Jordan: King Abdullah Losing the Support of Tribes?
The Jordanian tribe is now planning a huge rally against Israel, with whom it has a peace treaty. Other tribes have been invited to join the rally, posing a major and unprecedented challenge to the monarchy.
Walid Obeidat, Jordan's new ambassador to Israel, a member of one of Jordan's largest and most influential tribes, deserves an award for being one of the most courageous diplomats not only in his country, but in the entire Arab world.
His tribe has now "disowned" him because he agreed to serve as ambassador to Israel, which has a peace treaty with Jordan.
This is a particularly harsh punishment: it means that Obeidat would no longer enjoy the backing of his tribe.
Clans often "disown" one of their members when he or she is involved in an extremely serious crime or an act of treason.
It also means that he and his wife and children would be boycotted by the tribe for the rest of their lives.
Obeidat is courageous not only because he decided openly to challenge his tribe, but also for rejecting a $5 million bribe that was offered to him by the tribe in return for turning down the offer.
The tribe had also offered to nominate him as as its candidate in the upcoming parliamentary election, but Obeidat insisted on rejecting that offer, as well.
A defiant Obeidat is set to assume his new job this week after presenting his credentials to President Shimon Peres.
"By accepting this post, he has crossed all the red lines," the Obeidat tribe said in a statement published last week. "The tribe was and remains loyal to the liberation of all Palestinian land, from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea."
The Jordanian tribe is now planning a huge rally against Israel that will coincide with the ambassador's arrival in Tel Aviv. Other tribes have been invited to join the rally, posing a major and unprecedented challenge to the monarchy.
By coming out against the decision to appoint a new ambassador to Israel, the Obeidat tribe is openly challenging King Abdullah and questioning his policies and decisions.
The Obeidat's response to the appointment of the new ambassador is a sign of increased tensions between Jordan's King Abdullah II and the kingdom's Bedouin tribes.
This is not about hating Israel as much as it is about King Abdullah losing the traditional support and loyalty of his kingdom's tribes.
Some of these tribes have recently come out in public against the beleaguered monarch, who is already facing strong criticism for failing to implement meaningful reforms and combat rampant corruption.
Yet these tribes have also stopped the Jordanian authorities from taking legal action against members who are suspected of corruption and other crimes.
Some of the tribes, according to sources in Amman, have formed alliances with the king's Muslim Brotherhood rivals, who are spearheading the current wave of anti-government protests in Jordan.
There is nothing that King Abdullah can do at this stage other than attempt to "compensate" or "appease" his erstwhile supporters, probably by offering them financial aid and government jobs.
If the king fails to do so, his kingdom will be headed toward more instability in the coming weeks and months.
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by Pierre Rehov
For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.
In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.
There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.
"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.
"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.
"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.
"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.
"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.
by Soeren Kern
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
by Shoshana Bryen
Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.
"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.
"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.
by Irfan Al-Alawi
"Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi" is Abu Du'a, a follower of the late Osama Bin Laden. By adding the name "Al-Qurayshi" in his current alias, he is also seeking to affirm descent from Muhammad.
The allegation of theological sovereignty over all Sunnis extends to Indonesia and Morocco. The idea that the borders between Syria and Iraq will be dissolved by the new "caliphate" defies all Islamic theology and history. As the Qur'an states, "Allah "made the nations and tribes different." (49:13) Syria and Iraq have been distinct for millennia.
The "Islamic State" seeks to obliterate these diverse identities by expelling or killing all Shias and Sunni Sufis. And it does not invoke the Ottoman caliphate in its propaganda, demonstrating decisively the fake nature of the "Islamic State."
A caliphate is obsolete and the "Islamic State" is totalitarian. All Sunnis need to repudiate them soundly, even by force of arms.