Douglas Davis

Will Jordan be the new Palestine?

Douglas Davis says that George W. Bush’s drive for global democracy may hand the Hashemite kingdom over to Hamas

Douglas Davis says that George W. Bush’s drive for global democracy may hand the Hashemite kingdom over to Hamas

If unintended consequences are the progeny of political activism, then the fate of King Abdullah of Jordan is a lesson to us all. The West’s best friend in the Arab world is now the region’s most vulnerable monarch.

It was, after all, America’s war against Saddam Hussein that produced Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, al-Qa’eda’s main man in Iraq and a sworn enemy of the Hashemite throne in his native Jordan. And it was America’s drive to bring democracy to the Middle East that propelled the Palestinians to the polls and produced the Hamas victory. As Jordan’s strategic planners survey the terrain, they must be alarmed at the pincer of radical Islamism, fuelled by a resurgent Iran, which is closing in on them from east and west.

I discovered just how acute are Hashemite insecurities when I wrote an exposé for the Jerusalem Post on the deeply corrupt relationship between Jordan’s young monarch and Saddam’s family. Almost as soon as the paper hit the streets, my then editor received an urgent invitation for coffee from a top Mossad official. There was no question about the accuracy of the piece, whose central detail had been corroborated by senior officials in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. What concerned the Mossad official was that I was preparing a follow-up article. He implored my editor not to publish it. The original piece, he said, had already caused a crisis in the palace; a second piece could place an unbearable strain on Israel’s relations with Jordan. To his credit, my editor, unaware that I had no plans for a second piece, declined to set Mossad minds at ease.

Last week General Ya’ir Naveh stepped into the snake pit, calling into question the viability not only of the fragile kingdom but also, by extension, of the king himself.

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