Saturday, August 29, 2009
Jordan's King Abdullah purges regime and army of Palestinians
While the Obama administration is preparing to stage a US-Israeli-Palestinian summit at the UN General Assembly in New York next month, Jordan's king Abdullah, who has always claimed to be an ardent champion of the Palestinians, is quietly acting to cut down their numbers and influence in his kingdom.Just over 50% of Jordan's six million citizens are Palestinian.
On Aug, 6, he addressed the Jordanian General Staff in Amman with a warning that domestic and foreign plots were afoot to stir unrest among the Palestinian majority community.
"I clearly reiterate that no force can compel us to act in any way against the interests of Jordan and Jordanians," Abdullah said. "Anyone who thinks of threatening Jordan, its identity, stability and national unity, does not know Jordan or Jordanians and has not read their history."
Abdullah did not name the source of the threat to Jordan. Some Middle East sources interpreted his unusually stern remarks as referring to Syria and Iraq and their possible exploitation of the Palestinian community for destabilizing the kingdom. Hence the following five steps disclosed here by DEBKAfile's military and intelligence sources:
1. The king has ordered a massive purge of the Jordanian military, forcing hundreds of officers into early retirement. The official pretext is the need to lower the average age of the officer class in the interests of modernizing and energizing the armed forces. But a survey of the names of the officers laid off and their replacements shows a different picture. None of the officers dismissed from active duty bear Bedouin tribal names. These days, the Bedouin tribes which are the traditional loyal backbone of the Hashemite ruling house, are no longer desert nomads but organized in identifiable social frameworks in Jordan's cities.
Therefore, it is concluded that Abdullah has "Arabized" the Jordanian military by removing the Palestinian element as distinct from pure-blooded Arabs, the Bedouin.
2. He is conducting the same process in the top levels of government.
Our Middle East sources report that he has elevated three officials to the top of the pyramid: Prime minister
Nader al-Dahabi, who belongs to a family of Syrian origin which settled in Jordan in the last century; his half-brother Prince Faisal, assistant to the Air Force Chief who is now in line for promotion as chief of staff of the armed forces; and the director of General Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Al Raqqad.
3. Not only were non-Bedouin officers' services terminated, but the king secretly ordered the general staff to stop recruiting them to the armed forces. Palestinians had been allowed to serve in Jordan's auxiliary units, such as transport, ordnance, quartermaster-general and surgeon-general. Not any more; those services are being purged of Palestinians.
4. By another secret order from the king, the Jordanian ministry of the interior has begun the process for revoking the Jordanian citizenship of Palestinians who relocated from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Hashemite Kingdom in the last 40 years. Jordan was unique in granting citizenship rights to Palestinians, a status not conferred by any other Arab government.
Be revoking their nationality, Abdullah aims to reduce the size of the Palestinian community so that it is no longer a majority.
5. Our sources also report that King Abdullah is planning a major cabinet reshuffle that will involve sacking six to eight ministers.
Comment: For those who have been "keeping up" with the regional history what do you suppose the King is up to, what is his endgame-any ideas?