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RIYADH: As Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi ups demands for the UN Security Council to adopt a binding Chapter VII resolution that would force Israel to stop “the war crimes being committed in Gaza and reverse its decision to close border crossings to humanitarian aid,” protests are intensifying in front of the Israeli Embassy in Amman.

This comes amid security measures aimed at preventing the escalation of the protests, with a Jordanian politician describing them as “not innocent.”

The country’s Public Security Directorate announced on Sunday that “a security force arrested a number of rioters in the region of Baqa’a after they were caught rioting, vandalizing, setting fires and throwing rocks at passing vehicles on the public road.”

The statement added that the PSD “dealt with some protests and gatherings that took place in some areas of the capital. The security personnel, who were present at the scene to maintain security and order, dealt with the protesters with the utmost discipline and professionalism. This is what the Public Security personnel have been working on for many months, during which thousands of citizens took to the streets and none of them was denied the right to express his or her opinion.”

The PSD added: “Last night and during the nights preceding it, these protests witnessed violations, insults and attempts to attack Public Security personnel, who were called completely unacceptable names.” There were “also vandalism attempts, attacks on both public and private properties, and sit-ins in the middle of roads, which prevented cars from driving on them. These violations were committed by men and women who, for days, deliberately confronted Public Security personnel.”

Calls for chaos

Since the middle of last week, the area close to the Israeli Embassy in the Al-Rabiah district has been the site of protests, drawing tens of thousands of participants. In addition, “internal and external” media platforms and social media accounts urged people to join the demonstrations, which featured slogans in support of “Hamas” and the “Al-Qassam Brigades.” There were also recordings played of these groups’ leaders “calling on the people of Jordan to act.” This was in contrast to the protests that took place in the initial days of the war, and despite Jordan’s intensified diplomatic efforts aimed at securing an immediate ceasefire and allowing the entry of humanitarian aid and relief.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, a Jordanian source accused “the leaders of the Islamic Movement in Amman of coordinating with Hamas leaders abroad to drag the Jordanian public into the war in Gaza and broaden the scope of tensions around occupied Palestine. What is happening warrants official reviews, given the nature and scale of the available information about external communications and calls urging the Jordanian public to escalate against its government.”

Saudi Arabia’s emphasis on Jordan’s security

A Saudi Arabia official confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Kingdom supports all measures being taken by Jordan to safeguard the nation’s  security and sovereignty in the face of those attempting to subvert the state. Jordan’s security remained an integral part of Saudi Arabia’s security due to the two countries’ shared history and geography. The official added that Riyadh would not allow any attempts to drag Jordan into the conflict, or turn it into an arena where the problems and issues of the region are played out.

The official added that the region cannot bear any new conflict, particularly in light of Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza and the attacks in the Red Sea. Furthermore, the attempts to drag Jordan into the quagmire of chaos and unrest do not serve Arab and international efforts aimed at ending conflicts in the region.

Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and the return of chaos

Observers have warned that the chaos and violence in Jordan constitute a threat from Iran. One observer said this was “the prelude to a conspiracy led by the Muslim Brotherhood with clear Iranian goals to respread chaos in the region” and stressed that “both sides are taking advantage of the war in Gaza this time to mobilize the public against the king, army and government.” It was also noted that “those mobilizing the Jordanian public today are the same ones who harmed Jordan’s security and stability 54 years ago, but they are employing different tools.”

Two sides sharing common interests

Saudi Arabia political analyst Munif Al-Harbi pointed out that “it is no longer a secret that there are two sides that have interests in causing tensions in the region and establishing a new front: the (Muslim Brotherhood) and Iran. Their agendas converge today just like they did in the Arab Spring, and they worked to destabilize the Arab states. Since the beginning of the events in Gaza, we have seen that the leadership of (Hamas) is trying to mobilize the Jordanian public and drag Jordan into the war by any means. It seems that this approach aims to divert attention from the failure of (Hamas) and the mistakes it made, along with the public exposure of the resistance axis’ inability to defend the slogans it raised about fighting Israel.”

Jordan’s security integral to Saudi Arabia’s

Al-Harbi told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudi Arabia “considers Jordan’s security and stability integral to its security and stability. I think that Saudi Arabia supports all of the measures that are being taken by the Jordanian leadership and government. The Saudi-Jordanian relations, especially between the countries’ leaderships, enjoy a special particularity.”

Al-Harbi added: “Given Saudi Arabia’s great religious, Arab, moral and political significance, the Kingdom is concerned with the principle of safeguarding Arab national security, including its interest in Jordan’s stability. We saw models of this Saudi concern in Kuwait in 1990, Bahrain in 2011, Egypt in 2015 and Yemen in 2015.”

Al-Harbi’s comments brings to mind the events during Ramadan 1439 A.H., corresponding to June 2018, when King Salman called for a summit to be held in Mekkah during the last 10 days of the month. This brought together the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and the UAE, to provide Jordan with a $2.5 billion economic aid package.

Back then, King Abdullah thanked King Salman for taking the initiative and calling for the meeting, and also praised Kuwait and the UAE for accepting the invitation. He also expressed his deep appreciation to all three states for the aid package, “which will help Jordan overcome this crisis.”

During the “sedition” events that took place in the spring of 2021 in Jordan, Riyadh stood by Amman. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Jordanian leadership that “the Kingdom stands in solidarity with Jordan and supports all the measures taken by King Abdullah to safeguard Jordan’s security and stability.” King Abdullah later expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s support when he received the Kingdom’s Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in August of the same year. In a statement issued by Jordan’s royal court King Abdullah thanked Saudi Arabia for supporting “the Kingdom of Jordan in the face of the different challenges, including the sedition attempt that Jordan thwarted in its infancy.”

Abdulaziz Sager, head of the Gulf Research Center, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “there is a deep and unique geographical and human connection between the occupied Palestinian territories and Jordan. Therefore, Jordan’s security and stability are essential for maintaining security in the Occupied Territories. It is in the interest of some sides to spread chaos and instability in the states surrounding the Palestinian territories, including Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.

“Jordan, in particular, is of great significance and sensitivity, as, for the Israeli extremist ideology, it represents the alternative homeland, which Israeli extremist forces hope to target to facilitate the achievement of the goal of displacement and seizure of Palestinian lands. Destabilizing Jordan is in Israel’s interest due to Jordan’s current position, which firmly opposes Israeli plans.”

Sager added: “Some extremist Palestinian leaders, including some of Hamas’ leaders, unfortunately, are calling for instability in Jordan, driven by wrong, dangerous and short-sighted calculations. Saudi Arabia’s position is clear. It considers undermining Jordan’s stability and security a red line and rejects any attempt to spread chaos and carry out security coups in the Arab world under the pretext of supporting the resistance in Gaza.”

This is a translation of an article published on