Diplomacy

Observers: In Major Shift, Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood Offers Support for Monarchy

Veteran Jordan-based journalist Osama Al Sharif assessed on Tuesday that Jordan was unlikely to follow the lead of Egypt and some Gulf states in branding the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, not because the Islamist group is supported by Amman – Sharif noted that Jordan’s current ruler King Abdullah II is even “less sympathetic to [the Brotherhood’s cause] than his father” – but because top Brotherhood figures have recently gone out of their way to emphasize that they support the current regime.

The movement insists that the Muslim Brotherhood’s estrangement in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will not affect its status in Jordan. Former IAF leader and moderate figure in the movement Abdel Latif Arabiyyat told Al-Monitor that there is “a historic relationship between the regime and the Brotherhood in Jordan … and differences between them are marginal, which could be resolved through dialogue.” He added, “The movement does not pose a danger to the regime, only seeking to reform it and not replace it.”

As recently as a year ago the Jordanian Brotherhood seemed to be on the same upward trajectory as allied organizations in countries such as Egypt, and there had been active speculation that the group was setting itself up to severely test the legitimacy of the monarchy. Brotherhood protests were seen as having crossed a kind of Rubicon in openly criticizing the King, and one activist infamously lit a picture of Abdullah on fire.

The developments have in retrospect been seen as a bad miscalculation. The activist issued an abject public apology, insisting that his actions were driven by “very bad living conditions which affected [him] negatively,” calling on lawmakers “to be tough against whoever may ride roughshod over this country and its resources,” and supporting “his majesty’s vision in [that] regard because Jordan is the priority.” Protests by the Brotherhood subsequently became muted as well. Other Brotherhood offshoots have declined even more precipitously, most pointedly in Egypt.

[Photo: Helmut Zermin / YouTube]