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Jordan Snared in Syrian Crisis

The Syria war is complicating King Abdullah’s plans for stability and reform, writes Jean-Loup Samaan
U.S. President Barack Obama walks with Jordan's King Abdullah II to a ceremony at Al Hummar Palace in Amman March 22, 2013.    REUTERS/Larry Downing  (JORDAN - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3FC1J

The Atlantic magazine's March article by journalist Jeffrey Goldberg focused on Jordan’s strategic challenges. Based on an extensive interview with King Abdullah II, the article intended to tell the story of a reformist Arab monarch. But intentionally or not, it engendered a huge controversy in Amman. The portrait of Abdullah painted by Goldberg is one of a king despising the Jordanian tribal leaders, calling them "the old dinosaurs." The king described the Muslim Brotherhood as "a Masonic cult," adding that "there’s no depth to [Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi]."

Goldberg’s story was followed by an official statement of the Royal Palace claiming that the journalist had misinterpreted the king’s comments, although it did not contest the accuracy of the quotes. In the midst of the Syrian war, this public controversy brought to mind the brewing concerns in the West about Jordan’s destiny after the Arab Spring. Specifically, there are increasing worries in the US and Israel on the risks that the collapse of the Hashemite kingdom would constitute for Middle East stability.

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