King Abdullah Says No To Hamas
The sources said that the Qataris offered hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Jordan in return for allowing Hamas to open offices in the kingdom. By rejecting these requests, King Abdullah has shown that he has no intention to serve as a lifesaver for failed Islamists who are facing growing opposition from their own people in the Gaza Strip.
Jordan's King Abdullah has turned down a request from Hamas to re-open its offices in his country, according to informed sources in Amman.
The sources said that Qatar, one of the few Arab countries that continue to support Hamas, recently asked King Abdullah to allow Hamas to resume its activities in the kingdom.
The Jordanians banned Hamas in 1999 and stripped some of the Islamist movement's leaders, including Khaled Mashal, of their Jordanian citizenship.
Last year, however, relations between Jordan and Hamas seemed to be warming up as Mashal was permitted to visit Amman and hold talks with King Abdullah.
Hamas's hope that Mashal's visit would pave the way for the movement to return to Jordan have now been dashed as the monarch refused to allow the movement and its leaders to resume their activities there.
The sources said that the Qataris offered hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Jordan in return for allowing Hamas to open offices in the kingdom.
"King Abdullah turned down the Qatari offer," the sources said. "Jordan's policy toward Hamas remains unchanged."
The short-lived rapprochement between Hamas and Jordan was apparently linked to the king's fear of the Arab Spring, which saw the rise of Islamists in a number of Arab countries and emboldened the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.
By inviting Mashal and other Hamas leaders to Jordan last year, King Abdullah was seeking to appease the Muslim Brotherhood, whose supporters were behind a wave of protests demanding reform and an end to corruption in the kingdom.
The downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt and growing disillusionment with Islamists throughout the Arab world have given King Abdullah enough confidence to turn his back, once again, on Hamas and their allies in the kingdom.
The removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power has weakened and divided Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood. While some of the organization's leaders have called for reassessing their strategy in the wake of the failure of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, others have come out against King Abdullah for supporting the anti-Morsi "military coup."
The divisions inside Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood are seen as good news for King Abdullah and bad news for Hamas.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters are no longer staging weekly demonstrations throughout the kingdom to demand "reforms and democracy." The Arab Spring had triggered a series of rallies and marches that were organized by the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, prompting many political analysts to predict that that the countdown for regime change in Amman had begun.
At one point, King Abdullah expressed his concern over the Islamists' intentions when, in an interview with the Atlantic magazine, he described the Muslim Brotherhood as "wolves in sheep's clothing" and a "Masonic cult always loyal to their leader."
Hamas, meanwhile, appears to have lost not only their patrons in Egypt, but also their political allies in Jordan. Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip say they are fully aware of the "problems" facing the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan. "We can't rely on their support because they have been affected negatively by the Egyptian crisis," admitted a Hamas representative.
Hamas once had hopes that the Jordanian monarch would be foolish enough to allow the "wolves in sheep's clothing" to set foot in his country.
By rejecting requests to allow Hamas to return to Jordan, King Abdullah has shown that he has no intention to serve as lifesaver for failed Islamists who are facing growing opposition from their own people in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas is in big trouble and there is no reason why the Jordanians should come to the rescue. The downfall of Hamas will in fact serve the interest of the king and many Jordanians, as it will undoubtedly further undermine the Muslim Brotherhood in the kingdom.
Comment on this item
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Soeren Kern
Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.
by Samuel Westrop
Over 800 Iranians were executed during President Rouhani's first year in office.
Leading politicians, British government officials and businessmen nevertheless seemed happy to attend and speak at the Europe-Iran Forum.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.
The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.
What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.
by Steven J. Rosen
Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."
"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.
In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.