From all indicators at present, the Arab Spring that promised freedom and peace but delivered bondage and heavy-handedness throughout the Middle East is poised to show itself in Jordan beginning on Nov. 30.
The National Front for Reform, led by Jordanian PM Ahmad Obeidat, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a youth movement called “November Rising,” are calling for protests and demonstrations to undermine the powers of King Abdullah II.
Having learned from watching the actual Arab Spring unfold in other countries during 2011 and into 2012, Jordanian officials quickly responded to the planned demonstrations by sealing off main roads and streets of the capital, as well as other “sensitive areas.”
Islamists who plan to demonstrate say these attempts to quell the protesters is a feeble attempt by authorities “to reduce the number of participants in the demonstrations.”
Some important things to note: Jordan’s market is the freest in the region, it has a free trade agreement with the U.S., it has a pro-American regime (American queen), and Jordan has a solid, peaceful diplomatic relationship with Israel. This means Jordan is going to be a true test of Obama’s foreign policy prowess.
You’ll recall that Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, while not ideal in many respects, was a pro-Western leader whom Obama opposed when the Arab Spring reached Egypt. Since then, we’ve seen the Muslim Brotherhood secure Egypt’s presidency in the person of Mohamed Morsi, and we’ve seen Morsi declare near unlimited powers for himself in that country.
We saw Obama encourage the uprising in Libya, where we used our military to topple Gaddafi, only to then quickly leave the country and allow various groups of Islamists to restructure things their way. As a result, we had the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, which ended with the deaths of four Americans at the hands of the attackers, and even now the northern portion of Africa grows worse and worse.
Jordanian PM Obeidat says the National Front for Reform has no interest in “gambling with the country’s stability and security.” However, he also said that in the event they are not allowed to protest different tactics may be required. “We will cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said.
If ever Obama was going to side with an ally in a show of solidarity for that nation’s current ruler, this is that time.