I can’t think of any nation that has a worse record picking winners than Jordan. In 1967, it joined with Nasser in the coalition that set out to destroy Israel. King Hussein’s troops, it is said by Isrealis, fought more bravely than any other members of the Arab coalition, but they were trounced nonetheless. In 1973, when Jordan’s participation might have tipped the balance against Israeli forces reeling from Sadat’s surprise attack, King Hussein elected to stay on the sidelines. In the 1991 Gulf War, Jordan cast its lot with Saddam Hussein. But Jordan has not paid a heavy price for its seeming lack of acumen. For example, its 1991 decision was arguably the correct one, since Saddam Hussein remained in power after the war and Jordan continued to get 90,000 barrels of Iraqi oil per day at cut rate prices. And Jordan got the most important thing right years ago when it butchered Palestinian forces within its borders, and drove the Palestinians out of Jordanian territory.
Now King Hussein is gone and his son, King Abdallah II, is in power. In this piece for National Review Online, Amir Taheri notes that Jordan is backing the U.S. against Saddam Hussein this time. In exchange, Abdallah will insist on a substantial role in the affairs of the new Iraq. More ominously, he will press the U.S. to push for the creation of a Palestinian state by the end of 2005. Indeed, Taheri speculates that Jordan has already extracted promises from President Bush in this regard. After the 1991 war, the first President Bush did the bidding of the Palestinians and Jordanians with respect to Israel even though both parties had sided against the U.S. Will the current President Bush coerce Israel into another sham peace process following the upcoming war, in which Jordan appears ready to take a pro-American position?
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
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