon the Jordanian monarchy mainly because of the killings that have taken place “under the radar,” that have gone unreported in mainstream media. He claims that “they have been doing a lot of killing.” A Jordanian named Khairi Jameel, who was mildly injured while protesting against the Jordanian government, apparently was murdered by Jordanian intelligence upon boarding an ambulance.
Hadaddeen is certain that the regime attempted to make an example out of him. “I was there that day leading the pro-monarch counter-protests, and we were told by our intelligence officer someone was going to get killed that day. I saw Khary Jameel boarding the ambulance alive with a minor injury, pronounced dead hours later.” Hadaddeen believes that since that he is a Christian, he has dispelled the Jordanian government’s “facade to the western media” that all opposition members are Islamists.
Jewish Press, June 10, 2013
Jordan’s land was supposed to be part of the Jewish State. When the League of Nations assigned Great Britain the responsibility to prepare former Turkish land aka Mandated Palestine to be the Jewish State, it included both sides of the Jordan. But it didn’t take long for Britain to give Transjordan aka the East Bank of the Jordan to the Hashemites, from Saudi Arabia. They financially and diplomatically supported their new/fake/pet country for decades.
The inevitable is starting to happen. There are serious cracks in the Hashemite Kingdom. There’s a limit how long foreigners can rule.
For the last two years, Jordan has been witnessing regular protests calling for reform, with some demanding the king give up his powers. On November 15, 2012, massive protests broke out in Jordan after the Jordanian government, in compliance with the requirements of the International Monetary Fund, raised fuel prices. Protests, as The Independent noted, swept the country, “with most chanting for toppling the regime” despite the fact that protesters had previously “rarely targeted the king himself.”
For the first time, the Palestinians engaged fully in the protests; As Al-Jazeera reported, Palestinians, including those from refugee camps, have been fully involved, calling for toppling the regime in most of their major residential areas, including the Al-Baqqa refugee camp, the Al-Hussein refugee camp, close to downtown Amman, Douar Firas, Jabal Al-Nuzha, and the Hitteen refugee camp. [Mudar Zahran, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013]
And there’s also a limit how long a country without any real history, common culture etc can stay united and peaceful. The land was pretty empty when Britain invented Jordan. It was easy to give it to the Hashemites, because there had never been more than nomads, villages and towns. There was no regional culture. There had never been an independent country based only in that part of the work. It had been part of the Biblical Jewish Kingdoms, from the time of Joshua, which even predates the kings. Two and a half Jewish tribes lived there, their capital being Shiloh and later Jerusalem.
Anarchy on the other side of the Jordan, visible from my home in Shiloh, will probably last quite a while. Actually, Israel is usually safer when Arabs fight each other. The only thing that unites them is their aim to destroy the State of Israel and murder/terrorize Jews. Let them continue to fight each other.
Canadian Military in Jordan for Exercise Amid Reports Assad’s Forces in Syria on Verge of Breakthrough:Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News June 10, 2013—Canada is one of 19 countries participating in a major military exercise in Jordan that is taking place amid reports government forces in neighbouring Syria are on the verge of a breakthrough against rebel forces.
Jordan’s Secular Opposition: Plan B for Jordan: Mudar Zahran, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013—For the last two years, Jordan has been witnessing regular protests calling for reform, with some demanding the king give up his powers. On November 15, 2012, massive protests broke out in Jordan after the Jordanian government, in compliance with the requirements of the International Monetary Fund, raised fuel prices.
Jordan Threatens to Expel Syrian Envoy: Jerusalem Post, June 7, 2013—US ally Jordan threatened on Thursday to expel Syria's ambassador, after he warned the kingdom Syrian missiles could be used against Patriot batteries due to be deployed soon along their border.
The Agreement on Jerusalem between the Palestinian Authority and Jordan: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, Apr. 4, 2013—On March 31, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), in his role as leader of the PLO, president of the state of Palestine, and chairman of the Palestinian Authority, signed an agreement on the safeguarding of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and its holy places with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
Jordan’s Syria Problem: Nicolas Pelham, New York Review of Books, Jan. 10, 2013—While Jordan’s own secular monarchy contends with hundreds of thousands of newly arrived Syrian refugees, it is fearful that the conflict is also creating a powerful cause for its own restless Islamists.
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