Is Jordan In The Middle Of A Coup?

ArabNN is reporting that the rumors surrounding the disappearance of Jordan’s King are picking up steam as even Eddie Cohen of the Jerusalem Post appears to be confirming them.

Jordanian Opposition Leader Mudar Zahran has been agitating for full Palestinian rights in Jordan. 80 percent of Jordan’s populace are Palestinian Arabs and yet the King and his clan, along with the Muslim Brotherhood have essentially monopolized the country’s wealth and disenfranchised the majority of the populace. There has been growing discontent over the last year and calls for overthrowing the monarchy have grown.

“Jordan is facing unprecedented financial turmoil and COVID 19 death toll is rising at a staggering rate,” Jordanian Opposition Coalition (JOC) Leader Mudar Zahran said. “The ruling Hashemite family has systematically destroyed the country, and because no one has seen him in days, many are now asking: “Where’s Waldo?”

“Abdullah is clearly missing in action, and over 9 million Jordanians are searching for Waldo,” Zahran continued. “One thing is certain, he is running away from his duties, he brought this economic distress upon us, he lied to Jordanians juts three months ago telling them Jordan was almost COVID19 free, and now he left Jordanians to face their fate, while he is refusing to face the music.”

Intelligence website JAFAJ states the following:

“While the king’s whereabouts and conditions remain a mystery, Uncle Hassan has been frantically trying to fill the vacuum left by Abdullah’s absence, while drumming up political support.”

How Does Jordanian Uncertainty Affect Israel

Israel has spent years propping up the Hashemite family in Jordan, to the point where despite King Abdullah’s partnership with Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, Israel still includes the monarchy in its security umbrella.

The thought has always been that despite the King’s two-faced policy, his “Kingdom” was necessary to provide a buffer to first protect against Iraq and then later Iran. Yet, with the recent deal between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, as well as the growing possibility of Saudi Arabia, Jordan’s Monarchy has become a liability.

Is Saudi Arabia Helping To Depose the “Royal Family?”

There has been a long standing feud between the Hashemite and Saudi royal families dating back to when the Hashemites lived in what is now Saudi Arabia. The British placated the Hashemites by giving them what is today Jordan, leaving the Saudis in charge of the Arabian peninsula. Both dynasties have laid claim to being descended from Muhammed and both Kingdoms claim custodian over major shrines special to Islam. In Jordan’s case they control the management of the Temple Mount, which is within Israel’s security apparatus and sovereignty.

The last point is important and must be taken into account onto why Saudi Arabia sees the need to finally depose the Hashemites once and for all. The Hashemite claim to leadership of the Islamic world is essentially a farce. It resets on the fact that after 1967 the Israeli government was weak and allowed the Waqf to remain in charge. Thats it. Thats the whole claim King Abduallah and his family have.

The Saudis control Mecca and Medina, the two holist sites in Islam. They are a power player in the Middle East and see themselves as the rightful leaders of the Muslim world. Most of the world regards them that way as well.

So what is their interest in toppling the Jordanian Monarchy?

Simply put – peace.

With 80 percent of the Jordanian population made up of Palestinians and these Palestinians needing a State, the Saudis can ink a final deal between a Palestinian Jordan and Israel while signing a peace agreement themselves with the Jewish State. The Saudis would see their family replacing the Waqf as custodians of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa and do away with a wannabe king who finds the Muslim Brotherhood in direct contravention of both American policy and Saudi interests.

So is Jordan’s King now on the way out? If he is, the Saudis are the most probable reason why – and that is a good thing for Israel and peace in the Middle East.

Jordanians Have Spoken – The Muslim Brotherhood Is Out, Is The King Next?

Israel has always put up with the King of Jordan’s addiction to the Muslim Brotherhood. After all, the King has served the Israeli government’s interest by providing a sort of known quantity on its Eastern border. True, he supports repressive laws in his country, a form of Apartheid against Palestinians living there and he cozies up to anti-semites around the Middle East.

Israel put up with the King’s hatred of the Jewish people and their right to Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, because until this summer Jordan and Egypt represented the only Arab states that were willing to make peace with the Jewish State.

With the UAE and Bahrain signing the Abraham Accord, Jordan’s King no longer has a use for Israel nor the Gulf States. In fact, his long standing pact with the Muslim Brotherhood may in fact be the very reason none of the Sunni Gulf States want to put up with him anymore.

This is why the recent elections in Jordan were such a blow to the King and his Islamicist partners.

Abed AlMaala, deputy secretary general of the Jordanian opposition said: “In Jordan, 3 things are clear. First, the King has placed himself above the Constitution, so he can do what he wants. Second, he appoints both the Prime Minister and all the members of the Upper House of Parliament. Finally, no one can run for office of any type without the king’s permission. Usually this means swearing allegiance and paying a hefty fee (bribe) to be on the ballot. Once on the ballot, it is almost assured that you will win, because it implies that the king has blessed your candidacy.”

For years now, there has been a growing grassroots movement opposing the Hashemite Royal Family. As the average Jordanian has seen a steep decline in his finances and quality of life, the animosity between the masses and the regime has grown.

In order to hold back the citizenry, the King has instituted repressive measures, but now they are in fact beginning to falter as well.

If the King cannot stablize his Kingdom, Israel may see its Eastern neighbor enter the type of chaos it was worried about to its North. Then again, with the UAE and Bahrain, it may be high time that the King is shown the door anyway. It is kind of hard to distract your citizens by blaming their lot on Israel when the UAE and Bahrain, both very successful see things quite differently.

Instability in Jordan: The impact on Trump’s “Ultimate Deal”

“Jordan sees largest anti-government protests in years” “Al  Jazeera ”, June 4,2018.

