- Jordanian Political Forces’ Position on Bahrain Uprising: Examination of the Muslim Brotherhood Group, Youth and Partisan Forces
- Official Stance
- Position of Jordanian Political Forces: Before Arab Spring
- Position of Jordanian Political Forces: After Arab Spring
- Youth Movement Stance
- Muslim Brotherhood Stance
- Position of National Parties
- Leftist Parties Position
- Trade Unions Position
- Intelligentsia and Writers position
- Legislative Authority Position
The Jordan Parliament stand in this regard has been compatible with the Government stand. It is no surprise especially if we take into consideration the statements made by several Jordanian official figures that the Jordanian Parliamentary Elections of 2007 and 2010 were forged(1).
On the whole, all political parties were initially supportive and backed the Bahraini people’s moves in line with their stance towards all Arab Spring movements. But stances thereafter started showing some difference and distinction, especially after accession to power by the Muslim Brotherhood in both of Egypt and Tunisia along with the outbreak of riots in Syria. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood Group in Jordan has changed its stance, thereby showing full-scale turnaround and taking sides with the Brotherhood Coalition that is aligned with the Gulf Petrodollars advocated by both Turkey and the West. However, the Pan-Arab and Leftist parties along with the Street movement reflecting the Jordanian Spring remained supportive of the Bahraini street movement.
The official relations between Jordan and Bahrain have historically been extraordinarily strong and more unique than Jordan’s relations with the other Gulf countries. Thus, Jordan has since the beginning of riots in Bahrain assumed a position evidently in favor of the Regime in Manama. After one week of the beginning of protests in Bahrain on 14 February 2011, the Jordanian Government invited the Bahraini Opposition for “a dialogue with the Government and for responding positively to an initiative launched by the Bahraini Monarch: Hamad Ben Essa Al Khalifa”(2).
What is of interest about the invitation addressed by the Jordanian Government through Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Naser Joudeh is his affirmation of “Jordan’s absolute rejection of foreign interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs.” Apparently, this stance involves double-standard approach to the Arab Revolutions which invoked the grudge and criticism of both politicians and writers. While official Jordanian zeal for the Libyan revolution has reached the point of military involvement, the official stance on the protests in Bahrain has been quite the contrary.
Jordan’s official position on the Bahrain events has been compatible with the nature of Jordan’s unique relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States which are built on the basis of benefiting such countries from Jordan’s human and vocational expertise, in general, and military and security capabilities, in particular.
Jordan’s biased position in favor of the Bahraini Regime’s alternatives at the expense of the popular moves has been adopted on the grounds of Jordan’s realization that the GCC, which is thinking of developing such equation into a Federation to face up to the tempests striking the Arab World from the Ocean to the Gulf, will not allow the downfall of any member thereof into the claws of the Arab Spring, and will not eventually allow the downfall of the Regime in Bahrain for considerations related to possible infection with the spread of the democracy syndrome, apart from retaining balance of power in the region.
The popular position on the Bahrain protests has been quite different from the official stance in the sense that the Jordanian street has rapped the official stance on the Bahraini moves, and also rapped the alleged official involvement for quelling the Bahraini moves, especially after local and Arab media reports indicating participation by Jordan Gendarmerie Forces in curbing demonstrations there and that some demonstrators suffered injuries in such confrontations.
“Khabar Jo”, Jordan News Website, spoke about a condition of severe resentment and tension on the part of families of Jordan Gendarmerie troops who returned from Bahrain with injuries as such families arrived at Marka Military Airport to welcome their sons(3).
Kuwaiti Newspaper (Al QABAS) later reported three Jordanian Gendarmerie troops to have been injured during their participation in quelling the Bahraini demonstrators. This was followed by news reports carried by the Mir’at Al Bahrain (i.e. Bahrain Mirror) Website that three thousand elements from the Jordan Gendarmerie participated with the Dir’ Al Jazeera (Al Jazeera Shield) forces for quelling the Bahraini movement(4).
The Jordanian street received those reports as facts beyond any doubt particularly as it is well-known that the Bahraini military and security structure depended basically on the Jordanian efficiencies in terms of training and on the human element in terms of recruitment.
The Jordanian Government rapidly denied any military participation by Jordan to curb the Bahraini moves, and also denied reports on Jordan’s acceptance of a financial offer in return for participation by its security forces in thwarting the Bahraini movement. The first Government denial came through Government Spokesman Taher Al Adwan who affirmed to Jordanian media that Jordan has not sent forces to the Kingdom of Bahrain(5).
By the same token, Dr. Mohammad Al Halaiqa, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee at the Jordan House of Deputies (former Deputy Prime Minister), denied in a statement made to journalists alleged presence of Jordanian forces in Bahrain, saying: “Jordanian support allegedly provided to Bahrain through military forces is unfounded and is not based on any evidence whatsoever”(6).
