If the Arab Spring had for some time appeared to bypass Jordan there are now indications that it is about to erupt and shake the Hashemite Kingdom. Rulers in peril have an uncanny ability to foil terrorist plots.
Last week, Ruba al-Husayni wrote in As-Safir: Jordan was not spared from the repercussions of the Arab revolutions. Despite a few, benign protests — in comparison to the million-man demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, and the use of weapons in Libya and Syria — the Kingdom had to deal with an escalation of demands from political movements on the one hand, and popular demonstrations on the other.
Furthermore, there are those who are calling for curtailing the powers of King Abdullah II, while others are calling for the fall of the monarchy altogether.
Similar to the Arab Spring countries, political Islam groups in Jordan — namely the Muslim Brotherhood — enjoy prominent support in society, and are known for negotiating with the regime.
The fact that the Brotherhood is adamant about boycotting the legislative elections, and called a few months ago for staging weekly demonstrations to demand political reforms, is seen as an attempt to drag the regime to the dialogue table once again. This will lead to the participation of the Brotherhood in the elections, and as a result political representation, which will pave the way for the group to control the regime in the future.
On another note, there are demands calling for the fall of the regime by other forces, which were accused of crossing red lines. These forces have been active over the past month, in which they organized protests in the al-Tafilah neighborhood, one of the largest neighborhoods in Amman.
Activists in the Ahrar Movement from al-Tafilah neighborhood issued a strongly worded statement following the arrest of its members, warning those “in the palaces” that “you are not safe from the Arab Spring.”
The activists said that the Jordanian king is “hiding under the cloak of democracy and freedom,” adding, “You are attempting to conceal the fact that you adopt fascism, and control the fate of the country and the livelihood of the citizens.”
Jordanian political Islam forces have acknowledged the presence of the aforementioned calls — even though they are very few — however, Brotherhood Deputy Comptroller General Zaki Bani Arshid told As-Safir that the Brotherhood “has not and will not adopt such calls.” [Continue reading…]