 “Jordanians take to the streets to protest austerity measures” CNN, June 4, 2018

“Jordan: thousands protest against IMF-backed austerity measures”,  -“The Guardian , June 3, 2018

These are  merely a small sample of the international media coverage of the  wide spread unrest and protests against new IMF mandated austerity measures, that rocked the kingdom of Jordan  last month. They raised troubling questions as to the long term durability of the country’s incumbent monarchical regime and of the ruling Hashemite dynasty.

Jury still out?

In response to public anger at the austerity measures, King Abdallah, the third member of the Hashemite line to rule Jordan since its inception in 1946, replaced his prime minster and ordered a review of the IMF prescribed reforms.

The jury is still out on whether these steps will placate public anger—and if so for how long. For, with persistently high unemployment (now hovering just under 20%), a national debt reaching 95% , rising inflation (the highest in years), sluggish growth and increasing poverty, Jordan faces daunting domestic socio-economic challenges.

However, beyond its own internal woes, the kingdom has been plagued by severe external problems  induced by the tribulations of others in the turbulent region in which it is located. Thus, the war in Syria–and earlier in Iraq– led to a deluge of refugees into the hapless country—straining its social services to their very limits.

None of this augurs well for future stability—and even if reports that most of the public ire has been directed at the government rather than the king are true—there seems scant room for optimism as to what is to come.

Crucial strategic terrain

One of the possible repercussions of the challenge to the stability of the Hashemite regime, that has received meager attention in the public discourse, is the potential impact that political upheaval in Jordan may have on the feasibility of Donald Trump’s “ultimate deal” Mid-East peace plan which is rumored to be announced soon.

This is particularly pertinent with regard to the practicality and prudence of any territorial concessions this plan may call on Israel to make. After all, the identity of a prospective successor to the current incumbent regime in Amman is of tremendous consequence to Israel.

In the past, I have been at pains to convey, as graphically as possible, the crucial strategic significance of the territory designated for any envisioned Palestinian state—whatever its precise geographical parameters—have for Israel (see for example, here and here).

For the most part, this territory comprises limestone hills, that rise above Israel’s heavily populated coastal plain, and totally dominate the country’s major population centers (where around 80% of the civilian population resides and 80% of Israel’s commercial activity takes place).

Crucial terrain  (Cont.)

The same is true for a large portion of Israel’s vital infrastructure systems and installations (military and civilian) – including many of the country’s military airfields, IDF bases and its only international airport, Ben Gurion; its major seaports and naval bases; much of its principle transportation axes (road and rail); important desalination plants and water conveyance systems; power generating facilities; as well as crucial centers of civilian government and military command.

All of these would be in range of cheap, primitive weapons, readily available to renegade non-state actors (read “radical terror groups”)—of the kind already being used against Israel from territories relinquished by Israel in the past—who could at will disrupt Israel’s ability to maintain any semblance of socio-economic routine in the heart of the country. Clearly, such weapons could be used from any territory to relinquished in the future, with or without the tacit approval of any potential Palestinian “peace partner”

Back to the Trump plan: It is portions of this strategically vital territory Israel may be called on to yield.

Jordan is immediately adjacent to this territory from the east. It is separated from it by only by the Jordan Valley, whose steep slope constitute a formidable topographical barrier between the Hashemite monarchy and the strategic highlands of Judea-Samaria, making the Valley itself a vital military asset.

Back to the “Ultimate Deal”

Clearly then,, for Israel, who controls Jordan  is a matter of critical importance—especially in light of the grim experience of the “Arab Spring”.

Indeed, despite all the grievances Israel may have regarding the repeated displays of diplomatic animosity by the current Jordanian regime, its seems highly implausible that any successor regime is likely to be more amicable. Quite the opposite. Barring some unforeseen development, pundits would generally agree that the most likely candidates to take over the reins of power are extreme Islamist elements, who would be more radical and more inimical to Israel by far.

Accordingly, when weighing any territorial concessions, it matters hugely whether Jordan is governed by a relatively moderate pro-western monarch or by an extremist Jihadist regime—whose territorial reach  extends from the Jordan River to the western fringes of Iraq.

Putting aside for the moment the weighty question of whether any Palestinian interlocutor can be trusted to honor any deal struck with him, it is clear that in the latter case, territorial concessions are likely to be far more perilous than in the former. After all, the territory conceded will be far more accessible to hostile anti-Israel elements and far more susceptible to incendiary incitement from Jihadi elements.

Planning for “the day after”….

For Israel, then, strategic prudence dictates that its working assumption must be that the Hashemite regime has a limited “shelf life”.

The forces of instability in Jordan are beyond Israel’s control, and although it might be able to attenuate them in the margins, it cannot determine their eventual outcome—or who will seize, or sustain, command of the country.

So, whatever advantages might be entailed in the continued rule of Abdallah,

Israel must prepare for “the day after” and tailor its ability to accede any territorial concessions in the Trump peace plan accordingly.

Why is Trump Pushing Peace when War Seems more Likely?

With Russia supporting  a Syrian-Hezbollah-Iranian attack on rebel positions in Daraa, putting them in striking position of northern Israel and Gaza continuing to heat up, literally, the USA has placed extra emphasis on its alliance with Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said the following in yesterday’s cabinet meeting:

“Over the weekend I had two important meetings with Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. We discussed the diplomatic process and regional issues, and there was special focus on the situation in Gaza. I must say that there was absolute support for our positions and our actions to ensure the security of the State of Israel and its citizens in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, which was expressed publicly by the American administration’s envoys. The issue also came up of how it might be possible to resolve the humanitarian problem in Gaza without strengthening Hamas. These matters are clear – first of all how to ensure security and how to prevent a broader flare-up, if it is at all possible. I expressed great appreciation for President Trump, Secretary of State Pompeo and of course for Ambassador Haley for the continual and strong support at the UN, which is very impressive.”

