July 28, 1998 I wrote an article entitled THE FALL OF JORDAN (see on our web sites: www.gamla.org.il & http://freeman.io.com). I opined that, upon the passing of the throne of King Hussein to his brother Crown Prince Hassan, there would be a bloody civil war in Jordan, with the Palestinians taking over the Kingdom as the enlarged "State of Palestine".
There was an immediate flush of counter PR to the effect that everything was going to be fine. My conclusions are already being borne out. It was just reported that Iraqi and Syrian agents were detained for testing the security of Jordan in the King's absence during his chemotherapy in America. Further, several armed Syrian agents were caught organizing and arming groups in Jordanian refugees camps (read: Palestinians). In addition, similar cells were being established by Iraqis with arms and money. Crown Prince Hassan contacted King Hussein in America being treated for cancer who advised Hassan not to make a formal protest to Syria.
What does all this mean? My earlier projection was that since Jordan already 70% Palestinian with many Arafat loyalists previously ejected into Jordan from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War, they were ready to take over Jordan. Arafat and the PA having been encouraged by Israel's Labor government to think in terms of a Palestinian State in Israel were now ready to expand that thought. While a small Palestinian State on the West Bank was a good first stepping stone, why settle for just a small enclave when they could have a full-size State just by taking over Jordan? With a full size State, they could have a full size army and be equal to Syria, Iraq or any other Arab nation.
Since Arafat had already made firm agreements in the past with Saddam Hussein to use his 300,000 Palestinians workers in Kuwait to help Saddam take over that nation, why not continue the arrangement and request a reverse assistance to have Saddam help Arafat take over Jordan? From the reports, this is now in operation. Then, there is Syria. Hafez al Assad does not like Arafat but, there are certain short term agreements you can make with your worst enemy. Syria would like to see King Hussein's monarchy overthrown with Jordan merged into Greater Syria. If you recall, Syria tried to invade Jordan in September 1970, only to be turned back by an Israeli threat to hit Syria's advancing armor column. For Assad, nothing has changed and that option remains open.
But, if the King's government was overthrown by a civil war initiated by the Palestinians (resident Arabs), then there were new opportunities to be exploited. Israel, having been de-clawed by the Labor Party government, in collusion with American Arabists, are unlikely to either engage in fighting a civil war in defense of King Hassan of Jordan, nor will they later fight a war with Syria as it takes over what the Palestinians thought would be their "Greater State of Palestine".
The Americans will not send troops because they couldn't/wouldn't fight their new Palestinian pals, nor would they send troops to fight Syria whom they have been assiduously courting for many years. Israel will now be stuck with a very long eastern border, held either by a hostile Palestinian State or later a hostile Syrian State. Either way Israel loses.
Jordan is nation whose bones are about to be picked clean. Don't expect the thinkers of Israel to think long range. They will stop at a point where the scenario ends on high note and will refuse to go further. Wye not? Whatever bravado Israel may have once had, evaporated with the politization of her officers' corps by the Labor/Meretz parties and obsequious submission by her leaders to American and European Arabists.
Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East analyst &
commentator and a research associate of the Freeman Center For