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Op-Ed: Trump Must Speak to Mudar ZahranMichael Ross explains why US President-Elect Donald Trump should develop a relationship with Mudar Zahran, the Jordanian Opposition Coalition (JOC) Secretary General. Among other things, Ross highlights that Zahran and the JOC have done more politically compared to any other government in exile in order to bring peace to the Middle East.
For the last half a dozen years, Jordanian Opposition Coalition (JOC) Secretary General Mudar Zahran has been on a mission – a mission that many say is larger than life because it will not only save lives and bring peace to his people but more importantly, bring to an end an iron-fisted dictatorship that has mismanaged Jordan’s economy and threatened the lives and future of her people. As such, President-Elect Trump needs to talk with Mr. Zahran, embrace the information he is presenting and by doing so, will help stop terrorism, save lives and money and combined, help bring peace to the region.
As an American, Republican Jew, and a loyal Trump-supporter, I have been following Zahan’s work for five years now and the following points should serve as clear evidence of his massive influence on Jordanians:
- In 2011, the pro-Jordanian government writer Nahid Hattar called for a "mother of all protests" against both the Israeli and American embassies. In an effort to stop this, Zahran publicly addressed Jordanians, telling them not to protest against either embassy, adding that "our problem is with the Hashemites and not the Israelis." As a result of Zahran's call, the Washington Post reported less than 200 people showed up for the protests.
- On 16 September 2015, the Jordanian government's media openly called for the destruction of the Israeli embassy in Jordan, and the Muslim Brotherhood called for "mega protests" against Israel. To stop this, Zahran addressed the Jordanian people using Youtube.com videos. In the videos, he warned the people not to participate in the demonstrations. Watched by thousands the night before the protests, the next morning, just a few dozen protesters showed up before the Israeli embassy. This was reported in both the Jordanian and Israeli news.
- As a recognizable face thanks to frequent appearances on Arab, American and Israeli TV, Zahran is Jordan’s most recognized opposition figure.
The impact of Zahran’s work is seen in five specific areas: economics, legislation, security briefings, human rights and the 2016 presidential campaign.
Starting at the top, under Mudar’s direction and guidance, members of the JOC have impacted the region’s economy in several ways. Officially opposed to the BDS movement because it costs the region jobs, Zarhan has busted the “transparency bubble” the King uses to shield his personal and country’s finances. Because of these actions, the world now knows that the country is over 90% in debt despite more than $20 billion in aid given to the King by the US alone in less than 17 years, an evidence of his mismanagement. This alone threatens internal and regional peace.
Additionally, Zahran has pointed out (and stopped) the theft of taxpayer money by the King, pointed fingers at the opulent lifestyle the King lives, which is paid for by American and British taxpayers, and clearly has demonstrated that without transparency, the kingdom will always have troubles that benefit the King while harming peace and his own subjects.
To accomplish this, Zahran has been working with political professionals to not only support legislation but oppose those now sitting before several world legislatures including the UK and USA. This has stopped billions of dollars in taxpayer funds going from one government into the King’s Swiss bank account and everyone should be proud and supportive of these actions.
Legislatively, Zahran and JOC associates have continually pointed out that the King was working in ‘partnership’ with the Muslim Brotherhood to radicalize Jordan against Jews, Israel and the United States. As a result of this partnership, the King not only has moved above the Constitution but has closed the Parliament, held questionable elections and clearly made a series of moves that helped terrorist while allowing a new parliament to be seated that contains a very high percentage of radical Islamists including the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Now I want to turn our attention to the JOC’s Security Briefings. Produced on a shoestring for the last few months, the Zahran-appointed Jordanian National Director of Intelligence has been collecting information where the CIA, FBI, Mossad and others can’t – on the ground from the tribes and locals in the region. This is due to two things. First, they know him and trust him. More importantly, though, in his shadow government, he has leaders from the respective tribes who feed him information daily. Second, because he is Jordanian, these briefings presented to the international community have brought to everyone’s attention to the financial connections between the King and ISIS, as well as chronicled how much this has cost Americans. Along the way, he has chronicled and documented the rise of Islamic hatred towards Jews and Israel.
The next issue on the agenda is human rights. On two levels, Zahran and his team have done more politically than any other government in exile has ever undertaken to bring peace to the region and dignity to those who live in it. First, on behalf of the JOC, he released a peace plan proposal. Second, using international reports from groups like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, he has educated political leaders about what is really going on in Jordan. And what is going on in Jordan? Illegal arrests, torture, detainment and quite often death are what face Jordanian citizens who do not comply with the King’s edicts and whims. For example, just imagine being arrested for “liking something on Facebook” that the King dislikes. According to these reports, this happens often. This is confirmed in his briefings thanks to information collected from the region’s tribes.
Second, the JOC team has created a peaceful model every resistance movement in the world can use – eliminate terror, put aside armed conflict and fighting and work peacefully through the legislative process to achieve pre-established goals because quite frankly, in a civilized society, that is how it’s done. It is effective, important, and are the rights he wants to install in Jordan.
As a side note, thanks to the JOC’s support (and opposition) on multiple pieces of legislation, as well as the creation of the definition of Radical Islamic Terrorism, Zahran has been working behind the scenes with world leaders who oppose the King. As a result, he is prepared to not only work on legislative ideas currently sitting before multiple governments but is prepared to start implementing his own legislative agenda in the US Congress and multiple countries around the world. Combined, the thoughts and theories here help define today’s current approach to peace – done at a negotiating table with western powers.
Combined, as a result of his actions, not only has he been vetted by the CIA and Mossad but more importantly, information that he supplied to both campaigns played a HUGE role in the 2016 US presidential campaign. For example, during one presidential debate, every country in the region was mentioned at least once, except Jordan. Why? Because the JOC has had material/briefings presented to the candidates and their staffs, complaining about the King and his actions including his support for ISIS and torture against his own people. As a result, the King became persona non grata during the campaign.
In closing, President-Elect Trump faces a variety of issues in the Middle East, all based on his full support and friendship to Israel and as a businessman, his commitment to transparency. Let's be clear: Jordan's king is an enemy not just of both Israel and the Jordanian people but to capitalism, peace and economic growth in the region. As a result, it is clear that King Abdullah II will not survive as a king and we all have to realize that sooner or later, he will be toppled. Support for this belief comes from the Mossad who has told Israeli Ambassador Dani Dayan the King is "the last king of Jordan."
During the campaign, President-Elect Trump made it clear that he wants to roll up his sleeves and negotiate a variety of deals – and one of those deals he wants his name associated with is peace in the Middle East for Israel. If Mr. Trump wants to win for Israel, peace and transparency, he has to realize that it is in Jordanian, Israeli and US interest to talk to Mudar Zahran, the JOC leader, and start enacting solutions that will save lives and money while bringing peace to the Middle East.