Jordan After the Hamas Victory

(Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University) Asher Susser - As an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has strong ties with the Brotherhood in Jordan and its political party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF). Azam Hunaydi, the leader of the IAF's 17-member bloc in the Jordanian Parliament of 110, is now saying that the Jordanian Islamic movement is "mature enough to take over government responsibilities." The IAF has strong support in Jordan's major urban areas that are heavily populated by Palestinians. On the other hand, the Palestinian population in Jordan is socially stratified and politically diverse and certainly does not constitute a monolithic block of opposition to the regime. And the dichotomy between Jordanians and Palestinians is less sharply defined than it used to be. Intermarriage between Jordanians and Palestinians is very common. Since the civil war of 1970, many Palestinians have made their peace with the monarchy and would rather be part of the ruling elite than be ranked forever with its opponents. Indeed, the original Jordanians, fearful of competition, are less favorably disposed to integration of the Palestinians than are the Palestinians themselves. Should confrontation nevertheless prove unavoidable, Jordanian resilience should not be underestimated. In 1958, just after the bloody overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy in Iraq, former British Minister Anthony Nutting said of King Hussein of Jordan: "However much one may admire the courage of this lonely young king, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion his days are numbered." In fact, Hussein continued to rule forty more years.

2006-03-06 00:00:00

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