At the military level, Director of the General Department of Gendarmerie Forces, General Tawfiq Tawalbeh denied any participation by the Jordanian Gendarmerie Forces in the Bahrain protests.
The Jordanian denial has not been of any value for two reasons; First: Reports recurrently made on participation by the Jordanian Gendarmerie forces in quelling the Bahrain moves coincided with declaring the proposal for Jordan’s Ascension to the GCC. It was indicated by the majority of analyses which the Arab and international media published then that annexation of Jordan to the GCC was intended to benefit from Jordan’s security expertise and military capabilities to face up to the internal and external risks to which some GCC States are exposed, especially Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Bahrain Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khaled Ben Ahmad Al Khalifa has been prompted to deny such reports, saying: “There are no military objectives behind Jordan’s ascension to the GCC, and there are no military objectives for annexing Jordan and Morocco to the GCC of Arab States towards confronting the Iranian interference in the (GCC) States”.
The second reason for which the Jordanian street has not believed the official denial involves revealed participation by Jordan in the US war effort in Afghanistan in the aftermath of killing a senior security officer from the ruling family in Khost Explosion which a Jordanian physician carried out against a group of senior US Intelligence officers at Khost Base of Afghanistan. However, the Jordanian Government used to claim earlier that participation by its forces in Afghanistan was limited to providing humanitarian aid and relief work. (For further details on Jordanian involvement in Afghanistan, see(9)).
What lend credence to the Jordanian street’s doubts of probable participation by Jordanian forces in the Bahraini security effort to curb the moves is the news report which the British Newspaper, THE INDEPENDANT published on terminating the employment contracts of 90 Jordanian officers working within the Bahraini Security Forces for their role in dealing with the demonstrators, and who were requested to return to Jordan(10).
For understandable reasons, the Jordanian authorities have made no comment on this news item. But at least the official Jordanian side believes that the Bahraini decision to dispense with the Jordanian officers might sound as an attempt to “remove local witnesses” away from the proceedings of trials and lawsuits underway now in Manama which may possibly witness further future proceedings. In fact, these are lawsuits filed by the victims of official Bahraini repression, demanding financial compensations. However, negative feelings have been developed in the strategic decision quarters in Amman, and these feelings remain suppressed for political reasons and so that such feelings will not be abused by the Jordanian street which has practically rejected the presence of Jordanian forces and experts in the State of Bahrain to quell the people there.
Position of Jordanian Political Forces:
Before the Arab Spring:
The Jordanian community including all its forces used to extend unanimous support for all the Arab, Islamic and even international forces of resistance and change. Only a few persons adopted a different position which they expressed diffidently and equivocally. The criterion for adopting stands on parties, movements and moves was not measured through regional, sectarian or national terms. The only criterion adopted in determining the position was rather enmity towards Israel along with the American and Western projects. The more hostile the moves are to Western and Israeli projects, the more such moves will be acceptable and supported, and the equation remains proportionately positive to that effect.
The sectarian factor did not have any effect in determining the position on any Arab or Islamic move or event until the Iraq-Iran War which used to be depicted as a war between a state governed by Ayatollah and another state defending the borders of the Sunni world. However, the national features dominated that war, and as such, the war did not cause split, either horizontally or vertically in the Jordanian society in terms of attitude towards that war. So, people’s sympathy with those who removed the Shah from power with his typical hateful image in the minds of the Jordanians precluded creating sectarian positions either on the part of the Islamic forces or of the leftist and national parties.
However, invasion and occupation by US and allied troops of Iraq in 2003, and the advent of their Iraqi allies (i.e. Shiites and Kurds) on the US tanks with an Iranian bless, as the Jordanian street believes, created a reaction on the part of this totally Sunni street excluding few immigrant families from neighboring countries residing in the north of the country. Thus, assessment of the position on any foreign movement, party or move is influenced by such sectarian criteria that have not been traditionally part of the instruments of political measurement.
In reality, Iran comes into view at the time of speaking about the Bahrain moves, as will be outlined in the context below, notwithstanding the report of the Fact-Finding Committee headed by Professor Sharif Basyouni, denying any relationship between the popular demands and the Shiite Iran(11).
We can see that cards were mixed up with regard to the position held by the Jordanian political forces and parties towards the others. For instance, despite declaring openly its belief in the “Welayat Al Faqih” (i.e. Jurisprudent Guardianship), Hezbollah was extensively popular, and in July 2006 War, demonstrations were staged throughout Amman streets in support of Hezbollah. Yet, this party’s position on the Iraqi issue might be described as favoring violent Shiite groups responsible, according to Jordanians, for massacres perpetrated against the Sunni people in Iraq, particularly as the enemy which Hezbollah is facing is Israel.
