Sunday, April 10, 2016

Clear loyalty and priorities


Today, April 11, 2016

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Apr 09,2016 - Last updated at Apr 10,2016

The need to keep Jordan stable is part of the psychology of all citizens, of all strata and origins.

The Washington Institute of near East Policy Studies published last week an article by one of its renowned scholars, David Schenker, in which he analyses the cat and mouse game between the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and successive Jordanian governments.

Such games are frequent between opposition groups and any ruling government. But the differences do not reflect on the MB’s loyalty to the Hashemite throne.

Few analysts understand the profound difference between the Jordanian MB and Syrian, Iraqi or Algerian sister organisations.

The Jordanian MB was cultivated and nurtured in 1945 by King Abdullah, the founder of the Kingdom, a religious scholar, who provided a friendly ambience, compared to the secular environment of Syria’s Baath party or Saddam Hussein’s one man-rule regime.

Following the first attempted military coup against King Hussein in 1957, the youth branch of the MB, Jawwaleh, staged street demonstrations in Nablus, Amman and Jerusalem, expressing support for the King, and denouncing the conspirators, some of whom had to flee the country when seeing the popular support the regime enjoyed.

In September 1970, when Palestine Liberation Organisation militias clashed with the Jordanian armed forces, the MB, with thousands of its Palestinian and Jordanian members, refused to accept Yasser Arafat’s call to them.

They remained loyal to the Hashemite throne.

When the Maan fuel and food riots of April 1989 engulfed several cities and villages, the MB outmanoeuvred the rioters, established a man-to-man corridor to stop the chaos from reaching universities, or the 13 Palestinian refugee camps with a population of over 2 million inhabitants.

It is a fact that the best organised group with a Jesuit degree of hierarchical discipline and with largest following is the MB.

The main enemies of the Kingdom are Al Qaeda and Daesh. Jordanians know that the antidote to the challenges of takfiri jihadist ideology of those two groups is the MB.

Its activists drove Daesh out of many cities, villages and refugee camps.

There were several attempts to curtail the MB presence in the Jordanian Parliament since 1994, when the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty was signed.

Some failed, some succeeded.

As an opposition group, the MB is a thorny nuisance, whether in Parliament, in the press or in the mosque.

The new Elections Law was passed to preclude a potential nuisance in parliament.

Parliamentary elections were boycotted by the MB in 2007 and 2013, due to the one-man, one-vote formula in the election law, which would deny MB the controlling majority it used to enjoy.

The hypothesis of a confrontation between authorities and the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is too farfetched.

The two sides need each other, owe loyalty to each other, and their catholic marriage cannot be severed in spite of hiccups from time to time, as with all opposition groups.


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