What Jordan’s Elections Mean for the Muslim Brotherhood, and For Israel

In September, parliamentary elections took place in Jordan. Although by most indications the process was fair and transparent, Jordan remains a monarchy where the representative body plays a limited role. Yet given Jordan’s high unemployment, an influx of refugees from Syria, and hundreds of subjects who have joined Islamic State (situated on the country’s doorstep) Oded Eran sees reason to believe the king may wish to give parliament a greater role in confronting the nation’s many problems. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, having sat out the previous two elections, participated in this one under a different name, winning a small but significant number of seats. Among Eran’s conclusions are these:

Jordan emerged from the election as an island of stability in a seething Middle Eastern sea, a nation successfully overcoming internal difficulties that have worsened because of the humanitarian and political chaos plaguing the region. . . .

[Under current circumstances], the question of the parliament’s involvement in foreign affairs, in particular Jordanian-Israeli relations, can be expected to resurface. Since the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, the Jordanian parliament has served as a forum for lambasting Israel, opposing processes of normalization, and criticizing the Jordanian government for not severing the bilateral relations.

[The issue of relations with Israel] provides the Muslim Brotherhood with a ready-made platform to attack the government, since [its stance on the subject] is shared with many partners in other political parties. At the same time, the political alliance between the Christian and Circassian communities in Jordan and the Muslim Brotherhood, in its new and less rough-edged form, creates interesting possibilities from Israel’s perspective, as Israel has parallel communities who maintain widespread connections with their brethren in Jordan.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Arab democracy, Israel diplomacy, Jordan, Muslim Brotherhood, Politics & Current Affairs

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy