Are the Jordanian demonstrations a sign of a new episode of the Arab Spring, or, on the contrary, are they a means of pressuring King Abdallah II to accept the US plan for Palestine ?
At the beginning of June, Jordan was shaken by a week of peaceful demonstrations against a project for a fiscal law which planned for a rise in taxes of between 5 % and 25 % for all persons with an annual salary of more than 8,000 dinars ($11,245). The demonstrators, whose quality of life had suffered greatly from the consequences of the Western war against Syria, demanded, and obtained, the resignation of the Prime Minister and the withdrawal of the project for law.
In reality, the Kingdom hardly had a choice – the plan was in conformity with the engagements taken in 2016 during the subscription for a loan from the International Monetary Fund. It had been rejected several times because of the war, and had only been presented when Parliament was closing. Its modification would have supposed a complete change of economic policy, which is not on the agenda. The only solution would be to obtain financial support from Saudi Arabia in order to reimburse the debt.
Numerous medias have advanced the possibility of a new episode of the « Arab Spring ». This is not likely - in 2011, the demonstrations came to an end by themselves, without recourse to violence. All it needed was for the united front of the early days to collapse, and the Islamists would have broken with the secular groups. This is perfectly logical when we consider the Kingdom’s links with the British and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Let’s not forget that far from being a spontaneous movement, the « Arab Spring » was an operation by MI6, planned since 2004-2005, in order to put the Muslim Brotherhood in power, on the model of what the British secret services had already organised in 1915 with Lawrence of Arabia (the « Great Arab Revolt ») . Yet Jordan had always controlled the Brotherhood at home - the national Honorary Guide was Prince Hassan, the King’s uncle. Today, the Kingdom continues to enjoy excellent relations with Hamas (which declared itself the « Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood »). It was for this reason, during the « Arab Spring », that the Brotherhood did not demand the « fall of the régime », as it did everywhere else, but instead called for a government composed of its members.
After that, Jordan joined the counter-revolutionary camp by becoming an « associate » of the Gulf Cooperation Council, (despite the reticence of Kuwaït, which still reproached Jordan for having supported its invasion by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1990).
The demonstrations of early June were justified at the local level, but needed specific support in order to be held in a now authoritarian country.
These demonstrations perhaps constitute pressure brought to bear on Amman before the presentation by the White House of its plan for peace in Palestine. Let’s remember that the Kingdom has always considered itself the kingdom of the Palestinians, and that King Abdallah II is the « protector » of the holy Muslim sites in Jerusalem and the « guardian » of the holy Christian sites in the Holy City (a title which was recognised by Pope Jean-Paul II in 2000). Until the beginning of the application of the Oslo agreements, Jordan assured the administrative management of the West Bank (even though it has been occupied by Israël since the Six-Day War). Yasser Arafat himself had envisaged paying allegiance to the monarchy. At least three quarters of Jordanians are Palestinians. Only the remaining quarter is composed of native Bedouins.
Currently, all the regional powers are attempting to gain a foothold in Palestine. For example, Turkey is trying to steal the Islamic Jihad from Iran. At the same time, the United States and Israël are trying to pressure each of the protagonists.
Whatever the plan drawn up by Jared Kushner, the special advisor and son-in-law of President Donald Trump, Jordan will have to play a part. Currently, many documents, some of which have never been published, are being released from the archives. It appears that the creation of the capital of an independent state for the Palestinians in Abous Dis has already been discussed. According to the Partition Plan for Palestine, in 1947, Abous Dis is a neighbourhood of the city of Jerusalem. and during the Oslo Agreements, Yasser Arafat’s second in command, Mahmoud Abbas (his current successor), agreed to the idea of establishing the capital of Palestine there. In fact, at that time, the Palestinian Authority had already begun the construction of the future Parliament in Abous Dis. However, the « peace process » got bogged down - this point was never ratified, and the work was interrupted. To return to our discussion, the Israëlis isolated Abous Dis from the rest of the city with a wall, while the Palestinians, considering that it is only a tiny part of Jerusalem, demanded half of the city. In any case, it is not impossible that Jordan could become the Palestinian state with a double capital, Amman and Abou Dis. In this case, the question of the type of régime will be asked once again – Kingdom or Republic?