Besides, the position on the uprising in Syria caused a vertical division in the Jordanian society; Islamists in the trench of the “Sunni Revolution” and Leftists and Nationals in the trench of the “Alawite Regime”, thereby reflecting negatively on the course of the Jordanian Spring.
The position on the Bahraini moves has in turn created division coming at times closer to, and going away at other times from the position adopted on the Syrian moves.
After the Arab Spring:
Since the advent of the Arab Spring, all the Jordanian political forces without exception declared their stance on the side of the uprising people throughout the countries of the Arab World from Tunis to Damascus. But with the lapse of time, those positions started at times going away from, and at other times coming closer to popular moves in those countries. So, the passionate rush zeal declined to be replaced with political calculations and developments affecting the map of the new coalitions, especially the religious coalition of the Muslim Brotherhood that is aligned with the Gulf Petrodollars as opposed to the conventionally so-called Opposition Forces (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and some Palestinian Factions) taking sides with forces coming on the line of this coalition in light of their historical stance towards the Gulf religious coalition such as the Nationals and Leftists.
It is necessary to eliminate the intricacies and overlapping in the stances adopted by those forces towards ongoing developments in the region so that such forces’ stance on riots in Bahrain will be understood.
Youth Movement Stance:
Reported participation by the Jordanian Gendarmerie in repressing the Bahraini moves incited an active move on the Jordanian street, especially among the ranks of the Opposition which criticized the security presence of the Jordanian Gendarmerie on the grounds that it constitutes a step inconsistent with Jordan’s national stances.
The youth moves have been recently formed and born, and lead the activities of the Jordanian Spring within the framework of a coalition which includes all the independent youth and party activities. In a statement carried by the social media networks, the youth moves announced a strike staged on 1st September 2011 to reject the Jordanian interference against the Uprising in Bahrain and in which the Islamic, national, and leftist forces participated.
Invitation for the strike came under the slogan “As Solidarity with the Popular Revolution in Bahrain and in Rejection of Jordanian Interference against the Bahraini Revolution” in order to express openly and loudly rejection of involvement of the Jordanian Gendarmerie and Army in battles which are not of Jordan’s priorities as the case was with Bahrain, Afghanistan, and Libya. The strike also came as an expression of absolute solidarity with the Bahraini people in their legitimate claims, and in order to reject the repressive practices against them as well as the “Saudi occupation of the Bahraini people”(12).
Mahdi Al Sa’afin, political activist from the Jordan Campaign for Change (Jayeen), one of the major components of the Jordanian Youth Move, pointed out that participation by the “Campaign” in the strike was intended to deliver several messages such as “the propaganda used against Bahrain’s Revolution through the mass media that it is a revolution of sectarian nature is inaccurate, and that all Arab popular revolutions are of clear claims: social freedom and justice.” On this topic, Al Sa’afin says: “We reject attaching accusations to Arab revolutions, and what is going on in Bahrain is well-spelled out and does not need any explanation. The question is one of repression by Al Jazeera Shield troops of a popular revolution with the participation of the Jordanian Gendarmerie forces. We reject what the fraternal people of Bahrain are exposed to”(13).
“Jayeen” Movement affirmed in a statement issued its stand on the side of the Bahraini Moves, rejecting determination of stands on sectarian grounds and indicating its solidariy with the Syrian revolution until attainment of its real popular demands the same as its solidarity with the Bahraini Revolution. It has also indicated that the logic allowing for lending support to the Syria Revolution because it is of the Sunna majority and declining to extend support to the Revolution in Bahrain because it is of the Shiite majority is a rejected logic, amd whoever advocates such logic is a racist person that does not deserve to raise the reform slogan in Jordan, and yet such a person should be resisted.
But the Jordan Security Forces prevented the demonstrators from reaching the Bahraini Embassy in Amman and closed all entries leading to the Embassy.
The Jordan Youth Movement was not satisfied with attempting to stage strike before the Bahraini Embassy in the Jordanian Capital, Amman, for expressing its support to the popular Movement in Bahrain; but called for a strike to be staged before the Saudi Consulate in Amman on 11th September 2011, and coinciding with the session held by the (GCC) to look into Jordan’s accession to the (GCC).
On a page which they inaugurated on the “Facebook”, activists said: They reject ongoing Jordanian-Saudi coordination and interference in Arab revolutions in a deliberately bilateral and repressive manner to restrain the people’s will. Their choice of the strike time coinciding with the GCC session is intended to deliver an explicit message that “We are not a hireling gun leased in return for the crumbs of the Gulf or of any other one whosoever”(14).
Activists have launched a campaign called, “Not Our War” in order to reject Jordan military “interference” in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen, and also to express Jordanian people’s rejection of becoming slaves and mercenary for anyone, declaring their taking sides with the freedom of the of the people.
Activists’ choice of “Not Our War” as a slogan for their campaign was intended as a reminder of the identical popular stance with which a page on the Social Media Network has already been inaugurated under the title “Not Our War” as a response to detected Jordanian Government contribution to the Atlantic War Effort in Afghanistan.
