The Kingdom of Jordan is an interesting historical phenomenon. Although many Westerners assume it's an old player in the Middle East, the reality is that it is an artificial state created by the British Empire to reward their Hashemite allies after World War 1. Originally called Transjordan, its ruling tribe was transplanted from Arabia where the House of Ibn Saud was busy wiping out opposition to its plan to paste the word "Saudi" onto the Arabia part.
As a result, Jordan has remained a fragile state despite its continued stable borders. The Hashemites constitute no more than 25% of the population, the rest being so-called Palestinians. What's more, being poor in natural resources and militarily weak by the standard of the region, Jordan has quietly relied on Israel for decades to guarantee its security. This has led to unusually peaceful relations between the two countries even though such a thing could never be admitted in practice.
However, the current ruler of Jordan, one Abdullah II, seems to be outgrowing his britches and forgetting that his throne relies on the hated Jewish infidels across the Jordan river. Again and again, in his most reasonable voice, he threatens the State of Israel with war. Not directly, of course. The thought that the Jordanian army, the Arab Legion, could mount a serious attack against Israel is laughable.
No, Abdullah's solemn warnings are that Israel, through its insistence on not commiting national suicide by accepting an Arab peace plan that would leave it defenceless is creating regional instability that will inevitably lead to war.
Moderate Muslim and Arab countries face great challenges as major players in the Middle East peace process who work to prevent the next war in the region – which could break out as soon as this summer, King Abdullah of Jordan told the Chicago Tribune editorial board in an interview conducted Thursday.
“There are countries in the Middle East that do not believe in the Arab peace proposal,” he said, explaining that 57 Arab and Muslim states had “basically all agreed that they want to have full diplomatic relations with Israel, but [want] in return a two-state solution, therefore a future for the Palestinians.”
Abdullah stated that at the last two Arab League summits, there were countries that spoke out against dialogue with Israel and suggested tabling the Arab peace initiative. “We managed to get an extension of the Arab peace proposal, which terminates in July,” Abdullah continued. “There will be a committee meeting of Arab countries in July, and for us as moderate countries, we’re going to be challenged by everybody else: ‘Nothing has happened; Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not interested in peace, so why keep the Arab peace proposal on the table?’” By July, he said, something would have to change.
“What we’re hoping for is active engagement by the Palestinians with the Americans, the Israelis with the Americans,” he said. Through American mediation, he added, benchmarks for negotiations could be decided upon by July.
One wonders a few things. For one, Bibi Netanyahu actually implemented a building freeze on parts of Yesha as a sign of good intention. For another, he has constantly asked for direct negotiations with the Arab side, a request that is consistently ignored. Finally, exactly what is so special about July? Let's be real here: farcical discussions about the peace process have been going on for 35 years now without any real progress other than Israeli concessions that don't even earn so much as a "thank you" occuring. Suddenly there's a deadline?
Then there's the false linkage issue:
Turning to the issue of Iran’s controversial nuclear program, Abdullah said that he, like other leaders in the region, would like “to see the whole region free of nuclear weapons.” He said that the need for such weapons stemmed from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “If you solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, nobody needs a nuclear weapon,” he said. “If you solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, why would a country such as Iran want to go to the extent of a nuclear military program when the mantra there is defending the rights of the Palestinians and Jerusalem?”
Is laughing in the face of a reigning monarch permitted? How does it follow that Iran needs a nuclear bomb because of the Israeli-Arab conflict? Is Israel threatening Iran? Is Israel threatening a single Muslim country for that matter? Considering that nukes have historically been used as defensive weapons, exactly what threat is Iran worried about that it needs them to defend itself?
Abdullah should take a look around and remember that the Iraqis and Syrians, if given half the chance, would take away most of his pathetic sandbox kingdom with the support of the Iranians he so seems to feel empathy for. His only real ally in the region is the one he insists on blaming for all the Middle East's problems.
Hardly the sign of a man with his head screwed on straight.