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Jordan next?

As Syria heads for an end-game and regime change, the 'Arab Spring' has now reached Jordan. Israel could again end up surrounded by countries hell-bent on its destruction.
Jordan nextAs we see the situation in Syria increasingly moving in the anti-Assad direction the focus is increasingly coming on to the neighbouring state of Jordan.

I visited Jordan very briefly last month along with a group of fellow Christians. Even then there were ominous signs of serious unrest in the country. (A few weeks earlier King Abdullah II had dissolved Parliament and called for fresh elections.)

Although ostensibly the anger was and is about high fuel prices the problems are much deeper in the country and they go back much further to the First and Second World Wars.

At the time of WWI, the state of TransJordan (i.e. ‘across the Jordan’) was created following the British/French Sykes-Picot agreement which carved up the region.

Following the 2nd World War TransJordan joined in with other Arab countries in 1948 to attack the fledlging state of Israel in the War of (Israeli) Independence. Although Israel miraculously survived that 1948 Warwar, Jordanian forces crossed the River Jordan and captured territory on the 'West Bank' of the river which was part of the UN Partition plan.  Trans-Jordan then became known simply as Jordan.

However in the defensive Six-Day War which Israel fought in 1967, soldiers of the Israel Defence Force pushed Jordan back across the river. And at that time Arabs from the West Bank also fled into Jordan. Amongst them were members of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (the PLO had formed three years earlier in 1964) who set up base between the Jordanian capital of Amman and the Jordan river. It has only been since the 1967 war that the West Bank has been referred to as the 'occupied territories' although Jordan was the original 'occupier' in 1948.

Following continuing terrorist actions within his land, King Hussein took military action against the Palestinian organisations which were threatening to overthrow his monarchy. The ensuing conflict in 1970 led up to ‘Black September’ and resulted in the deaths of thousands of PLO rebels. Yasser Arafat and his Fatah/PLO groupings were then expelled from Jordan and set up home in Lebanon.
King HusseinofJordan1997(The release of UK archive records in 2007 shows that King Hussein made an offer to Arafat in 1974 to appoint him as Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan if Arafat would agree to the annexation of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). However Arafat refused as by this time he was at the height of his leadership of the PLO, with the ambition of declaring an independent Palestinian state.)

Three decades later, at the time of the first Gulf War in Iraq, a flood of Iraqi refugees crossed over into both Jordan and Syria at the rate of 100,000 per month between 2003 and 2006. Though many took significant personal assets with them, these were subsequently exhausted as (many of) these Iraqi immigrants were and have been unable to find work. 
As the country itself is very poor in natural resources, the death of King Hussein in 1999 following a reign lasting 46 years left Jordan still struggling for economic and socio-political survival. Additionally and more recently Jordan has also been hit by the global recession. As we travelled in the country last month I saw major construction projects – motorways and big public buildings – with work at a complete standstill.


Although the domestic and international respect for King Hussein amongst native Jordanians has substantially transferred to his son as the current Hashemite monarch, the situation following the uprisings of the ‘Arab Spring’ has given impetus to the Islamists and secular ‘revolutionaries’  in Jordan.

At the moment (November 2012) rebel fighters have moved into the conflict in Syria and meanwhile King Abdullah has tried to appease the Islamists in his country by releasing some of them from jail – a move which is not entirely popular with much of the Jordanian public. (In Arab culture appeasement is seen as a sign of weakness.)
King Abdullah II
KIng Abudullah IICurrent reports suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood’s preference would be for the present regime peacefully to hand over control to them, but – as in the other ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings (Syria included) – the opposition to the established regime is itself a mix of different factions, each with their own agendas and ideologies. So a ‘peaceful’ transition is not likely.

The latest reports are of mass protest rallies and of pictures of the King – on prominent display in public places such as buildings, roadsides, recreational and tourist areas – being burned. This very public criticism of the monarch is a significant new development.

Stoking up the pressures on Jordan's King, a US State Department official has recently managed to create panic [and anger] in the Royal Palace in Amman when he stated that there was "thirst for change" in Jordan; and that the Jordanian people had "economic, political concerns," as well as "aspirations."
The spokesman's remark has prompted some Jordanian government officials to talk about a US-led "conspiracy" to topple King Abdullah's regime.

Adding up all of these  things, it looks very likely that Jordan will – one way or another; probably sooner rather than later – fall to the Muslim Brotherhood; and it is not shaping up to be a peaceful process.

Amidst it all, Israel is rapidly finding itself back in a 1948 scenario of being surrounded by hostile neighbours bent on its destruction.
Attack on Israel"Come," they say, "let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more."

With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you —
the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites,
Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot.
Psalm 83:4-8

However what is certain is that God's purposes as outlined in His prophetic Word will outwork amongst the nations.

'Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One.
"Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters."
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
"I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill."
Psalm 2:1-6
"Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
Psalm 2:10-12

Christians Together, 23/11/2012

Editor 11/12/2012 17:56

Transplanted by Britain into Jordan in 1921, the vulnerability that the Hashemites felt as a foreign entity in charge of economically lacklustre terrain created ideal conditions for Israel to protect its eastern approach.