Given the tension rising in the region it is hard to understand why President Trump is still placing an emphasis on Middle East Peace.  The President met with Jordan’s King Hussein yesterday at the White House while Kushner and Greenblatt were speaking with Netanyahu just days earlier. With the proverbial noose tightening around both countries, why is the administration focusing on something that seems so far away?

Jordan is Cornered, Will they Fold?

The administration’s peace plan is done and like the Palestinian Authority has hinted, they are not included.  President Trump’s style is to apply maximum pressure to the side who is most obstinant.  In this case, it is Jordan, or let’s say Jordan’s King.

The Hashemite’s rule over its population, which is 80% Palestinian is tenuous.  In fact he relies almost entirely on US and Israeli security to keep safe. Now the Saudis and Gulf States have decided to prop up Jordan’s economy. With years of playing both sides, President Trump has decided to call the king of Jordan out.

With Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria closing in and the Palestinians in Jordan threatening a real revolt, Trump has the leverage he needs to force Jordan to accept the USA’s peace plan. Of course, that would mean an end to the Palestinian Authority with Jordan taking responsibility for those residents in 40% of Judea and Samaria that identify as Palestinian.

President Trump wants to use the external pressures of Iranian hegemony to force Jordan to accept it real role as “Palestine.”

2 Palestines and One Greater Israel

The plan that has seemingly been accepted within the Trump Administration is the breaking apart of the Oslo Peace narrative of the last 25 years. With Gaza, essentially independent, it has become a defacto Palestine. It has a government and is in charge of its own security and yes, very contiguous. Jordan will take over responsibility for areas A and B in Judea and Samaria and retain their custodial rights over Islamic religious sites in Jerusalem.  Israel will annex area C.

This is the plan that appears to be on the table and this is precisely why Jordan is so nervous about it. King Hussein has refrained from giving any credence that he already rules over Palestine.  Afterall, it is his rule which is artificial and if he agrees to Trump’s plan without any security and economic guarantees he will be risking his own neck with nothing in return.

President’s Trump’s emphasis on pushing a peace plan at this time is part of his larger strategy in using the rising tensions of war to force those leaders to come to the table.

Is Trump Preparing to Slay the Palestinian Fairy Tale?

With rumors flying that President Trump is readying the release of his long awaiting Israel-Palestinian peace plan, obersvers have noted the non-commitment there still is to the two-state paradigm.  Trump Assistant Victoria Coates can be heard below  insisting that the administration “is not committed to the two-state formul” and explains that it means “whatever the sides want.”

So what is Trump planning to release?

Given the recent events surrounding his decertification of the Iran deal, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, the Gaza riots, as well the Palestinian Authorities response to all of this, it would seem improbable that Trump is banking on the kleptocracy and mafia of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah to be able to commit to a peace plan.

With all of the noise in the past week there has been one country conspicuously quiet and that is Jordan. The fact is, Trump’s non-committal to a two-state paradigm appears to be setting the stage for the only real solution to the Israel-Palestinian conundrum and that is the “Jordan is Palestine” model with some tweaks.

The original Palestinian Mandate was made up what is today Israel (both pre 1967 and post 1967) and Jordan.  While the Balfour declaration said that the Jews deserved a homeland in Palestine clearly meaning both sides of the Jordan River, the British ended up splitting the Mandate in two along the Jordan River (although originally it as supposed to be 10 km East of the Jordan River).  The East side became Trans Jordan and was given to the Hashemites in 1922 as a reward for their help during World War One.  The Hashemites were originally from Mecca and were chased out by the House of Saud.

In 1922, Abdullah, the emir and soon to be King of (Trans) Jordan was placed in power over a people not his own and effectively came to rule a majority population of Palestinian Arabs. Jordan today is a shaky monarchy having need to keep the Palestinian population from gaining too much power in order to survive.  This is why the current King Abdullah often uses Israel as a scapegoat to hide his own policies.  This strategy is no longer working.

Trump’s plan appears to be in favor of some sort confederation between the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan as a Palestinian entity and an autonomous area in most of Areas A and B in Judea and Samaria. Area C would be retained by Israel.   When it comes to Jerusalem the current situation appears to be the best way to make all sides happy.  Jordan would still hold onto its custodial rights over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem and Israel would retain security control.

Essentially a combination of the Jordan is Palestine model and Naftali Bennett’s plan seen below. The difference being Jordan would control A and B as noted above, while Bennett leaves it in the hands of the Palestinian Authority.

Why do I think this is the plan?  Because Trump wants a deal and yet he wants a deal that works.  Relying on the Palestinian Authority to sign or even uphod a deal is pointless. Doing so would destablize both Israel and Jordan. By basing his deal on the peace deal already agreed to by Israel and Jordan, Trump would effectively be ending the Palestinian-Israel conflict simply by recognizing history and reality.

So if this plan makes sense, why hasn’t it been tried before? The answer lies with the King of Jordan.  Up until now he has always used the Palestinian issue as a distraction. The King fears that an acceptance of the “Jordan is Palestine” model would effectively doom his regime in a rapid fashion.

The Trump team appears to understand that and is perhaps readying some sort of carrot for the royal family. It remains to be seen what that is

[WATCH] Jordan’s King is Beginning to Feel the Heat

Below is a series of videos put together by the Jordanian Opposition Coalition which is led by Mudar Zahran.  They were filmed from inside Jordan showing a growing protest movement from ordinary Jordanians against their king and his family.

A majority of Jordanians are Palestinianss, which has led many to believe that it is far better to focus on making Jordan Palestine. If the protests continue to gain steam then it is reasonable to assume that the next ruler of Jordan may very well be a Palestinian, thus ending the conflict once and for all with Israel.

ABDULLAH FALLING: Making Jordan a True Ally of the USA and Israel

Today, I spent several minutes reading an article by Caroline Glick, an Israeli writer on Middle Eastern matters. In doing so, I found myself encouraged to write this content. I am not necessarily trying to respond to Caroline, but to try to present an extended argument from a Jordanian Citizen who was forced to leave his country.  I fled because of what I faced as a result of the ruling of the Royal Regime in Jordan that has led Jordan towards backwardness.

