Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood has given King Abdullah II notice that he has until mid-October to bow to their demand to transform the Hashemite Kingdom into a constitutional monarchy or face Arab Spring street pressure for his abdication.
DEBKA For Israel, an upheaval in Jordan bodes the tightening of the Islamist noose around its borders – Egypt and Libya to the south and Syria to the north, with unpredictable consequences with regard to Jordan’s Palestinian population. Saudi Arabia, already threatened by Iranian aggression, fears the oil kingdom may be next in line if its northern neighbor is crushed under more ‘Arab Spring’ riots.
The oil kingdom’s royal rulers are reported to have belatedly woken up to the peril and are in a panic. They realize that their preoccupation with helping Syrian rebels overthrow Bashar Assad misdirected their attention from the enemies lurking at their own door. Thousands of articles in the Arab press in the past year have predicted that after the Muslim Brotherhood seizes power in Damascus, Amman would be next in its sights followed by Riyadh.
DEBKA analyzed the plight closing in on the Jordanian monarch and outlined three of his options:
1. He could bow to the main Muslim Brotherhood’s demand by submitting to the kingdom’s transition to a constitutional monarchy and the transfer of executive power to an MB-led government by means of the electoral reforms for which the Brothers have been pushing for years. In Jordan as in Egypt, the Brothers hope for a two-third majority in a free election.
2. He could stand up to the Brotherhood’s demands and order his security, intelligence and military forces to crack down on the opposition. This course carries the risk of plunging Jordan into the carnage of civil war among the diverse segments of the population. The biggest dangers come from the Bedouin tribes, whose traditional allegiance to the Hashemite throne has weakened in recent years, and the Palestinians who form 60 percent of the population.
3. He could seek to negotiate a compromise through various brokers. Our sources report that several attempts at mediation have been ventured of late, but got nowhere because the Muslim Brotherhood sent its most radical leaders to the table and they left very little margin for compromise.