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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jordanian Islamists protesting peace with Israel

There was a protest organized by the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan for the 18th anniversary of the 1994 peace agreement with Israel, known as the Wadi Araba treaty.

Held near the Israeli embassy, the Islamists held signs saying "No Zionist Embassy on Jordanian ground," "the liberation of Palestine requires resistance and jihad," "Araba is a stain on the faces of merchants", in addition to the "people want to overthrow Araba."

Speeches were made denouncing Jordan sending an ambassador to Israel and denouncing any form of normalization with Israel.


There was a similar protest last Friday, also outside the embassy, where Israeli and American flags were burned.

Members of the tribe of the new Jordanian ambassador to Israel placed black flags of mourning in front of their houses when he was officially received by President Peres.

I hope that the Israel embassy security in Jordan is top notch, as it seems all too possible that these protests could morph into an attack on the embassy itself, as we saw last year in Cairo when the Israelis there were almost lynched.

The threat from Jordan's Islamists cannot be minimized. From AP:
[T]his week’s announcement that Jordanian authorities had thwarted an al-Qaida plan to attack shopping malls and Western diplomatic missions in the country has raised fears that extremists could take advantage of growing calls for change to foment violence.

The king also has been working overtime to fend off a host of domestic challenges, including a Muslim Brotherhood boycott of parliamentary elections, increasing opposition from his traditional Bedouin allies and an inability to keep the Syrian civil war from spilling over the border.

So far, Abdullah has largely maintained control, partly by relinquishing some of his powers to parliament and amending the country’s 60-year-old constitution. His Western-trained security forces have been able to keep protests from getting out of hand. And most in the opposition remain loyal to the king, pressing for reforms but not his removal.

The stakes are high: Abdullah is a close friend of the United States and has been at the forefront in its global war on terrorism, including in Afghanistan. Jordan serves as a buffer zone to Saudi Arabia, another Sunni Muslim country, and to Israel, a friend under a peace treaty signed in 1994. The kingdom hosts the largest Palestinian population outside the West Bank.

“The worst nightmare would be for Israel and Saudi Arabia,” said liberal lawmaker Jamil Nimri. “Jordan shares the longest border with Israel and is one of its few remaining Arab friends, while for the Saudis, it’s a neighboring country with a similar monarchy system in trouble.”

(h/t Lachlan, Washington Guardian)