First, Caroline thoroughly presented her arguments regarding the actions of Abdullah towards Israel and the US. She succeeded in analyzing the actions of Abdullah and his strategy. I have to admit, I never expected a Jewish writer to present a good level of understanding to the situation as what Caroline did, however, her conclusions about Abdullah seemed to me that she is more inclined to accept the fact that Abdullah is adopting a double-faced policy, that is, to be friendly with the US and Israel in their face then backstabbing them, because he is trying to appease his hostile people who are anti-Israel and America.

As a Jordanian citizen, I find myself in need of elaborating on some facts, for example, Caroline mentioned that the Israeli Government agreed to pay 5 million JDs to Jordan as a compensation of the Embassy Accident. I have read this headline on the Jordanian Media that is controlled by the King, and the media said that they got this news based on a source from the Jordanian Government that indicated that these funds would go for the victims’ families. The Jordanian media also said that the Israeli Diplomat would be legally followed in Israel as part of the agreement of both the Jordanian and Israeli Governments.

This was actually a surprise to me and other Jordanians, because we personally believe that releasing a fund like that in a democratic country like Israel will need the consent of the Israeli Government, also, the Israeli Prime Minister stated clearly that the damage would not go for the families of the victims. Moreover, the Israeli sources said that these funds would go for reparation of the Embassy after the accident. Another fact to note here is that not all the three victims were actually from the Embassy accident, as there is one victim who was a Judge that was killed in a controversial accident few years ago. It is worth mentioning that Abdullah visited the victims’ families of the Israeli Embassy Accident and one of the families was showed on an interview where they cursed Jews clearly after the accident before Abdullah paid them a condolence visit.

I grew up in Jordan, and since we were in schools, our Jordanian curricula indoctrinated us against Israel. At the same time, these curricula built the students on the blind loyalty to the King who rules an absolute undemocratic Monarchy.

The Hashemite Regime has been ruling by fear more than by loyalty because Jordan was under martial laws for a long time before 1989 when the late King Hussein abolished those laws and called for Parliament elections. It is important to understand that the Jordanians have been for long decades indoctrinated by what the Regime wanted them to receive, because democracy does not exist when the people want to disagree with the ruling King.

One aspect of the blind obedience based on fear and a result of indoctrination was clearly shown in the recent unrest that was ignited by the Regime itself after the US President Donald Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. A week later, the unelected Jordanian Government that is assigned completely by the King called the people to protest against Trump’s decision, the demonstrations on the streets were led not only by ministers and MPs, but the King’s daughter Princess Salma herself led one protest.

During those protests, one could have heard slogans calling for armed struggle against Israel, and cheers for Palestinian Militias like Hamas. This did not stop here. In a tweet from his account dated on the 8th December, 2017, the King himself tweeted a cheer for those protests in Jordan that his Regime called for and are still running on daily basis outside the US Embassy. While his Palestinian wife Rania did also cheer for what she called Palestinian Martyrs who were killed by Israel on the 9th December from her twitter account, in a similar language that was used by Yasser Arafat who used to laud what he called “Martyrs” of Israeli attacks.

On the other hand, An example of punishment for disagreeing with the king happens when Jordanians try to adopt a different ideology than what the King wants them to follow, no matter how liberal this ideology can be. I believe even Caroline knows this, if a Jordanian visits Israel he will be demonized severely in the society. If he is a business owner, his business will be targeted. If he is an MP, he would face memos to deselect him by his MP colleges. If he is a normal person from a tribe, he will find his image published on all the Jordanian Media in a bad way so that he can get racked in the society.

The Regime that has signed a peace treaty with Israel, and one of the acts of that treaty calls for ending the hostility not only between governments, but between the people, and to encourage normalization between both nations. However, this Jordanian Regime is not banning or holding responsibility on these media or the organizations that target and terrorize these individuals who normalize with Israel, and not even trying to protect the victims of such hostile actions.

When political analysts look at this strategy, one would find that it is the same strategy that has been deployed by the Jordanian Regime to secure its existence.  The strategy is simply to play the bad alternative game, so that the Hashemites can stay as the only game players in Jordan.  Any dismissal of their Regime could mean a demon in charge. Consequently, the gates of hell would be opened on Israel and the borders would no longer be safe.

Unfortunately, this hype of fear has always got into Israeli and Western decision makers minds, however, the actual facts in Jordan and how the country is ruled could post a definite challenge to this traditional look that the Regime has built over decades.

If you look at Egypt for example, during Mubarak Era, the same hype was sold to the West, that is, if his Regime falls, the Muslims Brotherhood will take charge and will wage Jihad on Israel, during the one-year tenure of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi the Egyptian/Israeli Peace Treaty was maintained, and the borders were secure, because any Egyptian Politician understands the cost of a war or hostility with Israel on both his country and the Region, when Sisi took over, the situation did not deteriorate, in fact it improved for Israel and the US as he barred the Muslims Brotherhood Party from Egypt, which was a main source of instigation towards hostility against Israel.

In Jordan, the situation is more severe to forbid any Political animosity against Israel than any other country in the Region. Jordan is dependent on Israel for its water resources, as Jordan is classified as the second top poorest country in water resources around the world, no matter how rich the country is, water is priceless. The country receives aid from the US on annual basis because the Jordanian Regime is banning Jordanians from extracting their lands resources like oil, and this in itself is another story because the Regime wants to keep Jordanians economically dependent on the king’s doles so that he can secure another reason for loyalty and obedience, but going to the point, the US aids assist the annual budget and they are vital to Jordan to secure the public funds.

