Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Jordan’s King Receives Harith al-Dhari

See the picture to believe it. And today’s accompanying news report (in Arabic).

Why is no one talking about al-Dhari’s recent on-air comments in support of al-Qaeda?

Here we have al-Dhari, who is wanted back in Baghdad for questioning over sectarian incitement and alleged complicity in acts of terror, getting the royal treatment. And in a couple of days, President Bush will arrive in Amman to be hosted by King Abdullah II of Jordan. Bush is supposed to meet Maliki there.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Maliki cancels his visit over the fact that Jordan is harboring (and honoring) a wanted fugitive?

This has ‘crisis’ and ‘diplomatic train wreck’ written all over it. If Maliki ignores it, he is humiliated. If Maliki challenges it to the point of a no-show in Amman, then Bush is humiliated. If Maliki challenges it to the point whereby the American arm-twist the Jordanians into some sort of apology, then King Abdullah is humiliated. Whichever, way you look at, the Amman summit has been soured already—almost as if somebody went of out their way to sabotage it; State Department? Jordanian intelligence?

The message this meeting sends is that a small neighboring country like Jordan can get away with acknowledging the existence of two governments in Iraq; the sovereign and elected one under Maliki, and a Sunni one under al-Dhari. Needless to say, this can’t be helpful for America’s mission in Iraq.


Anonymous OhBoy said...

This Iraqi government is way to weak to enforce anything because of the 'national unity' iniative imposed on it.

As soon as the announced the arrest warrant for Dhari, an arrest warrant that's long overdue by any standards in most democratic countries, the government quickly tried to play it down. This is despite the fact this terrorist supporter calls al Qaeda a 'component of the resistance,' and has openly called for the fall of the Baghdad government.


6:47 PM, November 27, 2006

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi Ohboy,

Hashemi, Allawi, Hakim and others are all due in Amman to meet King Abdullah II. Some have pegged this as the Jordanian monarch's effort to cobble together a new 'National Salvation Government.'

Funny, I thought that this was the responsibility of an elected Iraqi parliament.

A small country like Jordan always tries to invent new ways of remaining relevant to US policy in the region. The Jordanians are important partners in the intelligence-sharing game, and want to hitch a ride on the next big thing: finding regional subcontractors to fix Iraq.

A friend said today that "Bush is going to read Maliki the 'Miranda Act'"--y'now, "You have a right to remain silent..." But Maliki, although soft in the head, is probably not going to buy into the Jordanian plan. His exclusive meeting with Bush--meant to prop him up--has been diluted with all this political traffic at the royal palace. He is being systematically undermined as the authority figure on Iraq, and will not survive the political re-shuffle envisioned by his political enemies. Once he's out, he's out forever.

I don't think Maliki will give up as easily as Ja'afari did. Maliki will fight dirty--biting and scratching.

Anyway, we'll know soon enough.



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