Muslim Brotherhood Stance:
At the outset of launching the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood Group in Jordan and its Political Arm, Islamic Action Front (IAF) adopted a position supportive of and backing all the Arab Spring Movements without exception.
Insofar as the Bahraini case is concerned, the Islamic Action Front (IAF) Party issued a communiqué on its website(15) demanding the Government to clarify the reality pertaining to news reports carried by the Arab media and on internet websites “on participation by the Jordan Gendarmerie in repressing the armless Bahraini people” and the presence of more than five hundred troops of the Jordan Gendarmerie in Bahrain to assist in maintaining security. The communiqué denounced these reports if proven true. Based on this position, the Islamic Movement represented by the Muslim Brotherhood Group and its Political Arm, the Islamic Action Front participated in the strike called for by the Youth Movement before the Bahraini Embassy in Amman.
The Muslim Brotherhood Group has not maintained its stance on the Bahrain events; a large transformation took place and a sharp turnaround of (180) degrees occurred. In the aftermath of the stance with high ceiling vis-à-vis possible participation by the Jordan Gendarmerie forces in repressing the Bahrain demonstrations and which rejects absolutely any Jordanian interference in the Arab Movements, and the Bahrain Movement, in particular, the Muslim Brotherhood kept itself away from subsequent popular activities in solidarity with the people of Bahrain. The Group assumed a position which was developed after the Bahrain events into a converse direction which is extremely incommensurate with the Group’s former position. With the progree of time, the Group’s position started approaching the official stance until the Group declared its position on the Bahrain events through a statement made by the Group General Controller: Humam Saeed(16) and which included a spirit that can be described as sectarian and which did not use to be familiar in the Group’s former political discourse and statements. For the first time in the history of the Brotherhood, Humam Saeed expressed a position hostile to the “Shiite” Iran, rejecting its expansion at the expense of the “Sunna followers in the Islamic countries”, and did not stop at that point, but said frankly that the Muslim Brotherhood Group “does not accept spread by Iran of the Shiite Doctrine in the Sunni States, nor does it accept support by Iran for a sectarian rule in the Muslim countries as the case is with Syria and Bahrain.”
Before speaking about the factors affecting the new position of the Muslim Brotherhood Group on the Bahrain events, it is necessary to point out that the Muslim Brotherhood Group in Jordan and in the remaining Arab countries adopts positions of a highly Machiavellian nature on the political events, and such positions take on colors according to its interests. While Jordan’s Brotherhood in the immediate past the strongest ally of Iran and its Lebanese Ally, Hezbollah, the situation has now changed completely, and such situation is the major concern with which the Muslim Brotherhood are preoccupied throughout their areas of presence(17).
From the time of their emergence initially within the Suez Canal Company Office, and throughout their position on the Palestinian Resistance in the 1970s, and not ending with their position on Syria and Bahrain events, Brotherhood stances have been marked by pragmatism. Yet, Brotherhood stances towards Syria and Bahrain events, and subsequently their stance towards Iran and Hezbollah are governed by political interests and coalitions rather than principles. I will not add more in this regard than what I have already said in my aforementioned paper to the effect that the Muslim Brotherhood went to exile in the aftermath of Hamah Events, and were satisfied with estrangement as an enemy instead of hostility to the regime, after awakening from a period of loss of consciousness during which they intensified pressure on the regime there at the severest times of Syrian confrontation against the US and Israeli plans in Lebanon in the 1980s.Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood did not make any move throughout the period of calm on the Golan (Heights). Then the Muslim Brotherhood resumed the truce policy with the Regime when deceased President: Hafeth Al Assad decided to join the Hafr Al Batin Coalition on the eve of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Only then, the Brotherhood pressure on Damascus was reduced, and thereafter Syria’ Muslim “Brotherhood” returned to their preoccupation with retaining pressure on the Syrian Regime following the collapse of the reconciliation, and rather the interests between Damascus and Washington.
Iraq’s “Brotherhood” are not in a better position than that of their Syrian fraternal “Brotherhood”; particularly as they participated in the political process backed by both of Iran and the United States. They became members of an ‘agent” government appointed by the US High Commissioner in Iraq then: Paul Braymer. While Jordan and Egypt Brotherhood announced that they are against this process, they maintained their close relationship with Iraqi Vice President: Tareq Al Hashemi. We should not forget the time when Jordan Brotherhood lent support to the street wave backing Hezbollah, then a title of resistance, and also when Jordan Brotherhood became allies to the Lebanese Opposition. On the other hand, Syria Brotherhood extended backing for the Government of former Lebanon’s Prime Minister: Fuad Sanyoura supported by both Syria and the West. Kuwait Brotherhood sided with their country against the Iraqi invasion, a position quite normal. What was not normal is Jordan Brotherhood’s stance in support of the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait, also backing the high street wave. It is necessary to remember the reports circulated on the outgoing Jordanian Monarch’s call for Mr. Kamel Al shareef , one of the Brotherhood key figures in Jordan to consult him about Jordan’s stance vis-à-vis Iraq’s invasion to Kuwait. Al Shareef said then: “We cannot swim against the Street current.”
