Internal Tensions in Jordan Are Growing, and a Renewal of the Peace Process Could Make Them Worse

March 15 2019

For nearly its entire history, the kingdom of Jordan has been riven by the division between its Palestinian and Bedouin populations. In recent years, hostility to the ruling dynasty has grown among the Bedouin, who were once reliably and almost uniformly loyal; a number of Bedouin religious leaders even pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Daniel Siryoti writes that the anticipated U.S. peace proposal for Israelis and Palestinians could further disrupt Jordan:

The Bedouin in Jordan see themselves, justifiably, as the pillar of their nation, whereas the Palestinians are considered guests. But while most Bedouin income comes from public service, the Palestinians are mostly concentrated in Amman and the other large cities and do well in the private sector. The Bedouin tribes and clans continue to seethe as they watch their Palestinian “guests” flourishing and accumulating wealth and status.

[This] inherent tension between the Bedouin and the Palestinians in Jordan is made more complicated by its religious aspect. While the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Jordan is made up mainly of Palestinians, the Jordanian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood (which is in effect the movement that oversees Hamas) is walking a tightrope and being careful not to put Palestinians in top roles, preferring religious figures from the Bedouin sector. [Moreover], one reason the kingdom has managed to remain stable through the events of the Arab Spring and the Islamic winter that followed is that it enjoyed sweeping, albeit secret, support from the Muslim Brotherhood. . . .

Various reports claim that Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” will probably include the establishment of a pan-Arab Islamic council, led by Saudi Arabia, to manage the local waqf—the entity that oversees the Temple Mount. For the Jordanian royal family, that means it would be booted out of its exclusive role at the holy site.

In response to this threat, Siryoti concludes, Jordan has reshuffled the waqf leadership—and the new leaders are likely responsible for the recent disturbances at the Temple Mount, which could in turn derail the peace process and help the Jordanian monarchy maintain its authority.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Bedouin, Jordan, Palestinians, Peace Process, Politics & Current Affairs, Temple Mount

 

War with Iran Isn’t on the Horizon. So Why All the Arguments against It?

As the U.S. has responded to Iranian provocations in the Persian Gulf, various observers in the press have argued that National Security Advisor John Bolton somehow seeks to drag President Trump into a war with Iran against his will. Matthew Continetti points out the absurdities of this argument, and its origins:

Never mind that President Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, and Bolton have not said a single word about a preemptive strike, much less a full-scale war, against Iran. Never mind that the president’s reluctance for overseas intervention is well known. The “anti-war” cries are not about context, and they are certainly not about deterring Iran. Their goal is saving President Obama’s nuclear deal by manipulating Trump into firing Bolton and extending a lifeline to the regime.

It’s a storyline that originated in Iran. Toward the end of April, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif showed up in New York and gave an interview to Reuters where he said, “I don’t think [Trump] wants war,” but “that doesn’t exclude him basically being lured into one” by Bolton. . . . And now this regime talking point is everywhere. “It’s John Bolton’s world. Trump is just living in it,” write two former Obama officials in the Los Angeles Times. “John Bolton is Donald Trump’s war whisperer,” writes Peter Bergen on CNN.com. . . .

Recall Obama’s deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes’s admission to the New York Times Magazine in 2016 [that] “We created an echo chamber” to attack the Iran deal’s opponents through leaks and tips to the D.C. press. . . . Members of the echo chamber aren’t for attacking Iran, but they are all for slandering its American opponents. The latest target is Bolton. . . .

The Iranians are in a box. U.S. sanctions are crushing the economy, but if they leave the agreement with Europe they will be back to square one. To escape the box you try to punch your way out. That’s why Iran has assumed a threatening posture: provoking an American attack could bolster waning domestic support for the regime and divide the Western alliance.

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Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Barack Obama, Iran, Javad Zarif, John Bolton, U.S. Foreign policy