Jordan: A Utilitarian Entity or a National State?

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Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah (L) and Jordanian King Abdullah II review an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival at Amman's airport on February 23, 2015. AFP/Khalil Mazraawi

By: Fares Najem

Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The flames that burned the Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh at the edge of the cage that surrounded him will not go out. On the contrary, this fascist fire has spread to many areas within Jordanian territory and to various political constituents, classes and community-based groups that make up society.

Extinguishing this fire would require a radical national culture — a citizenry outside the matrix of tribal affiliations, and free of the code of vengeance. The traditional custom of revenge is based on an intentional unleashing of instinctual emotions fueled by a “rush of blood” and concepts like “sense of honor,” which benefit the the tribal, bureaucratic and liberal bourgeois alliance which makes up Jordan’s Hashemite politics. These politics are subject to the interests and directives of US imperialism and Western imperialism in general, such as maintaining the Wadi Araba Treaty with Israel, joining the US-Western coalition to “fight terrorism,” and implementing the policy prescriptions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other affiliated institutions.

Jordanian soldiers for hire

The duty of national armies is to protect state borders against foreign invasion. However, the military and security institution in the Hashemite Kingdom — part of whose land (the West Bank including East Jerusalem, which Jordan annexed in the early 1950s) is occupied by the army of the Zionist occupation entity, which has been unrivaled in its brutality and killing of Palestinian, Jordanian and other Arab people — not only turns its back on this land, but arrests any citizen who tries to cross the Jordan River and the Jordan Valley to fight the enemy.

The soldier and Arab hero, Ahmed al-Daqamseh, who opened fire at a group of Israeli colonists who were visiting the Bakoura area — when they desecrated the land and intentionally provoked his patriotic, religious and nationalist sentiments while he was on guard — has been languishing in the regime’s repressive prisons since March 12, 1997.

Jordanian army does not honor the national obligations upon which it is supposed to be based. Instead, it provides paid services to regimes linked to US policies, and carries out tasks assigned by the Pentagon, at bases that graduate officers and soldiers for kingdoms, emirates and other entities, and at military, political and security rehabilitation camps for mercenaries fighting in battalions, brigades and fronts, which engage in acts of sabotage and killing in countries deemed by Washington as rogue states, i.e., states that are opposed to the US and the Zionist entity. That is why we find officers and soldiers from the Jordanian military and security institution in Afghanistan, Haiti and Bahrain. It is also why we find Jordanian pilots and jets in the US-led international coalition declared by Obama during the NATO summit at Newport Wales in September 2014 to fight “terrorism” — specifically the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Managing terrorism

It is a cruel joke to hear leaders of terrorist states talk about their resistance to ISIS, as though this international organization had formed, grown, obtained arms, killed and burned, outside the logistical support system provided by the US administration and its international and regional lackeys. They provided training, arming, funding and passage for ISIS to complete the job of overthrowing the Syrian national regime, destroying its army — the symbol of national unity — and dismantling Syrian society into waring sectarian and confessional factions. What stands out from the Wales declaration is Obama’s insistence on including Arab countries in this coalition. That is how Jordan became one of the most prominent official Arab participants in this battle. However, the participation of officers and experts from governments on the periphery, and officers from the murderous Israeli army, in operation rooms in northern Jordan and Amman, targeting southern Syria, exposes the lie of fighting ISIS. What these operation rooms are doing is providing military training, arming and funding for a parallel terrorism under another name. How can this deception fool large segments of Jordanian public opinion?

The reverberations of burning Moaz

The Jordanian regime — the king and the institutions — managed to exploit the primal rage that Kasasbeh’s family, parents and the tribes felt, to shape a response around the idea of “vengeance for Moaz.” The regime — which has been able to guarantee its survival through its subordination to the imperial center, and through reliance on the tribes whose loyalty is procured with the jobs that joining the army and the branches of the security institution (general intelligence, the police and gendarmerie) provides — was able to exploit the incident to reassert control, in light of troubled and tense social conditions, especially in the southern provinces. These conditions are the result of the economic policies that led to “wider corruption, high prices of basic commodities, marginalization, poverty, unemployment, rising prices and lack of development.” The king and his security and tribal institutions succeeded in curbing the protest movement in the streets by exploiting instincts unrestrained by any thought or vision.

