Jordan vents anger at Israel

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Last week the Jordanian military conducted a wide-ranging exercise, part of which addressed the scenario of an invasion of Jordan from the west, to be foiled by blowing up the Jordan River bridges. Representatives of the palace watched the exercise, some of which was also broadcast on television.

Which mysterious, unnamed country is threatening the kingdom from the west? The exercise meshes with the clear anti-Israel rhetoric being heard recently in the Jordanian media. King Abdullah is furious with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ever since he declared Israel’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley before the elections in September.

But these tensions also have domestic reasons. Abdullah is contending with pressures that are almost impossible to juggle. Jordan is still hosting more than half a million Syrian refugees, there is little financial help from Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria is not realizing Jordan’s hope of renewing the trade route with Turkey through its territory.

Abdullah has also been forced to back down following mass demonstrations against tax hikes and an intense teachers strike.

Raising the tension with Israel, therefore, is a bone being thrown to the opposition. Israel has actually received messages to this effect from the palace: Our anger with you is real, but some of the public steps we’re taking stem from domestic constraints.

Originally posted at haaretz.com


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