According to a July 9 article in Al Monitor, Jordan may be reversing its long-standing policy of tolerance towards the Muslim Brotherhood.
The government recently boycotted the 4th general conference of the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Islamic Action Front, and did not allow the group to hold their meetings in any government or private buildings, forcing them instead to hold the meeting in a tent.
This comes at a time of growing vulnerability for the Kingdom of Jordan, which is threatened by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq on its northeastern border, by the ongoing civil war in Syria on its northern border, and by the Israeli/Gaza conflict on the western border.
On June 23rd, ISIS militants captured Turabil, the only legal border crossing between Jordan and Iraq, and Iraqi security forces abandoned the site. In addition, an estimated 2,000 Jordanians are fighting with Al Nusra and the Islamic State, a number that is said be growing daily.
While the Muslim Brotherhood has been allowed to operate openly in Jordan, King Abdullah has made no secret of his criticism of the organization. In a March 2013 interview published in The Atlantic, King Abdullah II said the Muslim Brotherhood is run by “…wolves in sheep’s clothing,” and, according to the article, he suggested the Brotherhood “wants to impose its retrograde vision of society and anti-western politics on the Muslim Middle East.” He went on to to say,” This is our major fight – to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from conniving their way into power across the region.”
Jordan has not yet gone so far as to ban the Muslim Brotherhood or to declare it a terrorist organization, as its neighbors Saudi Arabia and Egypt have done, but this recent move marks a definite hardening of the official Jordanian attitude towards the Brotherhood.
Katie Gorka is the President of the Council for Global Security.