While Syria Brotherhood oppose the Regime of their country, Palestine Hamas Brotherhood are organic allies to the political regime in Damascus. Here in Jordan, the Islamic Movement is hostile to the good relations between Amman and Washington; but is, on the other hand, watching closely the US statements on Jordan in order to respond positively thereto. There are numerous testimonies to this effect, thereby affirming that the Muslim Brotherhood is a pragmatic movement which seeks authority without forgetting the Street, “using Islam’s enormous repertoire of values within the conscience of the people to be utilized politically,” as one of the leftist colleagues put it. But in reality, Muslim Brotherhood remains a political movement seeking authority at any price even notwithstanding any contradictions between yesterday’s and today’s stances on the same issue, or even despite any contradictions marking two juxtaposed stances in two neighboring arenas on one issue. The criterion that matters is the authority and riding the high street horse on all occasions.
Therefore, we shall go back to the position which the Muslim Brotherhood Group adopted on Iran and raise the following question: Which position merits to be generalized? Is it Syria and Jordan Brotherhood’s position currently hostile to Iran; or is it the position of Iraq Brotherhood who were included into the framework of the political process backed by both of Washington and Tehran? So, it is an already drawn up policy allowing each branch to adopt the appropriate position that serves the interest to the satisfaction of the relevant public without suffering any strategic loss.
Thus, we shall also go back to the Brotherhood’s position in Jordan on Syria and raise the following question: Is their position stemming from their belief in change in line with the Arab Spring; or from the spirit of revenge upon a Regime which tormented their fraternal Brotherhood of Syria in the 1980s. if their position was based on principles, why then did the Brotherhood participate in the Jordanian partisan delegation backing Syria following the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in the year 2006, and why did they maintain truce with the Regime in Syria when Syria Brotherhood did the same thing immediately before the Arab Spring?
Returning to the Brotherhood’s position on the Hezbollah of Lebanon, how come that in the immediate past, the Brotherhood used to consider Hezbollah a resistance party and a strong ally; but has become overnight a party named ‘Hezbollat’ (i.e. idol party) or Satan’s Party as some Brotherhood leaders put it.
Most important of all, we shall go back to the Brotherhood’s position on the Jordanian arena: How did they become the largest Opposition Party, though they (i.e. the Brotherhood) were raised by the Royal Regime? Have we forgotten where they were in the mid 1950s, when the Brotherhood youths carried canes side by side with the security personnel to repress the demonstrators from the opposition national and leftist parties? Yet, the Muslim Brotherhood are nowadays leading both of the Opposition and the Street, and are attempting to direct the Opposition Compass according to their interests and new coalitions.
As regards the international, regional and local factors affecting the Muslim Brotherhood’s new position on Bahrain events, they cannot be separated from the developments related to the overall positions of regional and international forces on the overall Arab Spring Movement along with the emerging coalitions between forces which were a short while ago entrenched against each other face to face. In fact, the Gulf countries coalition with the Islamic Forces in the Arab countries, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, and the conventional Salafites (i.e. Islamic reformists), with a Turkish and Western cover, has made considerable change in the positions of the Muslim Brotherhood Group which remained until the immediate past an ally of the Islamic Iranian Project sponsoring the Arab Resistance movements such as the Hezbollah of Lebanon, and the Hamas And Islamic Jihad Movements in Palestine.
Both of the escalating events in Syria and the rapid militarization of the Revolution there have yielded the greatest impact on speeding up the new processes of classification at the Arab and necessarily Jordanian levels for reasons related to renewably old fears invoked by the Syrian revolution. Such fears stem from possible formation of a Shiite Crescent led by Iran and making a breakthrough into Lebanon across Iraq and Syria, and also from potential expansion of this Crescent to include Bahrain and the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia with the demographic intensity of the Shiite sect. So, the growing events in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain along with the remarkable security measures in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) indicate that the Gulf Leaderships look quite seriously at the events taking place in their arenas, and fear their expansion and their objectives. Therefore, Gulf Leaderships are using multiple repressive means to thwart the protests before spreading and deepening to the extent that they will be impossible to control, especially as the Eastern Region in Saudi Arabia has become inflammable and where protesters were killed and wounded at the hands of the Security Forces, and the Intelligence Authorities are watching developments closely and carefully. This will necessarily embarrass Western States which will not be able to cover up for ever the torture to which citizens of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are exposed, and despite the serious and sensitive nature of the region witnessing a blaze that might increase and expand, thereby affecting negatively the enormous US interests in the Gulf Region.
