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

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy