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King Abdullah



By Rhonda Spivak, February 1, 2011

[Editor's note- I finished writing this article late in the evening on January 31,  just  HOURS before king abdullah of jordan sacked his cabinet.. you can see what I wrote based on my reading of the  contents of the editorial in  The Jordanian Times of Jan 31 which I believe was setting the stage for the king's actions.]



By Rhonda Spivak,  January 31.

If you want to gauge just how frightened King Abdullah is of the upheaval in Egypt, have a read of the editorial in the Jordan Times of January 31 entitled “Keeping in Touch.”

The newspaper, which unsurprisingly has a decidedly pro-Abdullah stance, bends over backwards to point out all of the efforts that King Abdullah is making to consult with his people.

“His Majesty King Abdullah again showed how the government should stay in touch and lend an ear to the needs of the people. The Monarch paid surprise visits to remote areas in the south of the country to check on the needs of the people there. 

“In the last couple of days the ministers of social development and women’s affairs, and of health also made working visits to remote regions of the country to assess the needs of the inhabitants. Obviously this is the way for the government to go about in order to stay in touch with the people, to assess their living conditions and come up with measures that would address needs and shortcomings.” 

The editorial then proceeds to identify the failings of the King’s cabinet ministers- not the King himself—for the recent demonstrations in Amman last week.
As the editorial says: 

Cabinet ministers would learn much if they were to take such field trips to different parts of the country on periodic basis. They would be apprised of the situation, see for themselves the living conditions of the citizens and generally keep in touch with reality. For, Jordan is not Amman only.

“‘If such visits had been undertaken, if the grievances of the population had been made known, it could be that we would not have seen demonstrations, like those that occurred of late, against highprices and the low standard of living of some Jordanians.

“The King has been paying surprise visits to distant villages, mingling with the inhabitants of the country, for some time now. One would have thought that ministers would take the cue and follow suit. Such trips would be very educational and help dispel the impression that the ruling elite lives in its ivory tower, disconnected from real life, indifferent to the plight of so many of our fellow citizens.

 “Ministers are expected to go about searching for answers to the economic and social problems faced by the country. To keep close to the people and at least listen to their problems. Above all, they are expected to come up with concrete ways of dealing with hardships in a way that leaves a positive impact on the lives of the citizens.

“That way, there is no need for people to take to the streets, hoping that someone hears them.”

One can’t help but wonder whether  King Abdullah is setting up the stage to  ensure that his  loyal subjects will blame  his Cabinet Ministers , not His Majesty himself, in the event that the people’s anger  rises.

Is he setting himself up to be in a position of  pulling  a Mubarak and dismissing his Cabinet Ministers if need be?

[Editor's note--shortly after this editorial in the Jordanian Times  was run and hours after I had completed writing the above, King Abdullah sacked his cabinet- I believe that the editorial in the Jordan Times was setting the stage for this  and  the timing of this editorial was no accident.

Already by February 2, Ma'an New Agency in the West bank was reporting that King Abdullah II of Jordan's  choice of  a replacement  Prime Minister failed to satisfy the powerful Islamist opposition's demands for reform.  Zaki Bani Rsheid, a leader of the Islamic Action Front, said  that the  new  Prime Minister Maarif Bakhit, who previously served as prime minister from 2005 to 2007, "is a not a man of reforms." To read the full story click go to


Events in Egypt and Jordan have made the chances of Israel ever agreeing to give up its presence in the Jordan Valley anytime soon go down to nil.

Sincef the upheaval in Egypt  has begun to spread to Jordan, and threaten the rule of the Hashemite Kingdom, it is very possible (probable in my view) that an Iranian backed Islamic regime would take over in the event of the fall of th eHashemite Kingdom.  The chances of Israel giving up the Jordan Valley so that US-led NATO forces could be stationed there instead of Israeli ones to prevent an attempted penetration into Israel are also non-existent in my view. (The example of UNIFIL in Lebanon failing to prevent the re-armament of Hizbollah in Lebanon speaks loud and clear).

In fact, history will look down on Ehud Olmert rather cruelly  for conducting negotiations with the Palestinians for a future Palestinian  state without  insisting on an Israeli  security presence on the Jordan valley--- something that seems highly irresponsible under the circumstances (and history will probably not be too kind to Tzipi Livni who partnered with  olmert in those negotiations).

Dore Gold got it right when he wrote an article reprinted in this publication months ago entitled “ What Happened to the Jordan Valley ?” harkening back to the Allon Plan. To read Gold’s article, click here.

As Herb Keinon wrote on January 31 in the Jerusalem Post, “What if King Abdullah II is overthrown, and replaced not by Jeffersonian democrats, but Iranian-backed Islamic radicals peering through gun sights on the other side of the Jordan River? Who is Israel going to want on the west bank of the Jordan, US-led NATO forces, or Israeli ones? While a few months ago this scenario might have been readily dismissed as the paranoid ranting of the extreme right wing, times have quickly changed.

“If the PaliLeaks documents show that the Palestinians were insisting that Israel clear out of major settlement blocs such as Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel, how much more difficult are things going to be now – in light of what is happening in Egypt – when Israel is sure to demand more adamantly than ever a security presence along the Jordan River.

“Twenty days ago, before Egyptian jet planes were flying low over Cairo and tanks were tumbling through the streets, Netanyahu said in a speech to foreign journalists in Jerusalem that an Israeli presence in the Jordon Valley “is absolutely required for demilitarization” of a Palestinian state.

“We left Lebanon, Hizbullah came in,” Netanyahu said. “We left Gaza, and there was an Egyptian army that was there and is still there, and Iran walked in. And we need to have some safeguards that we don’t repeat this a third time, because obviously the security of the nation is at stake, and the security of our people, the security of peace, is at stake.”

P.S. As an aside, there was an interesting article in  Ma’an News on January 30th  that didn’t  get wide coverage about  the  PA police banning an  Egyptian solidarity rally in  Ramallah. 

Why would that be? Because quite possibly the corrupt  PA leader  Mahmoud Abbas  and his cronies who  in fact lost the election to Hamas in the West Bank in  2006 [not just in Gaza] might also fear being overthrown.

Those interested may want to revisit my articles written this past summer reporting from  Ramallah. Click here.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.