Jordan’s king wants 3rd intifada

Abdullah is in trouble and doing anything he can to stay in power, including playing poker with a global bunch who want to see the Palestinians suffer and the peace process dead in the water.

By Mudar Zahran, ISRAEL HAYOM

n an effort to control the narrative that saves his throne, King Abdullah of Jordan has been using a scorched-earth method to promote “liberate Palestine” rhetoric, anti-Semitism, and closer ties with Iran. The king considers these to be acts of “resistance” while many now consider him to be an impediment to regional peace.

This has been exhibited in the actions of his state-controlled media, heard in his speeches and in the actions of his puppet parliament. Combined with his usually silent cabinet, everyone has become “concerned for Jerusalem,” and as he himself has put it: “No to giving Jerusalem, no to Jordan being Palestine and no to naturalization [of Palestinians].”

Abdullah is doing all of this for a reason. He is desperate and in hot water with his constituency. Riots, protests, and unrest have been hitting Jordan for months and people are calling him out, hurling insults at him in public, despite risking 15 years in prison for “having a long tongue against the king.” I received this sentence in 2014.

It’s not an “Arab spring” yet in Jordan, but it’s on the fast track to getting there. Therefore, Abdullah is creating a diversion while developing plans for a third Intifada, along with a variety of acts of systematic incitement against Israel and the US.

Any regional instability that is supported by an intifada will help him survive for a little while longer but it will come at a price for Palestinians and Israelis. The king’s predicament is known but is not being acted upon by any of the concerned parties. The king receives the highest US aid as a percentage of gross domestic product of any country in the world. There’s not much more that the US could do for him.

I recently spoke with three Arab community leaders; here is how they read the king’s actions:

The first is an intellect, with friends in the Israeli establishment. His late father was “an elder of elders of Jerusalem’s Arabs.”  He told me, “Jordan’s king is in trouble and about to lose his throne, and he knows it. He is looking for something very touchy and has settled on using Jerusalem as a focal point. The card he will play is Al-Aqsa Mosque” – that is, the claim that Abdullah is doing everything to save Al-Aqsa. As my friend put it, “The only thing that could trigger the people against Israel is Al-Aqsa.”

The Arab intellect continued by making a strong accusation: “Jordanian intelligence has operatives all over Jerusalem. They are throwing money and perks at operatives left and right, inciting the people, bribing the Arab tribal and religious figures all over the place. For example, the people who harass visitors at Al-Aqsa Mosque, do you think any of them stands there harassing people for free?”

Sternly, he said: “Jerusalem Arabs are desperate. They have no hope left. They are angry. And an Al-Aqsa uprising is something they may get behind in an effort to make some noise.” If they “make noise,” it will help save Abdullah’s throne and the profits that go with it.

The king has been left with very few options but to confront Israel and the US head-on instead of facing his own hungry people. He knows that regional unrest won’t cost him much and that Israel and the US will suffer. This will make a US peace plan impossible, which is exactly what the king wants.  Therefore, Abdullah is working hard on creating a major uprising and he won’t stop until he succeeds.

Additionally, the king has expanded the Higher Islamic Commission for Al-Aqsa, adding more hard-liners to it. The king put diehard radicals, loyal to him, on the commission.

Nonetheless, the source says he doubts that any action will be a full-fledged intifada. Still, he says, “It gets the job done for the king, the world would stop talking peace process, and they will be talking about the 14-year-old Palestinian boy arrested by the Israeli borders police or the 17-year-old shot by Israeli soldiers while waving a knife. That’s a story they like. The Europeans, Human Rights Watch and The New York Times will jump on this like flies on feces.”

A second source I spoke to is an Israeli Arab who has deep West Bank and Jerusalem connections. He agreed with the first source: “An intifada is unlikely because the Palestinians have no hope left for a livelihood other than to work in Israel and inside the settlements. If an intifada is launched, they won’t be able to find work and they will be blocked from entering Israel. No one wants that.”

Nonetheless, he does agree that there will be outbreaks of violence, and “yes, it will affect Israel. I blame Abdullah. As I told you before, Mudar, the more the king stays in power, the more trouble there is. He made this mess.”

The third friend I spoke to is a local tribal and religious figure from the West Bank who secretly advocates peace and connections between local Arabs and Jews. He told me that an intifada was “highly likely because people here can be easily moved with passion and propaganda.”

“The people have had enough, and they have nothing to lose,” he said. “They are like a cornered cat that won’t beg or negotiate – just scratch and bite.” Nonetheless, he expects a “low-scale intifada” with “stabbings, rock attacks, Molotov cocktails and the occasional shootings.”

“If this happens, the king wins, because an Intifada means the end of the peace process. How could the US administration or Netanyahu convince anyone that Palestinians can be negotiated with, while they are launching an intifada?”

He added, “Even an ‘Intifada Lite’ will be very dangerous for Israel in the long run. In the Arab and Muslim world, social media is widespread and any action will ignite anti-Israel and anti-Semitic actions and feelings. Once this happens, the king and his evil partners – the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Qatar, and Turkey – will have won.”

Abdullah is in trouble and doing anything he can to stay in power, including playing poker with a global bunch who want to see the Palestinians suffer and the peace process dead in the water. It’s also no secret that unrest will help the king buy time that he desperately needs. If he is successful, this will cost the Palestinians and Israelis dearly.

That leaves one conclusion: The longer the king stays in power, the more it will cost the US and the region economically and politically.

Mudar Zahran is the Secretary General of the Jordan Opposition Coalition.

August 11, 2019 | 1 Comment »

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