How Jordan’s King Has Hung On
“Protests in the Jordanian capital Amman reached a boiling point last month when thousands of demonstrators called for King Abdullah’s ouster, prompting American experts to predict the regime was headed for collapse. Shadi Hamid at the Brookings Institution, among numerous others, said the Obama Administration’s support for Amman was ‘not on the right side of history.’ Inside Jordan itself, a prominent activist predicted the king would ape ex-dictators in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya by violently cracking down on the protesters.
All of this was grave news for the United States and especially Israel: One of only two Arab countries to have formal relations with the Jewish state, Jordan has long provided intelligence assistance, political cover and mediation with Palestinians and other Arab states, and calm along Israel’s longest border. As Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren recently noted in these pages, the overthrow of Jordan’s monarchy would be a disaster for the Jewish state. ‘Jordan is what keeps Iran out of our backyard,’ he said. So, Israel and the United States braced themselves for the worst.”