The pledge made yesterday [Oct. 9] by Zaki Bani Rasheid, deputy leader of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, to resume pumping Egyptian gas to Jordan has caused discomfort within various governing institutions in Amman, as well as within the Global Guidance Office. The Cairo-based office is considered the highest regulatory body in the widely spread Brotherhood group.
The pledge came after a "surprising" invitation made to the group by Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. This invitation includes an explicit request to intervene with the parent group and resume pumping gas to the kingdom in quantities agreed upon by the two countries.
An explosion most recently hit the pipeline providing Jordan and Israel with Egyptian natural gas on July 22 — the 15th such attack since February 2011.
Al-Hayat learned from Jordanian official sources that the Brotherhood’s pledge to resume gas flow led state authorities to reprimand Judeh, prompting him to issue a statement explaining that “[Jordan] received Egyptian assurances of the highest levels to examine the process of resuming pumping Egyptian gas to the kingdom in the quantities agreed upon by the two countries.”
Al-Hayat also learned that the Brotherhood’s pledge has caused a state of embarrassment with its Egyptian branch, which repeatedly stressed its non-interference in the running of Egypt, led by President Mohammed Morsi, who is from the group.
This seemingly prompted leaders in the Guidance Office to communicate with their Jordanian counterparts and ask them to back down on the said mediation for the moment, according to Jordanian Brotherhood sources interviewed by Al-Hayat.
But the group's leadership denied this information and issued a statement saying that "prompting the Egyptian government to re-pump gas no longer has a place after the two governments agreed to solve the problem.”
Rasheid had told Al-Hayat yesterday that "a Brotherhood delegation headed by [Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood] General Comptroller Hammam Said will leave to Cairo to discuss supplying Jordan with Egyptian gas upon the request of the Jordanian foreign minister.”
A website close to the Jordanian government linked the Brotherhood's canceled visit to Cairo with a decision by the Global Guidance Office to dissolve the current leadership of the group in Jordan and replace it with a new office that includes representatives of various Brotherhood movements. This was, however, denied by Rasheid, who told Al-Hayat that "these are false reports.”
Active sources in the Jordanian [Brotherhood] confirmed to Al-Hayat that a number of those known as the "Brotherhood Elders," called on the Guidance Office to intervene with the current leadership to discourage it from boycotting the elections scheduled for early next year, criticizing its insistence on setting the constitutional amendments as a condition to participate in the vote.
Brotherhood leaders interviewed by Al-Hayat explained: "The Global Guidance office did not hesitate during the past period to urge the group to contest the next parliamentary elections and reach satisfactory understandings between [the group] and the authorities.”
Brotherhood elections and political money
These leaders revealed complaints to the Brotherhood in Egypt on the part of a the "Brotherhood Elders" committee, which included skepticism about the election results that brought the current leadership [in Jordan] to power.
They also accused [the leadership] of resorting to "political money" in a bid to influence [the Brotherhood]. Al-Hayat learned that the Guidance Office, which does not have the authority to dissolve the leadership of Jordan's Brotherhood, had been advised to elect a new leadership in order to solve the internal division.
Al-Hayat published two days ago [Oct. 8] details of an initiative advanced by the "Brotherhood Elders," which included plans to dissolve the current leadership controlled by hardliners and sought to "improve the conditions of negotiations" with the state. [This would allow the Brotherhood] to participate in the parliamentary elections, by scheduling their "reformist" demands and settling for amendments to the electoral law.
Islamists who boycotted the parliamentary elections in 2010 are demanding constitutional amendments that would encroach upon the powers of Jordanian King Abdullah II.
King Abdullah had said last September that the "Brotherhood is dramatically miscalculating" by boycotting the elections.