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.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Israeli Security, Jordan, King Abdullah

 

The Arab Press Blames Iran Rather Than Israel for Gaza’s Woes

Following the fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad over the weekend, many journalists and commentators in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia didn’t rush to condemn the Jewish state. Instead, as the translators at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) note, they criticized the terrorist group for “operating in service of Iranian interests and thus inflicting suffering on the Gaza Strip’s residents.” One Saudi intellectual, Turki al-Hamad, wrote the following on Twitter:

It is apparent that, if at one time any confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organizations would attract world and Arab attention and provoke a wave of anger [against Israel], today it does not shock most Arabs and most of the world’s [countries]. Furthermore, even a sense of human solidarity [with the Palestinians] has become rare and embarrassing, raising the question, “Why [is this happening] and who is to blame?”

I believe that the main reason is the lack of confidence in all the Palestinian leaders. . . . From the Arabs’ and the world’s perspective, it is already clear that these leaders are manipulating the [Palestinian] cause out of self-interest and diplomatic, economic, or even personal motives, and that the Palestinian issue is completely unconnected to this. The Palestinian cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of these and other organizations and states headed by the [Iranian] ayatollah regime.

A, article in a major Arabic-language newspaper took a similar approach:

In a lengthy front-page report on August 7, the London-based UAE daily Al-Arab criticized Islamic Jihad, writing that “Gaza again became an arena for the settling of accounts between Iran and Israel, while the Palestinian citizens are the ones paying the price.” It added that Iran does not want to confront Israel directly for its bombings in Syria and its attacks on Iranian scientists and nuclear facilities.

“The war in Gaza is not the first, nor will it be the last. But it proves . . . that Iran is exploiting Gaza as it exploits Lebanon, in order to strengthen its hand in negotiations with the West. We all know that Iran hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israel, and it also will not do this to defend Gaza or Lebanon.”

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Read more at MEMRI

More about: Gaza Strip, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israel-Arab relations, Persian Gulf