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A member of Jordan’s Opposition Coalition that recently fled to Germany explained why he believes that it is only a matter of time before the Hashemite dynasty will collapse. He urged that the West to support Jordan’s secular opposition.
Mohammad Btaibet Photo Credit: Facebook
Since 2011, Jordan has witnessed continuous anti-king protests. Still, the regime has not fallen. Some in the US, Israel and elsewhere are already claiming Jordan’s king “has survived the Arab Spring. Those people fail to realize that Egypt’s Mubarak did not fall in one day in 2011. In fact, protests against Mubarak began in 2003 during which 10,000 documented demonstrations occurred over a period of eight years. Then, when the right moment arrived, Mubarak was gone in less than three weeks. That is identical to the protests against Jordan’s king. Let me sum it up for them. The Jordanian revolution has not yet begun. But it sure is on the way in the very foreseeable future.
Of course, people like Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute might disagree. So would his colleague and Jordan’s expert, David Schenker. However, revolutions take time and do not occur overnight. However, Jordan’s secular opposition, embodied in the Jordanian Opposition Coalition led by Mudar Zahran and many other popular forces, launched the biggest revolution in Jordan’s history in November 2012, which lasted for four weeks. All refugee camps in Jordan were involved, as well as all major East Banker towns.
The revolution ended and the king survived, but my question to Jordan’s king’s diehard lovers in the West, including Mr. Satloff, is as follows: Can you guarantee that the king will survive the next revolution of the same scale? Let’s see where he stands today to judge whether he would survive it or not.
Firstly, the king no longer spends time in Jordan and was even absent during the last Eid Fitr celebrations. It was the first time in Jordan’s history a king is not present for the sacred ceremonies. Nor was his 20 year old Crown Prince present. What is strange is that the king’s office now announces his absence from the country. Before now, the king used to spend much time abroad, but no announcements were ever made.
What is different now? Or is it possible that the king is portraying himself now as an absentee landlord and thus won’t be held responsible for what will happen in the country? For example, he could later claim he was absent from the country for a year or two and had nothing to do with what had happened “before he stepped down”? This could be my outlandish guessing, but let’s connect the dots to the other issues below.
Secondly, recently the US Secretary of Defense visited Jordan. He did not meet the king again, a first of its kind in Jordan. Nor did he meet with any Jordanian civilian official. Furthermore, he went directly from the airport to the major American base in Jordan, a clear breach of diplomatic protocol. Was this a coincidence? The king’s very own media is not taking it that way. One of the king’s loyalist writers published an article cursing the US Secretary of Defense for what he did. Was it a clear statement by the US that Jordan’s king is no longer relevant? We cannot guess, but let’s just say the secretary did not see much value in meeting the king; otherwise, he would have met him for sure.
Thirdly, the Jordanian army is in full control of the country and here is some evidence. When ISIS burnt our pilot alive; the Jordanian army for the first time in its history went on TV to make a statement and vow revenge. This is both against Jordan’s constitution (as only the king can declare war) and out of protocol as the army never addresses the public and could only do so after the king has. In this case, the king’s statement was made hours after the army’s statement and in it, he vowed no revenge nor did he mention the word war. To say the least, most Jordanians understood that as the army has made it clear who the boss was.
Fourthly, Jordan’s economy in a state of collapse and is suffering from complete paralysis in an unprecedented manner. A visit to downtown Amman is sufficient to show anyone the shops are half empty of the formerly countless customers. If the king was so significant to either the Americans or the rich Arab states, why cannot they give him 3 or 4 billion dollars to jumpstart the economy and soften the public hatred for him?
Fifthly, it is public knowledge now that the Jordanian intelligence operates as an offshoot of the CIA, which funds it and actually runs it. Therefore, Jordan’s strong intelligence will not oppose any change to Jordan’s regime that the Americas might support. In fact, it could facilitate it. Thus, the question is whom the US wants to support as Jordan’s next leader?
Sixthly, Mr. Satloff and others do not have to believe me or our leader Mudar Zahran, when we say the king will eventually fall; they just have to listen to the Mossad. On December 26, 2014, the Jewish Press reported “the most senior level Israeli intelligence leaders’ believe that “the king of Jordan will be the last” and “would not pass the throne onto his son.”
The bottom line is that Jordan’s mega revolution will come as a result of a major economic collapse or any other event provocative enough to the Jordanian public. The Jordanians are just waiting for the right time and possibly the right trigger moment which will be coming sooner or later. But will the American stand by the king then?
The US has already made itself clear. When the biggest revolution in Jordan’s history broke out in November 2012, the US Department of State spokesperson said: “Jordanians are doing this because of their thirst for change” and “they are seeking both economic and political reforms.” This should answer those insisting that the Jordanians’ problem with the king is just economic. In short, there is no sign that the Americans will support the king if a major revolution breaks out.
When/if that happens , Jordan’s US-influenced army will secure the country and even support an interim leader flown from outside. This was the case with De Gaulle of France, Khomeini of Iran, Lenin of Russia, and Marzuki of Tunisia, and even Iyad Allawi of Iraq.
My question here to peace-seekers in DC, New York, London, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is, would you start supporting a secular leader like Mudar Zahran to make sure he replaces the king or will you keep supporting the king and accept the risk that he still might fall either way and an Islamist will replace him because you are shutting off Jordan’s seculars? You think of the answer, but rest assured that if you lose your bet on the king; we will all pay dearly for your recklessness.
Mohammad Btaibet is a member of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition, who has fled to Germany recently to seek asylum.