King Husain: a loyal royal

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Rajab 15, 1418 1997-11-16

Occupied Arab World

by Crescent International (Occupied Arab World, Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 18, Rajab, 1418)

In the west, king Husain of Jordan is projected as a plucky little monarch battling enormous odds. His kingdom sandwiched between Israel on the one side and Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia on the other, is in a precarious position. It neither has enormous oil deposits, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, nor a large standing army, like Syria and Iraq. At home, the king has to constantly juggle between competing interests, trying to maintain his hold on power as he keeps others off-balance. But why does the west find him so attractive?

The answer lies as much in Jordan’s history and geography as it does in the role played by the family of king Husain. Jordan, an artificial State, was carved out of the former Ottoman wilaya in Palestine and given to one of the sons of Sherif Husain of Makkah - Abdullah - by the British. The Sherif had to be placated because the British had reneged on their promise to make him king of all the Arabs for helping with the Arab revolt against the Ottomans. His other son, Faisal, was installed as the king of Iraq. The Iraqi monarchy was overthrown in 1958 but the Hashemites have maintained their grip on power in Jordan uninterrupted.

This is because the family has been a willing tool of western powers as well as their ward, Israel. Husain bin Talal was only 17 years old when the British placed on the throne in 1952 after his father was declared insane. His grandfather, Abdullah, was shot dead in 1951 when word leaked out that he had offered to recognize Israel. King Husain has assiduously worked towards this goal all his life. His close relations with Israel were revealed when he signed the peace treaty in October 1994 but his subservience to the west, especially the Americans, was revealed as early as 1977 by then president Jimmy Carter who said that Husain had been paid a regular stipend to provide information to the US spy agency, the CIA.

There are a number of other facts about his life that Muslims ought to know. While Jordan participated in the June 1967 war, it was Husain who was instrumental in instigating the war in the first place at the behest of the CIA and Israel. Throughout 1966 and early 1967, Jordan Radio taunted Egyptain president Gamal Abdel Nasser about his claim to liberate Paletine while his army took refuge behind United Nations troops at Sharm el-Sheikh. Nasser fell into the trap and asked the UN to remove its two brigades from the Egyptian-Israel border. UN secretary general U-Thant ordered all UN forces to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula leaving the Egyptain army totally exposed. Nasser did not want to go to war; his army was not prepared to fight Israel. Both the Americans and the Israelis knew this, hence the war thrust upon him. Husain’s participation in the war resulted in his troops abandoning Jerusalem as well as the entire West Bank to the Israelis, without much of a fight.

His betrayal did not end there. From 1967 to 1970, while he could not prevent Palestinian attacks against Israel from across the Jordan River, he provided regular information about their activities to the Zionists. In September 1970, he launched a brutal assault on the Palestinians killing thousands of them and forcing the rest to flee to Lebanon. In October 1973, Husain warned Israel 48 hours before the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal. It was Israeli arrogance which prevented them from taking the warning seriously. Husain has done other favours to his Israeli allies. Apart from publicly shedding tears at Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral on November 6, 1995, he has allowed the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, to operate from their embassy in Amman. It was these agents who nearly killed Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal on September 25, 1997.

Since that episode, Husain has reportedly expressed anger with the Israelis. Yet barely two weeks earlier, he had entertained the Mossad chief Danny Yotam and his family on his yacht. They stayed at Husain’s palace in Aqaba. Despite such close personal relations, Husain insists that he did not know about Mossad’s attempt on Meshal’s life. Two years earlier, Mossad agents had shot and killed Dr Fathi Shiqaqi, head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in Malta. After that terrorist act by the Zionists, why did Husain allow Mossad agents to continue to operate in Amman under diplomatic cover?

Husain is kept in power because he serves western/Zionist interests. It was David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, who had said that Arab regimes are Israel’s first line of defence. Jordan’s king Husain is a primary example of this.

Muslimedia: November 16-30, 1997

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