Jordan in the Wake of Zarqawi and the Hamas-Israel Clash

[Washington Institute for Near East Policy] Samer Abu Libdeh - The Jordanian government took special pride in its role in cornering Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Zarqawi, given his role in the trio of terrorist bombings in Amman last year, and the Jordanian political and media establishments have launched a broad campaign to discredit the Islamist agenda inside the kingdom. This was a major shift for the Jordanian regime, which has, for decades, given the Muslim Brotherhood a wide berth as a popular safety valve for opposition dissent. There is a notable shift toward raising the profile of security in the kingdom. Not only did Jordan hold one its largest ever military parades last month, but government spokesmen announced that Jordanian intelligence services have been empowered to operate beyond the country's borders to counter threats to Jordanian national security. A process of political reform has been stopped in its tracks. Most observers cite the fear of creating an electoral system that would dilute the disproportionate power of tribal elites and enhance the voting power of urban voters, often of Palestinian origin. Traditionalist political groupings - both secular and Islamist - are fighting anything that could shrink their advantages. The writer, a Jordanian scholar, is a Fulbright visiting research fellow at the Washington Institute.

2006-07-11 01:00:00

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