As such, calls by political and national forces and figures that enjoy credibility and popular respect did not succeed in reaching the minds and ears of those furious with ISIS, its supporters and funders. The regime believed that carrying out the death sentence issued years ago against Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouli is a first step towards deflating tribal and public indignation. Their execution was followed by air strikes on supposed ISIS positions in Raqqa and Mosul to vent built-up anger.

Royal monopoly over the earth-shaking response

Although everybody knows that the airstrikes by the coalition planes is a mere localized surgery in some of the areas controlled by ISIS, regime officials threatened ISIS in the strongest terms and flew several jets to strike some of the group’s centers, confirming once again the army’s ability to crush ISIS. However, the dangers besetting Jordan increase as the regime embarks on a unilateral confrontation with the group and talks about a key role for the army in any ground operation whose cost — if it were to happen — would be shouldered by forces from peripheral countries, and not by the military of the American metropol.

Sending Jordanians on military adventures abroad is rejected by large segments of the Jordanian population, especially since reasserting control of the internal situation is a priority at this time.

The regime and the policy of turning a blind eye

Security experts with the most influence and power in the military know that a real confrontation of the bloody takfiri wave led by ISIS requires a cultural, economic, social, political and military blueprint inside Jordan first. After all, ISIS’ tentacles extend not only to sleeper cells. There have been protests in the streets of Maan, Zarqa and several other areas and centers raising the ISIS flag, which demonstrates the ability of jihadist takfiri groups to destabilize the internal situation and create chaos in more than one place. In addition, many mosque preachers repeat ISIS’ opinions and edicts. Further, the curricula of the Education Ministry, developed primarily by prominent members of the Islamic movement, provides a fertile ground for the rise of rigid and obscurantist ideas leading to the prevalence of a closed mentality that rejects epistemological and scientific developments with their open-ended possibilities. All this religious and educational indoctrination has been taking place before the eyes of the security institutions. In addition, the deteriorating economic conditions and the increasing number of parasites and fat cats has fueled the sense of anger, resentment and rebellion.


The urgent tasks entrusted to nationalist forces and figures require a popular protest movement to rein in the regime’s instinctual impulse and fuel daily popular activism in the streets in order to end the work of the operation rooms that support the militants in southern Syria — fighting terrorism cannot be divided. Appealing to theorists of takfiri movements that differ with ISIS on certain procedural and jurisprudential issues is wasting precious time needed for this confrontation. That is why we cannot rely on a policy based on double standards.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar English's editorial policy. If you would like to submit a thoughtful response to one of our opinion pieces, send your contribution to our submissions editor.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Ahmed al-Daqamseh is no Arab hero. He killed SEVEN SCHOOLGIRLS. That's a sick person and deserves to be in jain.

We have far more worthy people of being called 'hero'. Al-Akhbar and the writer harm the Palestinian cause by referring to this criminal as a hero.

"The soldier and Arab hero, Ahmed al-Daqamseh, who opened fire at a group of Israeli colonists who were visiting the Bakoura area — when they desecrated the land and intentionally provoked his patriotic, religious and nationalist sentiments while he was on guard — has been languishing in the regime’s repressive prisons since March 12, 1997."
This paragraph encapsulates the murderous, genocidal, misogynistic, hateful and frightening world view of the jihadist. This "hero" killed some Israeli girls on a picnic. Period. That is what makes him a hero in the Arab world.
What amazes me is that when this information is given to Western liberals, they treat jihadis like naughty children who are staying up past their bedtimes and are not responsible for what they say/do/wish.
I wonder what percentage of the Arab world considers a soldier with an automatic weapon shooting at teenagers on a picnic to be a hero.

The Jordanian government relinquished its claim to the West Bank and most of Quds in 1988, except for waqf over the holy sites. And I don't think most Palestinians would want the Jordanian army back in the WB anyway, especially after what happened in 1970. Has Faris basha been living under a rock?

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