Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Change coming to Jordan?

Mudar Zahran reports that change is likely coming to Jordan, but it's not likely to be democratic change.
Since the establishment of the Hashemite rule -- on the Eastern part of the British Mandate for Palestine in 1921 -- the Hashemites have been following the classic policy of divide and conquer by turning the Bedouin minority into their own army, and banning everyone else from joining.

This dependency on the rule of the minority worked out for the Hashemites when they occupied Judea and Samaria in 1948 and ruled the Palestinian population west of the Jordan River. It also served them well later, in 1970, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization was competing with King Hussein over who should rule Jordan.

The Hahsemites' doctrine of creating a loyal minority has resulted in the Palestinian majority being stripped of most of their basic rights and privileges, with the Bedouin meanwhile receiving massive benefits from the Jordanian state, such as free university education, exemption from most taxes, exemption from the high car tariffs, and at the same time being given generous land grants and lavish scholarships to Western graduate schools. This disparity has left the Palestinian majority somewhat miffed at the regime, and willing to replace it. This disparity has also turned the Hashemite regime into a virtual hostage to the Bedouin loyalists who control the army and the police, and who could topple the regime any time they wished.

Recently there have been signs that the Bedouin are no longer loyal to the Hashemites; they are seeking to rule Jordan on their own. On June 13th, when the King made a trip to the Southern Bedouin city of Tafillah, his motorcade was attacked by the local Bedouin, who threw stones and empty bottles on it. Although this incident was confirmed by a Jordanian official to the Jerusalem Post, and reported by the Agence France Presse, it was later denied by the Jordanian government's spokesperson, Tahir Edwan, who claimed that the stone throwers were just citizens stampeding to take a look at the king -- a claim similar to the recent one by Libya's Colonel Muammar Qaddafi to Christiane Amanpour that the people protesting against him were his followers rallying for support. Unconfirmed reports stated that the incident evolved into a standoff between the King's bodyguards and the usually heavily-armed Bedouin locals.
Deposing Abdullah would not necessarily be a bad thing - he has no more legitimacy than Bashar al-Assad, who controls his country in a similar way. The bigger problem is the Bedouin agenda.
The Bedouin who oppose the King are promoting an alarming agenda: to strip the Palestinian majority universally of their Jordanian citizenships and to end the peace treaty with Israel.

Since April 2010, Bedouin figures and senior retired army officers have been issuing public statements and open letters to the King, calling on him to de-naturalize the Palestinians and turn them into residents rather than citizens. They have also been calling for hostility against Israel, a plan that includes "ending the peace treaty with the Zionist entity" and "re-establishing Israel as an enemy state." Retired Bedouin army figures issued a statement in May openly demanding that the King establish serious ties with Hamas "as the one and only true representative of the Palestinian people."
This is a case where a strong US leader would encourage Abdullah to open the military to the 'Palestinian' majority in order to maintain his hold on power. But there isn't a strong US leader, and any attempt by Israel to encourage a move like that is bound to backfire. And so, the assumption is that sooner or later Abdullah will fall, and that the US and Israel need to be prepared for such an eventuality.

What could go wrong?

Labels: , , , ,


At 10:17 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

It wouldn't be a bad thing if Jordan was transformed into Palestine. That would change the conflict with Israel from an existential one into one about borders. The bad news is there will be no peace in our lifetime regardless of whether or not change comes to Jordan.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the Bedouins wish to 1) strip Palestinians of citizenship, 2) declare war with Israel ('xcuse, the "Zionist entity"), and 3) recognize Hamas as the representative of the Palestinian people. Would the next step, then, be to kick the Palestinians en masse across the Jordan river to take up residence in a Hamas-ruled "Palestine"?


Post a Comment

<< Home