The most important aspect in the American Jordanian Relation is that the US has secured more than close relations with the Jordanian Army and Intelligence.  In fact, the US has influence on both parties. These two institutions are the ones that are keeping the King in power. This King who travels outside the country most of his time during the year, which actually makes him a Part Time Leader in Jordan. Most importantly, it makes him irrelevant in any stability equation in the country.

Does all the preceding mean that overthrowing Abdullah would finally open the gates of heaven for Israel? The answer is not immediately, but it will help improving the situation for Israel and Jordan. The reason is that the Jordanians are fed up with the King and his Regime’s Economic Policy, and in the recent years their fear from criticizing the Regime has started to vanish, because a poor and a hungry man will not have fear anymore. So a new leadership will be welcome not to wage wars, but to help overcoming the Economic struggles that the Jordanians were put through as a result of the corruption of Abdullah and his Regime. Our people want food and want to live better lives, however, under Abdullah, the GDP Per Capita in Jordan has slumped to become less than many regional countries. This is while the unemployment in Jordan has hit unprecedented ranges. Some sad stories about Jordanians looking for food in trash bins are circulated from time to time. Other sorrows of Jordanians setting themselves on fire because of poverty, on the same time, Abdullah and his wife are enjoying a lavishing life and have become multi billionaires according to reports, all of this at the expense of the Jordanian taxpayers. So, a new leadership will be met with optimism to tackle these challenges that are the top priorities of the Jordanians, and definitely not wars against Israel.

Abdullah has always taken Israel as a tool to transfer his problems to, during the past month, his Regime went through a tough time to pass the 2018 Budget that was based on raising the prices of bread and many essential goods. The people were and still frustrated and angry about Abdullah and his Regime, so he took the smart trick to transfer his people anger towards Israel and the US. He benefited from Trump’s Decision on the Embassy to indoctrinate his people against Israel and to forget their economic hardships as part of their Jihad Obligation, Abdullah Regime ordered Imams at Mosques to continue preaching about Israel during the past month. This is based on orders from the Ministry of Religious Affairs that control the topics of Fridays Sermons at Mosques.  All the Mosques are obligated to follow these instructions.

Abdullah also used to turn the compass towards Israel on many occasions when his regime was in trouble. He would order his people who guard Al-Aqsa Mosque (based on his Hashemite guardianship on Holy sites) to let the attendants smuggle some weapons with them inside the mosque under the excuse of defending Al-Aqsa. This is so they can provoke Israeli Soldiers response and create unrest in order to escalate so that his Regime Agents in Jordan can use it to sway the Jordanians towards hostility against Israel The result are protests outside the Israeli Embassy and other places to forget Abdullah ill-administration of their public government and funds.

It is also important to understand that the new generation of Jordanians are not interested in wars anymore, unlike the media that Abdullah is trying to spread, the new generations are becoming more mind liberated from the past heritage, so I just wonder about Pew Research that Caroline referred to that was conducted years ago on Jordanians and showed that 100% of Jordanians hate Jews. As a researcher, I think a 100% is definitely demonizing to any society, and here I am, a Jordanian atheist who has many Jewish friends and I do not hate Jews, many in Jordan whom I know are also liberals and not against Jews or Israel, but their voices cannot be raised because of the lack of protection from the Regime to them.

The question I was asking myself when reading Caroline suggestions about taming Abdullah so that he can lead a social development change among his people to liberate their behavior towards Israel and the US. Does this actually serve him or his Regime Agenda, especially when the Hashemites have always based their existence on the hype of being the best option for Jordan? I believe the answer is clearly no. However, Abdullah would try to manipulate the western world with a different tactic now. This is to create a leftist or semi secular front in Jordan to claim that his Regime is supporting liberals and to market it to the west.  This is actually happening now, as in the last Parliament Elections in Jordan in 2016 when the Abdullah Regime supported a list called ‘Maan’ meaning “Together.” This list raised the slogan of the civilian state, and to confront the people who try to mix religion with politics. So far so good, but the political principles for this list were clearly calling to stand against Israel and the normalization with Israel! This list was supported by the former Advisor of Abdullah Marwan Muasher who was also a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and a VP for Carnegie Endowment of Peace. A few days ago this list has developed into a political party that is called the Civilian Coalition. They conducted their opening conference with the attendance of Muasher and Maan List MP. The Principles of this party that were repeated inside the conference did not only call to work against Israel and normalization with Israel, but some of this party members spoke for liberation of Palestine from the River to the Sea (Meaning to demolish Israel as a whole). Now Abdullah can market this party to the west as an evidence that he is encouraging Anti-Islamic Parties. This is a proof that even the semi secular productions of this Regime are not working either.

A new Jordanian leadership even if it becomes an Islamist in the worst-case scenario like what happened in Egypt, won’t stand for long and will soon find itself with limited options if it tried to escalate the situation with Israel. Moreover, changes scenarios can include even a military based rule for a temporary period where these illegitimate Political Islamist Groups can be barred so that any coming elections would bring moderates into power. This could be similar to Ataturk or Sisi Approaches but with much modern and bespoke application.

As mentioned, recently the frustration has been building up with Jordanians against the king due to many factors, most importantly the poverty, unemployment, and the repression of this regime to speech freedom, any expert on Jordan cannot be optimistic enough to believe that Abdullah will stay in power for long. The question is, will the US and Israel leave this change uncontrolled because they want to keep their bargain on a man who has become a source of frustration to many of his people or will they embrace the reality and try to deal in advance with the inevitable change?

Jordan’s King Abdullah Disrespects America — Because He Can


Vice President Mike Pence met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan on Sunday and praised the U.S.-Jordan alliance. In particular, Pence applauded Jordan’s role in the campaign that defeated the Islamic State caliphate in Syria and Jordan.

Abdullah was less enthusiastic.

Sitting next to Pence, Abdullah reinstated his outspoken opposition to President Donald Trump’s December 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and committing the U.S. to moving its embassy to Jerusalem, in accordance with U.S. law.

