Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is Jordan tottering?

I can't say that I like what is coming out of the Middle East right now.  There are bad developments from all over the region, but I'm a little surprised that some of it is coming out of Jordan.  Now, Israeli officials say Jordan is hanging by a thread
As the US steps up its effort to prevent a Palestinian unilateral bid to declare statehood, Israeli officials fear a new eastern front in the form of Jordan. State officials warn that Jordan is in an extremely precarious state and effectively "hanging by a thread."

Jerusalem is also considering causing significant damage to the Palestinian economy. The Palestinian Authority, however has no plans to withdraw its statehood campaign.


There is also growing concern in Israel over the situation in Jordan. Senior Israeli officials define the Hashemite kingdom's situation as "hanging by a thread". The officials claim that "the situation in Jordan is precarious and it is possible that it is heading for a major jolt which should be taken with the utmost seriousness.

"The situation in the Middle East does not allow for irresponsible moves from the Palestinians, steps that will fail to bring security, peace and a Palestinian state, what they will bring is lack of stability."

Israel refused to issue an official response to King Abdullah's Monday statements, but state officials noted that "the king's statements should be monitored in light of the delicate domestic situation in the kingdom."

Israel believes that Abdullah was obliged to express himself in that manner due to the intricacy of the current situation in Jordan and the region. Nevertheless, government sources note that "there is no need to get worked up. The king has a strong bond with the Americans and firm joint interests with Israel. Calm must be kept in the area and events must be monitored."
And is just gets worse as Israel has temporarily evacuated its embassy in Amman ahead of a major planned Palestinian protest:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the early evacuation of Israel's embassy in Jordan on Wednesday, over fears of violent anti-Israel protests similar to those which erupted in Cairo last week.

Protocol stipulates that all employees return to Israel every weekend, with the exclusion of one diplomatic representative as well as a security team.

On Wednesday, however, it was affirmed that Israel had decided to vacate its Jordanian embassy a day earlier than schedule, following fears of violent protests outside the embassy building, expected to take place on Thursday and throughout the weekend.


[O]fficials estimated that only a few several hundred will actually arrive, adding that they were confident that Jordanian security forces would disperse the rally before it got out of hand.
"Jordan has a 'responsible adult' and they will not allow for riots similar to those which took place in Cairo," one Foreign Ministry official said, adding that "the embassy was closed a day ahead of schedule just to be sure."

Netanyahu and Lieberman's decision to vacate the Israeli embassy came following last week's tumultuous anti-Israel protests in Cairo, which culminated in protesters breaking into the embassy building.

Egyptian commandos released six besieged security guards from the Israeli Embassy, while an Israeli Air Force plane evacuated over 80 diplomats, including family members from Cairo, after a mass group of Egyptian protesters broke into the embassy.

Speaking of the possible aftermath of the attack of Israel's embassy, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters on Monday that the "immediate crisis with property and diplomatic security in Cairo seems to have calmed," adding that she felt "both governments have made appropriate statements."

"Our hope is to avoid any spillover into the larger region," Nuland said, adding that the Egyptian government has made clear that they regret [the incident], that they are taking steps. They did take steps. So we are hoping that it was indeed an isolated incident."
"Jordan has a 'responsible adult?'"  If I'm the Egyptian government, I'm not liking that statement.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has always been a bit unique in the Middle East.  The monarchy depends on the loyalty of heavily-armed Bedouins for stability.  The influx of so many Palestinians into Jordan has at times threatened to upset the apple cart, so to speak, certainly under the reign of King Abdu'allah's father Hussein.  The big concern with Abdu'allah taking power after the death of his father over a decade ago was the loyalty of those Bedouin tribes.  That he has been in power for this long would have seemed to answer that question.

I wonder what the Israelis are seeing that we are not.

No comments:

Post a Comment