As a Jordanian,
I cannot help but be perplexed by the way some Israeli journalists portray
Jordan as an island of calm amid the Arab Spring. That is very far from true;
Jordan is not calm at all.
Let’s do the math: Jordan started off the new
year with a man being beheaded –al-Qaida-style – before his children at his home
in downtown Amman. The motive for the cruel murder is still unknown. Jordan has
also had six running gun battles at five state universities.
Jordan’s interstate connecting Zarqa (east) to the rest of the world was closed
down by tribesmen protesting the king’s confiscation of their lands, as robbers
in the south held bus passengers hostage and stole their belongings... and the
list goes on.
All this is within just one week of 2014.
level is unprecedented in Jordan and manifests as outbreaks of violence, and
lack of state power and rule of law, as well as public resentment of the king
himself. A quick look into Jordan’s social media could easily demonstrate that
Jordanians from all backgrounds are angry, frustrated, hungry and extremely
provoked by King Abdullah II and his wife, Queen Rania.
king’s fan club has a limited number of members in both Israel and the US;
nonetheless, his fans are vocal. For example, first they insist that Jordan is
“calm” and then claim Abdullah’s only problem is economic, and all he needs is
“more economic support and aide money so he can survive.”
Such a view
exhibits the ignorance and the arrogance of some in the face of what is really
happening: most Jordanians want dignity and bread, not one without the
Do the pro-Abdullahists have any good reason for thinking the Arab
Spring will never make it to Jordan? To make it simple to them and everyone
else: Jordan is a pressure cooker that has been overheated and is about to
explode. On the outside things might look OK, but when it explodes in everyone’s
face, it will be painful, ugly and unmanageable. This will sow chaos along
Israel’s borders with Jordan.
It is safe to assume that both the Israeli
and American intelligence establishments do observe Jordan closely and know what
is really happening. Nonetheless, those lobbyists who call the shots in
Washington, New York and London do depend on the Abdullah- appeasing media to an
extent, and this means they are likely to err in tackling Jordan’s
Let me set out the facts, which I believe shall become public
knowledge soon. The majority of Jordanian East Bankers, of whom I am one, are no
longer loyal to Jordan’s king; in fact they have been leading the protests
Also, the East Bankers no longer see Jordan’s Palestinian
majority as a threat to their existence. What was the threat, actually? We have
been a minority in our own country since 1948, when the Hashemites occupied the
West Bank and forced Palestinians to become Jordanian citizens. The so-called
“demographic threat” for us is no longer a concern; we lost that battle a long
time ago. Now, most of us just want a way out from under the oppression of the
king, which we suffer along with the Palestinians.
The way I see it, most
Jordanian East Bankers do not care who rules Jordan after Abdullah’s fall; be it
an East Banker, Palestinian, Syrian or Circassian, most Jordanians would not
mind as long as we live in prosperity and have our political and human rights
Under this king, we have none.
The West, Israel,
Zionists in general and Israel’s lobby in the US must realize that Jordan’s
current king is yesterday’s news, and must prepare for his replacement.
revolution in Jordan will happen sooner or later. It could come after six months
or two years, but it is coming, guaranteed.
It is no longer a secret that
Jordan’s army is under the direct influence of the US, which finances it with up
to $400 million a year. Thus, the army is not likely to support the king when he
falls – so Israel has little to worry about there.
Jordanians and Palestinians are unified against the king. In fact, while Queen
Rania is Palestinian, she is still hated equally by both Jordanians and
Palestinians in Jordan, who dub her “Jordan’s Marie Antoinette.”
will change sooner or later, and supporting a new regime must be discussed
behind closed doors and in public. The hoped-for regime must be a secular one,
and provide economic prosperity, reasonable democracy and human rights to all
Jordanians – all while keeping the peace agreement with Israel and having zero
tolerance for terrorism and its preachers.
Basel Bataineh is an East Bank
Jordanian and a member of the Jordanian Coalition of Opposition.