The Jordanian Monarch Isn’t Going Anywhere, but Neither Are the Problems Underlying the Recent “Coup”

Over the past few days, a series of contradictory reports emerged from Jordan of an attempt by Prince Hamzah to stage a coup against his half-brother, King Abdullah—followed swiftly by a report that the prince had pledged allegiance to the king, and rumors that former senior officials were arrested. All this comes just a few weeks after a public spat between the kingdom and Israel—which depend on one another for their respective security. Ghaith al-Omari and Robert Satloff comment:

Prince Hamzah is half-brother to the current monarch and the eldest son from King Hussein’s marriage to his fourth wife, Queen Noor. Upon ascending to the throne in 1999, Abdullah appointed Hamzah as crown prince pursuant to their father’s dying wish. . . . Five years later, Abdullah relieved Hamzah of this title in favor of his own eldest son, Hussein—not an unusual act given that the late King Hussein named three different crown princes during his reign. Hamzah did not publicly object to the decision at the time, yet he subsequently positioned himself as a sympathetic figure and avatar of reform among Jordanians discontented with the country’s socioeconomic situation, especially disaffected tribal elements.

[T]he underlying sources of dissatisfaction that Hamzah tapped into are real and will inevitably manifest themselves again in the future if Amman does not address them. These include emergency issues like the pandemic, as well as more structural issues like broader economic, political, and governance reform. As in the past, the immediate aftermath of the Hamzah affair will probably see a strengthening of the security sector at the expense of reform. . . . Even before this weekend’s crisis, the government had already shut down the popular chat platform Clubhouse to prevent unwelcome online criticism.

In this context, Amman needs to tread delicately with its so-far-unsubstantiated accusations of significant foreign connections to the alleged conspiracy. Among the countries whose names have been bandied about—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel—none have an interest in stoking instability in Jordan or could have believed that an amateurish plot built around a disaffected prince and a handful of acolytes might possibly have overthrown the well-entrenched Abdullah.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Israeli Security, Jordan, King Abdullah

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