Monday, November 28, 2011

Unrest in Jordan - King Abdullah II, Muslim Brotherhood

Jordan is Boiling
 
INSS - In the forthcoming months King Abdullah II will face his toughest test, certainly his most difficult since he succeeded his father nearly thirteen years ago. Within the Kingdom and across three of its borders, unfolding developments carry far reaching implications for the region in general and Jordan's stability in particular.
Inside Jordan, the opposition – both that of the Muslim Brotherhood and that coming from the supposedly loyal southern tribes and towns – is sizzling.
The US final withdrawal from Iraq may cause anarchy there, which in turn will increase the flow of Iraqi refugees to Jordan. More than half a million people fled to Jordan in the wake of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, exacerbating economic demands and inflationary pressures. Ongoing Sunni-Shiite tension may draw Jordan against its will into the conflict, as occurred in 2005 when a Jordanian suicide bomber killed 127 Iraqis in Hillah, mostly Shiites, approximately 100 km south of Baghdad.
The uprising in Syria has created a new challenge for the Jordanian regime. For decades, King Hussein viewed Damascus and its leaders, especially Hafez al-Asad, with much suspicion. His concerns were far from unjustified, especially given his awareness of the ploys by the Syrian regime itself and other players who found shelter in Damascus. Relations, however, remained "correct," and the current leaders have even managed to soften them .But the uprising in Syria has yet again awakened the perennial Jordanian fear of becoming a safe haven for those fleeing the cruelty of the current Syrian government and those who will likely flee, primarily from the Alawaite minority, if the regime is replaced by a government with a Sunni majority. Several thousand Syrians have already crossed the border, even though the Jordanian army has increased its deployment there.
After several months of silence regarding the events in Syria, in mid November interviews to CNN and the BBC, King Abdullah departed from his previous detachment. In what for a Jordanian monarch was an atypical statement, he said that he called Bashar al-Asad twice to advise him to introduce reforms but that the Syrian president refused to listen. "I believe if I were in his shoes, I would step down," the King said.             More