Reports have been emerging about a meeting between Jordan’s King Abdallah II and “personalities affiliated with the pan-Arab and leftist trends” held at the house of former deputy prime minister Rajai al-Muashir on 10 December. Participants in the meeting have revealed to the pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper that the king launched a strong attack on “two Arab states and a regional country”, accusing them of wanting to establish “a new extremist alliance”.
The countries forming the “extremist alliance” were not specified in the al-Hayat report, but it went on to report some vitriolic comments by the king about Egypt. He accused Egypt’s President Mursi of marginalizing Jordan in the negotiations to stop the recent Gaza violence, and he said that Jordan has been “greatly harmed” by recurring interruptions in the supply of Egyptian gas.
The king also threatened Egypt, saying: “Amman has cards through which it can send messages to Cairo, including the fact that there are 500,000 Egyptians working in Jordan, and the Kingdom is the only route for the Egyptian vegetables exported to Iraq, and there are tens of thousands of Egyptians who work in the Gulf states and use the Nuwaybi-Aqaba line in their travel.”
According to Jordan’s Labour Minister Nidal al-Qatamin, thousands of Egyptian workers have been detained in recent days for violation of residency regulations, and up to 2,000 have been deported to Egypt.
But Egypt is not without its own cards, in addition to the gas weapon. The Hashemite regime in Amman is struggling to dampen down demands for reform – which means a reduction in the power of the king’s bedrock Bedouin support in favour of the country’s Palestinians and the Islamic Action Front (IAF), which is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood now in power in Egypt.
From: Courcy’s Intelligence Service, c/o Intelligence Research Ltd, 61 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HW. Email: editorial@ courcyint.com. Phone: 020-7251-0012