The rulers of the Gulf States have never stopped looking into all prospects and the serious forthcoming challenges which prompted them to propose possible declaration of a Gulf Federation which is an equation stronger than that of the “Gulf Cooperation”. Such Federation shall be tasked with confronting any attempt to destabilize the region along with participating altogether in repressing any protests for the sake of safeguarding their regimes. Therefore, it is widely believed that the Gulf Regimes’ escape and interference in external arenas such as Syria and Egypt are caused by the restless situation experienced by these regimes. It is also believed that such escape and interference constitute an attempt to draw attention away from the hot spots in their countries through intensifying war against Syria, and to incite anarchy and create seditions in Egypt so that these Regimes will be able to confront forcefully the protesters in their countries and without any attention paid by the mass media which will remain preoccupied with making a press coverage of the most inflammable spots in Syria and Egypt.
In light of this, the sharp turnaround in the Muslim Brotherhood’s position in Jordan can be understood; particularly as they eventually follow one authority of reference; the General Adviser for the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s position which approaches the “revolution” in Syria and which is hostile to the “Alawite” Regime there goes in the meantime faraway from the “revolution” in Bahrain and comes closer to its “Sunni” Regime. Such position reflects a new form of emerging coalition between the Muslim Brotherhood Group and the Arab Gulf States which will be the expected battlefield against Iran. For this reason, it will be required to rally support by the people of Gulf countries for that expected war, and the sectarian military mobilization is the shortest way to realizing that objective through spreading the concept of the Shiite expansion for justifying a future Gulf alignment against Iran and for attracting the other non-Gulf Arab countries to join the Coalition to be built against Iran.
The United States with a coalition of the Gulf States will have no objection to reaping by the “Brotherhood” of the fruits of the Arab Spring so that they will be the rulers instead of the Regimes that collapsed in Tunisia (Al Nahdha Party), Egypt (Muslim Brotherhood), Yemen (Group for Reform Party), and Syria (Muslim Brotherhood) in case of downfall of Regime. Syria Brotherhood anticipated the situation there through announcing their Political Document in order to reassure the Syrian political forces inside Syria and foreign forces abroad that their objective will be to establish a Civil State.
Jordan’s Brotherhood have a great interest in enabling Syria’s Brotherhood to dominate the rule there for moral and financial consolidation; particularly as they seek to prevail throughout Jordan in the first parliamentary elections that will be conducted. Jordan’s Brotherhood cannot be on the side of Syria’s Brotherhood who are hostile to Iran and at the same time be on the side of the Bahraini Movement considered as pro “Shiite Iran.”
Position of National Parties:
On the whole, national parties in Jordan stand by the side of the Bahraini Movement; but there are some differences between those parties:
1. Socialist Arab Ba’th Party: No analysis of the position adopted by the Socialist Arab Ba’th Party, the largest Pan-Arab party in Jordan, can be provided away from its historical relationship with its fraternal Ba’th Party in Iraq.The Socialist Arab Ba’th Party position on the Bahrain events does not differ from its position on any other Arab Movement; but. This big “but” is limited to the perils of foreign interference. It follows then that the Ba’th Party advocates the Bahraini People’s Movement on the basis of the Party’s belief in the Bahraini people’s right to life and democracy, but within the framework of maintaining the Arabism of Bahrain against any Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain. The Ba’th Party has participated in all the activities supportive of the Bahraini Movement, and signed along with the remaining Opposition Parties all the statements issued by the Coordination Committee of the Opposition Parties.
2. Progressive Ba’th Party: Again no analysis of this party’s position can be provided in isolation from the Party’s relationship with its fraternal Ba’th Party in Syria. In fact, this Party is a staunch supporter of the Movement in Bahrain without any reservations and without “but” in line with the other Jordanian Opposition Parties.
3. Democratic Pan-Arab Movement: The Democratic Pan-Arab Movement, which used at the beginning of its establishment to consider the Green Book as a cresset for Pan-Arab guidance, participated and adopted a position on the Bahraini Movement in conformity with the other Jordanian Opposition Parties, and signed along with its Coordination Committee all the statements which such Opposition Parties have issued.
Leftist Parties Position:
Most Leftist Parties in Jordan are an extension of the Palestinian Factions and have stemmed therefrom, in the sense that the Jordanian Popular Unity Party members used to work in Jordan previously within the framework of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine which was founded by George Habash, and the Democratic people’s Party members also used to activists in the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine which Nayef Hawatema has founded.
These two parties along with the Jordan Communist Party represent the largest parties of the Leftist Current in Jordan. All these parties adopt a position supportive of the Bahraini Movement and participate in the popular activities advocating such Movement, and all these parties sign the statements issued by the Coordination Committee of the Opposition Parties. Yet, the Leftist Parties have issued separate statements indicating their position in support of the Movement in Bahrain.