Last month, Abdullah attacked Trump’s move and referred to it as “null and void.” In the weeks that followed Trump’s December 6 announcement, Abdullah went to Europe to lobby European governments to oppose the American move.

At least in part as a result of Abdullah’s lobbying efforts, U.S. allies like Britain and France were among the 178 nations, including Jordan, that voted on December 21 for the U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning America for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Sitting with Pence Sunday, Abdullah said, “Today we have a major challenge to overcome, especially with some of the rising frustrations” in the wake of Trump’s move on Jerusalem.

He said the goal of Pence’s trip must be “to rebuild trust and confidence” in America’s commitment to establishing a Palestinian state.

The most notable aspect of Abdullah’s role in the campaign to castigate Trump’s policy towards Jerusalem is that he owes his regime’s survival to the U.S. and Israel.

The U.S. provides Jordan with more than $1.5 billion a year in military and civilian aid. The Trump administration has pledged to maintain aid levels in 2018.

As Jordan expert David Schenker noted in a briefing last September, Jordan is one of the poorest states in the Arab world. Only a quarter of its adult population is gainfully employed.

Israel ensures the regime’s survival by providing Jordan with water and natural gas.

There are more than 2,800 U.S. troops in Jordan. U.S. forces in Jordan use the kingdom as a base for anti-ISIS operations in Syria and Iraq. They are also tasked with protecting Abdullah’s regime.

Pence’s forbearance of Abdullah’s slights Sunday was in keeping with America’s consistent tolerance for Abdullah’s deeply problematic behavior.

On July 23, 2017, a Jordanian terrorist in Amman tried to stab Ziv Moyal, an Israeli embassy officer, with a screwdriver in Moyal’s apartment adjacent to the Israeli embassy compound. Moyal shot and killed his assailant. He also killed his landlord, who was present at the scene.

Moyal quickly sought refuge at the Israeli embassy. Within moments, all of Israel’s diplomats had converged there to avoid revenge attacks and to evacuate to Israel for safety.

Wild press reports claiming that Moyal had murdered two Jordanians in cold blood brought angry anti-Israel rioters into the streets. Protesters quickly surrounded the embassy compound, and effectively held Israel’s diplomats, including Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Einat Schlein, hostage.

Under international law, Abdullah was obliged to protect the diplomats. But he refused, for nearly 24 hours.

A few days before the event, Muslim terrorists at the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem murdered three Israeli policemen. Israel responded by installing metal detectors at the entrance to the mosques to make it more difficult for worshippers to smuggle weapons inside the mosques.

Jordan serves as the Islamic administrator of the mosques on the Temple Mount. Rather than support Israel’s move, Abdullah condemned it.

But with Israel’s diplomats in danger, the Trump administration cut a deal with Abdullah to save them. In exchange for an Israeli pledge to remove the metal detectors at the Temple Mount, Abdullah sent his military forces to the embassy to extract the diplomats and enable them to cross the border to Israel.

In other words, to save the lives of Israel’s diplomats, the Trump administration convinced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make concessions to Jordan, which directly benefited terrorists like the ones who murdered the Israeli police officers.

Israel hoped that once the mob had dispersed, Abdullah would allow its diplomats to return and resume normal operations at its embassy, in conformity with the terms of its peace treaty with Jordan. But Abdullah would have none of it.

Abdullah insisted first that Israel replace Ambassador Schlein. Netanyahu finally agreed to replace the senior diplomat in late November. But then Abdullah ratcheted up his demands.

He insisted that Moyal be tried for murder, and that Israel apologize for the incident and compensate the families of the Jordanian landlord and Moyal’s assailant.

Over the weekend, the Jordanian media reported that Israel had accepted its demands. Israel reportedly agreed to pay millions of dollars in restitution to the families and officially apologized.

Netanyahu clarified that the government had “expressed regret” for the lives lost. A government source said Moyal will not be tried for any crime. Israel confirmed that it transferred $5 million to the Jordanian government.

Netanyahu thanked President Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and his chief negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, for closing the deal with Abdullah that will enable the Israeli embassy to reopen.

But Abdullah’s refusal to protect Israel’s diplomats was in line with his general support for anti-Israel terrorism.

In 2011, Israel freed more than a thousand convicted Palestinians terrorists to secure the freedom of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli army sergeant who had been held hostage by Hamas in Gaza for more than five years.

Among the terrorists Israel freed was Ahlam Tamimi.

Tamimi masterminded a suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in August 2001. Fifteen were killed in the attack, and seven of the dead were young children. Tamimi specifically chose the pizzeria as the target of the bombing because it was a popular place for parents with small children during summer vacation.

Two of her victims were U.S. citizens. One of the 122 people wounded in the attack was an American woman who has been in a vegetative state ever since.

Following her release, Tamimi moved to Amman, where she received a royal welcome from Abdullah’s regime. She was also given a television show. On air, Tamimi routinely calls on her viewers to follow her example and murder Israelis.

In January 2017, the FBI placed Tamimi on its most wanted list. The Department of Justice formally requested her extradition to stand trial for the murder and maiming of U.S. citizens.

Jordan signed an extradition treaty with the US in 1995. Last March, Jordan rejected the U.S. request for Tamimi, claiming the treaty was unratified. The power to ratify treaties in Jordan belongs to the King.

So just in the past ten years, Abdullah has rejected a U.S. extradition request, and has lobbied the Europeans to condemn Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He facilitated the siege of the Israeli embassy. He leveraged a hostage situation to undermine Israel’s counterterrorism efforts at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. He extorted blood money from Israel.

Yet rather than stand up to Abdullah, the Trump administration gives him a pass for everything.

And it has been right to do so.

Because it has no better option.

