I have a very close relationship to the author I expect to meet with him next week. Ted Belman
Israel has enjoyed calm borders with Jordan for over four decades. While Israel’s military superiority and alert borders guards are the main reasons for that, still, the Hashemite regime in Amman has managed to keep anti-Israel forces at bay, an advantage for which Israel has given much in return to Jordan’s king and his late father.
But will this arrangement remain the same with the tsunami of the Arab Spring? The facts on the ground suggest Jordan is anything but stable. Upon the king’s return from his recent visit to the US, tribal fights broke out in Ma’an, Jordan’s largest governorate in the area. Four people were killed in cold blood on the campus of Ma’an’s university and all hell broke loose. Now Ma’an residents are claiming “independence from the Hashemite regime”; videos leaked on YouTube and even appearing in Jordanian media show raging gun battles between Jordan’s army and tribal Jordanians in the south. The last police post was declared “liberated” by Ma’an’s locals on June 24.
Despite public calls “daring” the king to visit Ma’an to solve the matter, Abdullah visited Kerak, another troubled southern city in Jordan, 160 km. from Ma’an, two weeks ago.
Abdullah spoke in Kerak’s university, Mutah, where regular gun battles between students recently claimed the life of a sophomore.
In his speech, Abdullah said there were “those who try to claim that Jordan is going through unrest because of the tribes. That is not true! The tribes have always been a foundation of security.” Four days after his speech, gun battles broke out again on the very same campus.
At the same time protests right at the gates of his private palace became regular events, with people calling for him to step down.
The king’s troubles did not stop there. On June 22, Gazan Palestinian Muhammad Assaf won the Arab Idol reality television competition.
Jordan’s Palestinian majority took to the streets for days in massive numbers, waving Palestinian flags and kaffiyehs right under the noses of Jordanian police.
In the past, merely wearing a Palestinian kaffiyeh in Jordan could get you harassed by the police, and hanging a Palestinian flag on your car would get you imprisoned by the fearsome intelligence department.
Young Palestinian men were moreover seen all over Amman shooting their M-16 rifles in celebration. While it is common knowledge that Palestinians in Jordan have weapons just like their brothers on the other side of the river, they never showed them off before, nor were they ever able to show off their oppressed character right in the Hashemite regime’s face.
In short: the king’s formerly loyal “East Bankers” now want him out, and the Hashemite-despising Palestinians are not afraid to move against the king openly.
This means the king’s days might, indeed, be numbered.