The Coordination Committee of the Jordanian Opposition parties, including the largest opposition parties in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan of Leftist, Pan-Arab and Islamic tendencies (i.e. Popular Unity Party “Wehdah”; Islamic Action Front “Muslim Brotherhood”; Jordan Communist Party; Democratic People’s Party, Socialist Ba’th Arab party, an affiliate of the Iraqi Wing; Ba’th Progressive Party, an affiliate of the Syrian Wing; and the Democratic Pan-Arab Movement, persistently continued to issue statements in support of the Arab Movements including the Bahrain Movement.
The first statements used to be signed by the Muslim Brotherhood Group, like other parties; but after positions between the Islamists and the other parties on events in Bahrain and Syria became widely apart, a rift took place in the Coordinatory Committee reflecting also on their coordination even in terms of managing the Jordanian Movement. Thus, the Jordanian Opposition has retained two trenches: Islamists against the Bahrain Movement and strongly for the Syrian Movement; other Opposition Parties combined of Leftists and Pan-Arabs for the Bahrain Movement and against the Movement in Syria.
Nevertheless, the statements which the Higher Coordination Committee of the Opposition Parties has issued expressed the common denominators between the Jordanian Opposition Parties towards the Arab Movements, in general and the Bahrain Movement, in particular. Those statements can be summed up as follows:
1. Condemn Jordan’s participation in the Western military interference for overthrowing the dictatorial Libyan Leader: Muammar Gaddafi
2. Condemn participation by Jordanian troops in repressing the Bahraini Popular Movement on the grounds of keeping the Jordanian Army away from such involvement because Jordan’s main enemy is originally the Israeli enemy.
3. Warn against going back to the axes square thereby taking Jordan away from its Pan-Arab dimension and distancing the aspirations and hopes of the Jordanian people, who are by nature of Pan-Arab, unionist and Arabist inclinations, from leading support to the aspirations and hopes of the Arab peoples towards freedom and democracy.
However, no remarkable statement has recently been issued by the Jordanian Parties on Bahrain, perhaps because of what is believed to be relative calm prevailing there and outbreak of protests in Syria, yielding more impact on the situation in Jordan. One exception is the statement issued by the Jordanian Communist Party on the occasion of the periodical meeting held by the Central Committee in which the Communist Party has reaffirmed its former position on events in Bahrain(18).
Trade Unions Position:
Jordan Trade unions constitute the backyard for the Jordanian Political Parties, and in particular for the Opposition; to the extent that during the time of the martial law whose end was declared in early 1990, the trade unions used to act in place of parties in terms of calling for festivals, strikes, and marches to be staged. In fact, trade unions used to be viewed as fortresses of freedom in Jordan.
In the Martial Laws Era (1957-1990), the majority of the Boards of Directors were in the hands of the Pan-Arab and Leftist Forces. However, after the year 1990, the balance of power differed in the sense that it would be impossible for all the trade unions to agree on stance especially towards foreign issues of which the Bahrain events are but one of such issues. The trade unions, which are dominated by the Islamists such as the Engineers Association, Pharmacists Association, and the Bar Association, adopt a position secondary to that of the Muslim Brotherhood Group, Physicians Association, Chartered Accountants Association, and Agronomists Association. So, Trade Unions position follows that of the Pan-Arab and Leftist Parties.
Intelligentsia and Writers position:
In view of the difficulty of reaching a unanimous agreement among the intelligentsia, writers and literary authors who are torn between various regulatory organizations such as the Writers Association whose management is dominated by the Pan-Arabs and Leftists, Writers Union whose management is dominated by the current closest to the Regime, and the National Societies with managements of diverse loyalties divided between the different political forces and currents, met to sign a memorandum(19) demanding the Arab League to cancel the choice of Manama as the capital of Arab Culture for the year 2012 on the grounds that its people are “desperately suffering under the agony of weapons and tear and poisonous gases along with racial discrimination, and hundreds of Bahrainis have been exposed to threats, hassles, torture, coercive detention, imprisonment, and loss of jobs.”
As a result of the ongoing persecution of writers and intelligentsia figures in Bahrain at the hands of the authorities, according to the Memorandum, the signatories thereto urged Dr. Nabeel Al Arabi/Secretary General of the Arab League to cancel choice of al Manama as the Capital of Arab Culture for the year 2012, especially as freedoms and violation of rights contradict the criteria of choosing the cultural capitals.
Legislative Authority Position:
It is no longer a secret that the parliamentary elections in Jordan for the years 2007 and 2010 were forged according to the confessions made by government officials who assumed responsible positions in that period. This means that the Jordan Parliament position on the different issues necessarily reflects the position of the executive authority, simply because it does not honestly express representation of the Jordanian people of all spectra. In this context, the statement made by the Jordan House of Deputies, on the Bahrain events, calling on the Bahraini people to respond to the initiative of the King of Bahrain, can be understood. In line with the Government position, the statement by the House of Deputies rejected any illegitimate interference in the internal affairs of other countries, in general, and the Kingdom of Bahrain, in particular.