According to a 2014 Pew survey, 85 percent of Jordanians are anti-American. A 2006 Pew study found that 100 percent of Jordanians are anti-Jewish.

Abdullah and his Hashemite tribe are a minority among Jordan’s Bedouin tribes. And the Bedouin as a whole are a minority in Jordan where, according to the Congressional Research Service, Palestinians make up 55 to 70 percent of the population.

If Abdullah is overthrown, there is little likelihood that a successor regime will be pro-American.

With Abdullah in power, the U.S. is able to project its power from Jordan throughout the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. If the Pentagon concludes that it is necessary to close down its Air Operations Headquarters at Udeid air base in Doha, Qatar, Jordan could serve as the site of a replacement base.

None of this would likely be the case under a different regime. The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest political force in Jordan outside the regime.

So despite his double-dealing, the U.S. is better off supporting Abdullah than abandoning him.

This dismal situation is even more frustrating when you consider that Abdullah is arguably America’s most stable Arab ally.

And that’s the essence of the problem. America’s alliances in the Arab world are with regimes, not with nations. During his tenure in office, George W. Bush tried to overturn the equation with his democracy agenda. The devastating results of his strategy are still haunting the region and the U.S.

So long as majorities reject the values of liberal democracies generally, and hate the U.S. specifically, there is little chance of America leading a democratization movement that will result in anything positive. Minority regimes may make unreliable allies. But popularly elected regimes that embrace bigotry and reject the U.S. and democratic values will reliably be enemies.

In Abdullah’s case, while his dependence on the U.S. ensures his loyalty, his regime is inherently weak because he lacks popular support. To avoid widespread unrest, Abdullah proclaims and occasionally adopts extremist positions against Israel and the US and in favor of terrorists.

Abdullah benefits twice from his hostile policies. On the one hand, he keeps his opponents at bay by satisfying their anti-Americanism and hatred of Israel. On the other hand, by encouraging the public to hate America and Israel, he makes it less likely that any pro-American alternatives to his regime will emerge that could reduce U.S. and Israeli dependence on him personally.

To modify his behavior, the U.S. can and should demand that Abdullah bar anti-American and antisemitic incitement in his state-owned media. He should be required to extradite Tamimi to the U.S. and run programming explaining why she is a terrorist, not a hero.

Such steps can begin to move back the dial of anti-Americanism and antisemitism in Jordan, if only minimally.

Over time, such basic steps may diminish Abdullah’s perceived need to buy off the mob at his gates with pro-terror policies and reduce America’s need to accept his double-dealing, as Pence was forced to do on Sunday in Amman.

Originally Published in BREITBART.

Jordan, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood

The looming crisis between Qatar and several Gulf states came as a shock to many. Before that, the Gulf Cooperation Council was viewed as a club of rich and stable Arab regimes. Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia is now leading a push to punish Qatar through isolation. This hsa generated much media attention and ‘expert’ focus by pundits of the Middle East. Still none of those seems to have hit the core of the subject: This crisis is deeper than what anyone guesses and it will have an impact on the entire region, including Israel.

To begin with, the main cause of the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar could be summed up in three words: The Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Saudis wants the MB gone, so does UAE and Egypt. Nonetheless, Qatar and Jordan are both pro-MB and have invested too heavily in the Islamist group to let it go easily.

Some may be perplexed by the claim that Jordan’s regime supports the MB. Jordan and Qatar both provide support for the MB. Jordan’s royal family, the Hashemites, have been in a full alliance with MB since the 1950s. The MB were the ones who supported the kingdom’s founder, Emir Abdallah, in annexing the West Bank. They also stood with the Hashemites in 1970 during their civil war with the PLO. This fact has been confirmed by Jordan’s king himself in a 2013 interview with The Atlantic magazine.

Further, Jordan’s regime’s alliance with the MB is deeper than generally realized.

In November 2012, Jordan witnessed the largest Arab Spring-style revolution. One million took to the street demanding that the king steps down. Despite overwhelming popular sentiment, the MB openly stood against the revolution and said: “We will never allow the king to fall.” While the MB is banned in most Arab countries, in Jordan, they are registered as a charity, a political organization, and a private business. While the king bans  secularists and liberals for a mere tweet, the MB owns its licensed satellite TV network and daily paper in which they consistently preach terrorism and death to America and the Jews.

In fact, the entire knife-intifada concept was launched by MB journalist Yasser Zaatreh who wrote an article demanding all Palestinian stab Jews and in one of Jordan’s major daily which is partially owned by the Jordanian government itself in June of 2015.

The Jordan monarchy’s marriage with the MB resulted in a polygamous marriage with Qatar’s regime. Qatar is the main financier of the MB group not only in Jordan but the world. Jordan’s MB members control Qatar’s owned Aljazeera, the General Manager, Yasser Abu Helalah, is a Jordanian MB member, a known Jordanian intelligence operative, and an outspoken loyalist to Jordan’s king.

Further, Jordan and Qatar have been very close in coordinating their stance on Syria as well as Israel. Both have worked through their intelligence agencies and media to sustain and expand the unrest in Syria with the concept that the more the unrest persists the more both can get away with sustaining and empowering their instrumental tool: The MB. They want the civil war to go one, and that is why when President Trump attacked Syria with Cruse missiles, both Jordan’s and Qatar’s media were against the hit.

As for Israel, both Jordan’s and Qatar’s royals have played both ends against the middle. They have incited the region’s regimes and public against Israel, then behind the scenes telling the Israeli leadership they are the only people they can talk to, and at times, even claiming they both control the situation in Syria. “Israel cannot afford to ignore us, we hold the strings” as one Jordanian stateman has said in secret.

Under Obama, these tactics worked successfully for Qatar and Jordan. Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed Ben Salman, tried to convince Obama several times of the necessity to crack down on the MB and to designate it as a terror group. This only fell on Obama’s deaf ears.