The Hashemites had to devise complex political arrangements at home to sustain the monarchy in the face of left-wing Nasserist, Palestinian separatist and Islamist militant threats.

The key to Hashemite survival was in aligning with the rural East Bank tribes, co-opting the Palestinians and cooperating with Israel in security issues to keep its western frontier calm.

In short, the Hashemites were vulnerable enough for Israel to be considered a useful security partner but not so vulnerable that Israel couldn't rely on the regime to protect its eastern approach. There was a level of tension that was necessary to maintain the strategic partnership, but that level of tension had to remain within a certain band.

That arrangement is now under considerable stress. The Hashemites are facing outright calls for deposition from the same tribal East Bankers, Palestinians and Islamists that for decades formed the foundation of the state. (Note 1.) That is because the state itself is weakening under the pressure of high oil prices, now sapping at the subsidies that have been relied on to tame the population.

One could assume that Jordan's oil-rich Gulf Arab neighbors would step in to defend one of the region's remaining monarchies of the post-Ottoman order against a rising tide of Muslim Brotherhood-led Islamism with heavily subsidized energy sales.

However, a still-bitter, age-old geopolitical rivalry between the Hejaz-hailing Hashemite dynasty and the Nejd-hailing Saudi dynasty over supremacy in Arabia is getting in the way.

From across the Gulf, an emboldened Iran is already trying to exploit this Arab tension by cozying up to the Hashemites with subsidized energy sales to extend Tehran's reach into the West Bank and eventually threaten Israel.

Iran will also be seeking to compensate for its rapidly-declining means of influence in Syria as the Sunni muslims war against Assad's Alawite regime.

Jordan has publicly warded off Iran's offer, and significant logistical challenges may inhibit such cooperation.

But ongoing negotiations between Iran's allies in Baghdad and the Jordanian regime bear close watching as Jordan's vulnerabilities continue to rise at home.

Note 1. At the time of the 6-day war there was an west-to-east bank exodus of Arabs into Jordan. Yassir Arafat set up his headquarters between the Jordanian capital of Amman and the river Jordan as a base from which to mount cross-river raids on Israel on the West Bank. Eventually King Hussein had to employ the Jordanian military to quell the PLO and ultimately ejected Arafat and his followers so as to restore civil order.

This legacy remains within Jordanian society and the 'revolutionaries' have capitalised on the cost-of-fuel crisis to take to the streets.
Editor 01/02/2013 17:12

Parliamentary elections were held during January in Jordan. The the vote was boycotted by the increasingly powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Its leaders termed the election meaningless since Jordanian King Abdullah and his cronies will continue to actually rule the country, not any new Prime Minister that will be appointed by the King.

This came as Jordan continued to absorb thousands of Syrians refugees fleeing the intense fighting tearing apart their Arab country.

Meanwhile Ahmedinijad/Iran has offered help to Jordan. Iran’s deputy foreign minister Hussain Amir Abdollahian said in Jordan recently that his country was ready to provide aid to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees living in the kingdom.

Iran has already tried to 'buy its way' into Jordan with offers of help with supplying oil (see preceding post). These offers need to viewed in the context of Iran losing influence in the region as Syria - its current proxy - falls apart.
Editor 18/07/2013 10:14

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with its majority of non-Jordanian, Palestinian citizens, is tottering on the brink of collapse.

The Muslim Brotherhood is breathing down the neck of King Abdullah’s throne; hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees now rely heavily on the Kingdom’s delicately balanced economy, introducing newly radicalized Muslim elements into the country and adding to the pressures.

With a single port on the northernmost tip of the Red Sea Jordan is otherwise landlocked by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The country has no natural resources and a desert climate.

Given that the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni, Jordan also has Iran (which is Shia) using economic means to buy influence in the country. Accordingly there are all the makings of another proxy Sunni/Shia religious war.

Currently the violence in Syria and the upheavals in Egypt are drawing the focus of attention and action. However......
Editor 27/05/2014 16:38

Jordan says it has expelled the Syrian ambassador over "repeated insults" against the kingdom.

The Jordanian foreign ministry said it considered Bahjat Suleiman a persona non grata and gave him 24 hours to leave the country.

It said he had made numerous false allegations, accusing Jordan of harbouring Syrian rebels.

Syria has responded by expelling the Jordanian charge d'affaires in Damascus.

The Syrian ministry of foreign affairs denounced the decision to expel Mr Suleiman as "unjustified", Syrian state media said.

Read on...
Editor 29/01/2015 23:27

From 'The Times of Israel' -

With reports indicating that Islamic State militants are managing to gain territory in Iraq and Syria in spite of US and coalition air strikes, the world is witnessing a nightmare scenario unfold across the Middle East: what if the Islamic State simply cannot be stopped?

In New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg’s latest novel, The Third Target, this troubling question is examined in serious, careful detail.