In view of the aforementioned considerations, we can see that the positions of the Jordanian political forces on the Bahrain Events are governed by foreign determinants at the expense of the objective principles and stances. At a time when the Jordan “Brotherhood”, largest Opposition party, find reaching a new Elections Law warranting considerable representation for them reflecting their Street presence, and at a time when they have staged, each Friday for more than a year, demonstrations denouncing corruption and demanding to hold the corrupt accountable, and calling for enactment of laws to insure accession by Governments, elected by and representative of the people, to reign, the Jordanian political forces deny such claims by the Bahraini people, and put themselves in the Government trench supportive of the rule in Bahrain. In the meantime, such forces are entrenched on the side of the Syrian Movement confronting the “Alawite” regime, thereby adopting for the first time in their recent history a political position based on sectarian backgrounds, and putting themselves within the Western, Turkish and Gulf coalition.
Bt the same token, the Pan-Arab and Leftist parties adopt contradictory positions on the Arab Movements. While these parties are advocates of the Bahrain Movement, they stand against the Syrian Movement; but the position of Leftist and Pan-Arab parties here is not based on sectarian grounds, but rather on political grounds related to entrenchment on the side of the “Opposition” forces in confronting the axis of the States of “moderation”. Yet, this position might appear to be standing on the side of dictatorship in Syria.
Divisions in the positions of Opposition Parties on events in Bahrain and Syria have yielded a negative impact on the fields of coordination towards enhancing the Jordanian Movement, thereby leading to slower progression and leaving such Movement with pressure no longer effective and sufficient to the extent of achieving rapid reforms in Jordan.
Alghad Newspaper, Al Khasawneh: Political Congestion in Jordan Attributable to forged Elections, and Key to Reform is To Conduct Fair Elections, 21/2/2012. “http://alghad.com/index.php/article/532168.html” http://alghad.com/index.php/article/532168.html
“Ain News Websit”: Jordan calls on Bahraini Opposition for Dialogue with the Government, 22/2/2011.
Khabar Jo Website: New Jordanian Batch of Gendarmerie to Arrive from Bahrain, Resentment among the Families Caused by Injuries which their Sons Suffered, 10/3/2011.
Bahrain Mirror Website. Jordan Sources: 3 Thousand Jordanian Gendarmerie Forces in Bahrain in Saudi Army Uniform.
5. Whajnews, Taher Al Udwan: No (Jordanian Gendarmerie) Forces To Bahrain, 15/3/2011.
Addiwan Newspaper, Al Halayqa Denies Presence of Gendarmerie Forces in Bahrain and a Bahraini Officer Affirms to Addiwan: At Least 500 Jordanian Gendarmerie Troops Are Ther, 9/3/2011.
Watn, Al Tawalbeh: No Jordanian Gendarmerie Forces are Present in Bahrain, 30/9/2011.
Ash Sharq Awsat Newspaper, Bahraini Foreign Minister: No Military Objectives For Annexing Jordan and Morocco to the GCC, 19/5/2011.
Aljazeera Net. Wikileaks: Jordan Fighting in Afghanestan, 10/2/2011.
Saraya news, Cancellation of Jordanians in Bahraini Police, 27/9/2011.
Alwasat, “Fact-finding” Recommends ((Governement-National) Committee to Implement Its Recommendations 24/11/2011.
Deeretna News Agency, In Rejection of Jordanian Interference Against Bahraini revolution: An Invitation for Strike Before Bahraini Embassy, 1/9/2011.
Al Akhbar, Jordanian Demonstration Against the Bahraini…. King,6/9/2011.
Almustaqbal, Public Security “Warns Against Strikes” Before Embassies, 12/9/2011.
“Islamic Action” Welcomes Declaration on National Front.
15. Islamic Action Front Party Website, 22/5/2011 For reform.
16. Muslim Brethren Website, General Controller: Our Relations With Iran Have Changed After Its Support for the Syrian Regime: 22/5/2011.
17. Fuad Hussein, “Future of Islamic Movements”, Working Paper Submitted to Workshop Held by the Political Studies Centre in the University of Jordan, 18/2/2012.
18. Website of the Jordan Communist Party, Statement by the Party Central Committee, (16 January 2012).
“http://www.jocp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2565&Itemi” http://www.jocp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2565&Itemi d=81
19. Addustour Jordanian Newspaper, Jordanian Intelligentsia Call for Cancelling Choice of “Manam As Capital of Arab Culture 2012” 5/12/2011.
20. Almadenahnews, House of Deputies Reject Any Interference in Bahrain Affairs, 19/3/2011.