If there was any doubts that Jordan is at war the arrest of the Deputy Leader of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (JMB), Zaki Bani Irsheid, should dispel them. Bani Irsheid's crime was to write a ludicrously over the top criticism of the Emirates on his Facebook page, accusing the UAE of being "the first sponsor of terrorism". The Government response was to pick him up and drop him in jail with the numerous other oppositionists they have arrested in recent months.
Two years ago, he may have got away with it. After all, the JMB is Jordan's pre-eminent opposition party, an activist Islamism party deeply entwined in the political fabric of the country. But today the battle lines are drawn, the lead-up set by King 'Abdallah's recent speech about the civil war in Islam between moderation and extremism. 'Abdallah sees himself and his Emirati backers on one side of the equation, and while they never were before, the JMB are now on the other. The language used to justify the arrest was telling; Bani Irsheid's arrest was not a matter of politics, it was a matter of security. Today, you are either with the Jordanian government and its Gulfi backers, or you are very much against them, writes Charlie Pratt.
Friday, 05 December 2014 18:55