[Intelligence chiefs] were concerned that Al-Qaeda in Iraq was morphing into something new, something more dangerous,” Rosenberg says. In early 2014, while President Obama went on the record claiming that ISIL was merely a “jayvee team” [Junior Varsity: a put-down term - Ed.] and hardly worth worrying about, Rosenberg stated, “these officials warned me that what kept them up at night was the rise of this Al-Qaeda offshoot, ISIL, and the reality that an Islamist-led overthrow of Jordan was a genuine worst-case scenario and a possibility.”

Read full report -
John Miller 01/02/2015 09:25
This is an interesting article. Who wrote it? Perhaps the author's identity is staring me in the face but it would be very helpful if the writers of articles are prominently displayed with the titles.

Note from Ed. "I did." The source of any article (along with the date) is shown at the bottom right of each article.
Editor 24/02/2017 15:39

The American Embassy in Jordan has recently advised:
"The U.S. Embassy in Amman informs U.S. citizens that protests may take place in Amman and in other cities across Jordan on February 24, 2017, likely following Friday prayers. Online postings call for a rally to begin following Friday prayers at the Al Husseini Mosque in downtown Amman. Demonstrations are also expected in other communities around Jordan."

Jordan is generally looked on as being one of the more stable countries in the region. King Abdullah II has, over his reign since 1999, managed to maintain the difficult balancing act of his father, King Hussein, regarding the factions within Jordanian society: albeit with the help of substantial financial aid from external sources including, mainly, the US.

However the spillover from the Syrian conflict (returning ISIS terrorists and influx of Syrian refugees) is adding to the problems of maintaining order.

Over half of Jordan's population is of Palestinian origin, and though the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994, cooperation with Israel continues to be a point of contention for many Jordanians.
In late September 2016 thousands of Jordanian citizens flooded into the streets of Amman to protest the country's finalized natural gas deal with Israel.

Professor Beverly Milton-Edwards of Queen's University Belfast has recently written:
"Bolstering a reform agenda in Jordan should rank as a high priority for the Trump administration as it seeks to intensify the campaign against ISIS. This means that 'security-first' approaches must be much more inclusive of the fundamental economic, social, and political measures required for Jordan to help prevent further radicalization and instability in the country.
The Trump administration should seize the opportunity to review its assistance programs across the region—including those directed toward Egypt, Jordan, and Israel—in order to ensure that each government receives the aid that is sufficient and effective to meet the threat it faces."

Ominously the professor concludes by quoting an al-Quida leader in Jordan who has stated: "If Jordan falls, the whole of the region goes with it.”

Note regarding John Miller's question: Each article carries the author's name as a 'footer'. This particular article was written by the Editor of Christians Together.
Editor 09/03/2017 20:00

Israeli daily Haaretz reported on March 8 that Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Einat Schlein, is deeply concerned about Jordan’s stability. Israel’s envoy to Amman gave a pessimistic assessment of Jordan in a briefing to Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot in October.

The two officials discussed the situation in Israel’s eastern neighbour, which has seen several hundred thousand Syrian refugees cross its border. Eisenkot reportedly told colleagues that he was disturbed by what he learned from Schlein about Jordan, which shares Israel’s longest border.

Read full report:
Editor 12/06/2017 11:53
Jordan: Army Kills 5 People Approaching Border From Al-Tanf

Stratfor report 11/06/17

Jordan's army said on June 11 its border guards killed five people who were approaching its frontier from al-Tanf, a Syrian town where U.S. special operations forces training rebels are based, Reuters reported. The Jordanian army statement did not give any details of the identity of the men and whether they were smugglers or militants in the area where Jordan's northeastern borders meet Iraq and Syria. Al-Tanf has been a flashpoint in recent weeks, as pro-Syrian government militias have tried to get near the U.S. garrison, prompting U.S. coalition jets to launch airstrikes.

Read Article Online
Editor 12/06/2018 08:55
Further instability in Jordan

Jordan: Jordanians have been protesting in the streets of Amman for four days. There are now as many as a thousand participants. The protests are a response to various austerity measures meant to lower Jordan’s debt. The demonstrators demanded the resignation of the government, and Jordanian King Abdullah II capitulated, sacking the prime minister and charging his replacement to form a new government. Jordan has been uniquely stable the past few years. It survived the so-called Arab Spring partly by making concessions to its citizens, so it’s possible that the government in Amman is doing likewise again. Still, let’s monitor the protests closely. Find out how big they are, where they are spreading, and the degree to which they subside in light of the government’s actions. Pay particular attention to signs of escalation between protesters and security forces.

Finding: On May 31, 45 protests were held with a total of 2,500 participants, according to Jordan’s Public Security Department. The demonstrations peaked on June 1, with 171 protests held in different locations and 18,500 participants. But even on June 2 and June 3, there were over 100 protests with 14,500 participants. Given that these numbers come from a government source, they likely underestimate the turnout. So far, 60 arrests have been made. The majority of the unrest was experienced in Amman, Irbid, Zarqa, Karak, Ajloun, Jerash, Tafileh, Ramtha, Salt, Maan and Aqaba. The protests continued into the week despite the ouster of the prime minister. The new prime minister has said he will cancel the controversial tax changes once he’s sworn in, a move that may be more successful in quelling the protests than the change in prime minister was.

From Geopolitical Futures (

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