But now, there is a new sheriff in town. From Day One President Trump was very clear in his stance on the MB and other terror groups stating, “We will wipe them from the face of the earth.”

I can confirm, from my Arab sources, that the Saudi-led move against Qatar came after talks with the US administration. Also, the move is not directed only towards Qatar, in fact, Jordan is on the US radar as the MB’s safe house. In fact, the MB’s HQ is only 4 miles away from the king’s palace.

Jordan’s regime has been trying to appease the Saudis in this fight, it downgraded its diplomatic representation with Qatar and closed Aljazeera’s office. This may fool some Western media, but not the Saudis. The king still won’t cut ties with Qatar and his very own intelligence officers are launching a relentless defamation camping through Aljazeera against Saudi Arabia and president Trump himself.

Both Qatar’s and Jordan’s state-controlled media are still claiming President Trump is on the verge of being impeached. Something Qatar’s Emir himself stated to his own official news agency, then claimed the agency was hacked and he never said those things. Google, on the other hand, confirmed Qatar’s News Agency was not hacked when it posted the Emir’s comments against both Trump and Saudi.

Further, a very well-connected Arab source confirmed to me that the US has already told Qatar: “Don’t expect any solutions before you drop the MB”.

Meanwhile, Qatar keeps hissing, fighting, and kicking. It cannot do this forever and it will have to give up the MB eventually. Once that happens, Jordan could face serious consequences, simply because “Jordan’s MB is a part of the Hashemite regime” as the king’s own Minister of Political Reform has said. Once the MB loses Qatar’s money and Aljazeera, the Jordanian regime itself will be further weakened and Jordan will be open to changes.

This crisis will have far-reaching outcomes and Jordan has already been influenced by it and will be the next place to watch for change if, or when, Qatar divorces the MB.

Change in Jordan, Easy, Cheap and Good for Everyone

Despite Israel’s desire to protect the Hashemite regime, and stay out of messy Arab internal politics, it is now public knowledge that the Israeli intelligence establishment believes that Jordan’s king’s fall is imminent, and Israeli officials have been whispering that in private for a while, desperately discussing ways to save king and keep him in power. Nonetheless, a well-calculated, carefully-ushered and engineered change in Jordan could pose a huge opportunity for US, Israel, our Jordanian people, and all of those who want peace.

No, we’re not seeking a total regime change in Jordan, in which the state itself is turned into nothingness, leaving a gap for Islamists to jump in and take over. That was Obama’s style at best, because Obama did not know better, or at worst, because he wanted the Islamists to take over.

The change we desire for Jordan will be simple: Seeing the already irrelevant king leave by a small and peaceful revolution that is protected by the army. The US does not and need not interfere, this will be an internal Jordanian affair. All the US should do is offer the king a safe exit while Jordan’s army and strong intelligence keep the country intact and the Islamists at bay. This was the case when Egyptians took to the streets against the Muslim Brotherhood, deposed Morsi and the army protected the people, and the outcome: Serendipity, and more secular and peaceful Egypt, under a strong and wonderful man, President Sisi. Worth-noting here, that Jordan’s king does not control the army or Jordan’s intelligence; therefore, he will leave in peace, the US, on the other hand, finances, trains and influences our army and intelligence and could help both secular and patriotic organizations to usher in a moderate interim government for Jordan.

The US and the region could obtain breakthrough advantages from change in Jordan. The first is destroying Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood. (MB). Jordan’s MB gets its power from the regime – so if the regime falls, the MB falls. Jordan’s own government believes this. This is important because Jordan’s MB is not just another terror group. The global MB HQ is based in Amman and controls Hamas and the global MB as well, especially Qatar’s. The US intelligence agencies are aware of this fact. If Jordan’s army -under US help and guidance- ushers in a secular anti-MB leader (like Egypt’s Sisi), that would be a major blow to the MB and the Western globalists forces who support them such as Soros.

The second advantage is ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; if a Palestinian-Jordanian leader becomes the head of Jordan’s interim government, and then Jordan’s president; this means that Jordanians from all backgrounds will have a home, and that 2.1 million Palestinians in Israel, all holding Jordanian passports, could find a place to call their state.

Next, once the king is out and his theft of public money stops, Jordan will become economically prosperous and attractive for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank itself. Meanwhile, Israel and the US should continue to apply pressure on the corrupt and terroristic Palestinian Authority, gradually putting them out of the business of killing our people, Israelis, and even other PLO figures. Defusing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be major blow to the globalists who have blackmailed the world for decades with it, and who remain united against President Trump and his advisor, Jared Kushner’s, effort to usher in real peace.

Another advantage is that a successful regime change in Jordan will put the region’s radical regimes on notice, Qatar for example. Those will need to end their hostility to Israel and to stop promoting radical Islamism, otherwise face the same music King Abdullah has. This also shall empower moderate regimes, and champions of change, such as the very pragmatic Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Ben Salman, and UAE’s Crown Prince, Mohammad Ben Zayed.

America’s deep and positive influence of Jordan’s army and security agencies means the country will remain safe during the transition, and so will its borders with Israel. In fact, it is this influence that keeps Jordan’s borders with Israel safe, and not the absentee landlord king who spends most of his time in Europe, with documented travel of 30 percent of the year, not counting his year-long private vacations. Basically, he is irrelevant to everything and anything in Jordan.

One a new interim leadership is in power, the first thing it should do is banning all Islamist groups, just like Sisi of Egypt did, and this will mean they won’t even have a chance of running for any public office, let alone for president.

Today, such positive change in Jordan will be embraced by several Arab governments who no-longer see Israel as an enemy and in fact would love to see an end to the expensive and obstructive conflict.

This sought change is the very reason my political party and I are proudly taking part in the Jordan Option Conference in Jerusalem in October.

The sweet music of change is playing loud, and we all better be listening.

Originally published in the Jewish Press.