News / Middle East

    Did Jordan's King Benefit From Muslim Brotherhood Downfall?

    Jordan's King Abdullah (Oct. 2012 photo)
    Jordan's King Abdullah (Oct. 2012 photo)
    In an interview with the Atlantic Magazine in March, Jordan’s king Abdullah II described Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and Egypt as “wolves in sheep's clothing; they are a Masonic cult always loyal to their leader”. 
     
    The King's remarks sparked local and international media buzz due to his unprecedented public attack on one of the Jordanian political spectrums.
     
    The King did not hide his extreme sensitivity toward the Islamists in Egypt. Immediately after Mohammed Morsi was removed, he welcomed the decision of the army and sent a telegram to the head of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansur, congratulating him on being named interim President of Egypt.
     
    Several analysts say the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world is like one body, if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever; therefore, the expectations of the Brotherhood popularity fell after the "humiliating defeat" of the group in Egypt.
     
    Many scholars believe that the ouster of President Morsi may affect the aspirations and power of the Islamic movement in Jordan, which until recently was driving a movement demanding comprehensive reform, like the one took place in Egypt after the departure of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
     
    The director of Al-Quds Center for Political Studies Oraib Rintawi told Agence France-Presse that what happened in Egypt will greatly affect the Islamic movements in the Arab world, adding "many Jordanians, including friends of the Muslim Brotherhood, are doubtful of the Muslim Brotherhood’s reform plan and their democratic concepts".
     
    Rintawi also said the Jordanian monarchy was relieved at downfall of Egypt’s Islamists, adding "there is no doubt that Jordan now is satisfied because it was among the three fastest and clearest countries to express and welcome the overthrow of Morsi, along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, since each of these countries has a particular problem with the Muslim Brotherhood”.
     
    Rintawi finds that the Brotherhood need to double their efforts to convince people of their credibility.
     
    “Following the failure of the Islamists in Egypt, it has become hard for people to believe the talk of the Brotherhood about pluralism and democracy,” Rintawi said.
     
    Last year, Jordanians staged large public demonstrations over food and fuel price hikes. However, the intervention of the Gulf Cooperation Council providing Jordan with economic assistance prevented the continued momentum of the Muslim Brotherhood-led protests that demanded change in the political system for the first time.
     
    On the other hand, the Jordanian monarchy has become stronger, taking advantage of the errors made by Islamists who came to power in the Arabic countries.
     
    Hassan Abu Hanieh, a political analyst and an expert on Islamic groups, told AFP that " what happened in Egypt directly affected the Islamists in Jordan," adding that "Jordan hopes it will be the end of Islamist power there to get rid of the main opposition group in the kingdom, the Islamists."
     
    Many observers consider the Brotherhood in Jordan to be of great support to the community in Egypt. King Abdullah II revealed in an interview that "Jordanian intelligence monitored talks between the Brotherhood in Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Jordan in which they encouraged the Jordianians to boycott parliamentary elections and destabilize the country."
     
    Hanieh believes that Brotherhood’s general popularity has declined “but the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is not the end of the group.”
     
    The Islamists in Jordan condemned the ouster of Morsi. The deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Zaki Bani Rsheid, told AFP that “Jordan is part of the conspiracy against the legitimacy in Egypt,” and said the ouster of Morsi “will not stop the Islamists peaceful reform demands which are not linked to any party outside the country”.
     
    This report originally appeared on al-Hurra. 

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