Ignorance about Jordan – A threat to Israel

Jordan will change sooner or later, and supporting a new regime must be discussed behind closed doors and in public.

king abdullah at un 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
king abdullah at un 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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.
Meahwhile, 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.
This crime 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.
Furthermore, the 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 other.
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 case.
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 against him.
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 fully restored.
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.
A 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.
Moreover, most 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.”
Jordan 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.