The Jordanian Muslim brotherhood movement: from pillar of monarchy to enemy of the state

Hana Jaber, 17 July 2017

Introduction

In contrast to the abundant literature on Jordan in English, very few extended studies and contradictory readings question the role and place of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Jordanian political arena. However, this Islamic movement occupies a place of vital importance in the region. This is notably due to the historically repressive treatment of its branches in the wider region by the political forces in power. The importance of the Jordanian branch of the Brotherhood resides in its aggregation, its structure and its potential alongside internal issues to which it owes its persistence and to regional questions which contribute to its fragility.

Through what lens should we talk about the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood that has struggled to bounce back from the historical fracture that it experienced in the spring of 2015?Hana Jaber, « Chronique d’une scission annoncée chez les Frères musulmans jordaniens », Orient XXI, 29 April 2015 – http://orientxxi.info/magazine/chronique-d-une-scission-annoncee-chez-les-freres-musulmans- jordaniens,0890 This question is especially important as Islamist movements in the region are also undergoing profound changes. The Palestinian movement Hamas reached a historic step in 2017 by publishing a text which, without replacing the charter of 1988, recognises the boundaries of 1967.http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2017/05/02/le-message-de-pragmatisme-du-hamas-laisse- sceptique_1566745 In Egypt, brutal repression has quashed any form of freedom of expression. In Syria, different Jihadist factions, rightly or wrongly associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, are attempting to establish themselves and gain a foothold in the ongoing negotiations.

The unexpected developments that the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood has experienced since the Arab Spring must be identified in a regional context that is increasingly complex. Moreover, these must also be seen in relation to the history of the relationship of the movement itself at the heart of the monarchy. Thus, this study will be organised in a chronological manner around three main points. First, it will explore the history of the Brotherhood from its foundation to 1989, the year of the return to normality of an electoral process that was until then chaotic. Secondly, it will focus on the period dating from 1989 to 2011, throughout which the political wing of the Brotherhood, the Islamic Action Front, emerged as the largest party in opposition on the Jordanian political scene. A third section will outline the consequences of dynamics arising as of 2011, culminating in the explosion of the movement today.

1 – From 1946 to 1989: a complex structure and charitable work in a context of martial law

Two main sociological influences played a central role on the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (Jamaat al-ikhwan al-Muslimin). The first is Transjordanian in character, bringing together the educated notables of the cities in the north of the kingdom, in particular those of Salt and Irbid. This phenomenon finds its roots in the 1930s, before the creation of the kingdom in May 1946. The second influence comes from Mandatory Palestine. Indeed, the Brotherhood’s ideas started to spread as early as the end of the 1920s among the notables of Palestinian coastal areas and other towns of central Palestine.See also: « Frères musulmans » by Orient XXI in October 2014 http://orientxxi.info/dossiers/les-freres-musulmans,0696. See also : the works of Jean-Pierre Filiu regarding Gaza and those of Jean-François Legrain regarding the history of islamist movements in Palestine.

In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood was officially founded in 1945 by Abdel Latif Abou Qura, native of the town of Salt when the country was still known as the Emirate of Transjordan. Subsequently, its statute as an association was endorsed by a decree signed by the Prime Minister. With the exodus of 1948, the Muslim Brotherhood fell back to the Gaza strip, then unoccupied and central Palestine which would soon be annexed by the Hashemite King Abdullah I. This trend was further accentuated by both the lack of anchorage in the towns of central Palestine (Nablus, Jenin, Hebron and Jerusalem) and the tripartite war of 1956 which concluded with the occupation of Gaza by Egypt. In particular, this led to a concentration of the movement at the east of the Jordan River, notably in northern towns.

1.1 – The Brotherhood and King Hussein’s inclusive approach

As much as the multiplicity of the influences that participated in the creation of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, the references mentioned previously point to the agitated political context of the time. Aside from the context of independence, the region was marked by a traumatism in the loss of Palestine and the massive influx of refugees who primarily found refuge in the Hashemite kingdom. The monarchy which quickly came into the hands of the young King Hussain I, needed to consolidate its legitimacy. Indeed, his legitimacy was questioned by all sides of the political spectrum. Be that by the tribes of southern Jordan as well as the important urban families on both sides of the Jordan River. The ‘little king’ of Jordan opted for an inclusive political approach that aimed at co-opting rather than combatting the Muslim Brotherhood. Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood was allowed to continue its charitable work as an association when repression was widespread. This was the case when the British Army withdrew in 1956 and martial law was proclaimed the following year, stifling popular protests by forbidding elections and popular parties.

Until the end of the 1970s, the Muslim Brotherhood found in the Hashemite monarchy a strong ally to pursue charitable acts perhaps not as visible in the political sphere, through the intermediary of the Islamic Center. On his side, King Hussein was able to utilise the movement to consolidate his own legitimacy in the kingdom. Indeed, both the Brotherhood and the monarchy found a common enemy in movements of national liberation and/or Pan-Arab movements that were widespread throughout the region at the time. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), created in 1964 did little to uphold the views of Islamists who made up a minority in its vast spectrum of ideological movements. As surprising as it may seem, the movement was almost entirely absent from the bloody conflict which emerged between the Hashemite power and the PLO, culminating in the events of Black September in 1970. This is especially surprising as the Muslim Brotherhood presented itself as an important defender of the Palestinian cause.

1.2 – The upsurge of religious sentiment and the creation of the Islamic Action Front

Nonetheless, noteworthy changes started to appear from the end of the 1970s, consolidating themselves until the end of the 1980s. The withdrawal of the PLO from Lebanon in 1982 marked the failure of nationalist movements in mobilising Arab populations around the Palestinian issue. This fiasco was added to by the resurfacing of Islamic religious sentiment. Amongst other factors, black gold became synonymous with a number of Jordanians sending migratory remittances to the Kingdom. Indeed, the charitable endeavours of the Brotherhood developed considerably and in 1982 the Islamic Hospital was inaugurated in Amman where the Muslim Brotherhood set up its offices and those of the Islamic Center.

Thus strengthened, the re-emergence of Islamic religious sentiment led to an increased sensitivity to questions of pan-Islamism ranging from Palestine’s status as the Holy Land to the struggle of the Taliban against the Russian army in Afghanistan. At the same time, domestic tensions were becoming more and more obvious, opening up the political spectrum. The Hashemite forces found a solution by closing their eyes to the departure of militant Islamists to fight in Afghanistan alongside co-religionists. Thus the aim of the monarchy was to reduce internal pressures and divert attention from Palestine where pressure was building in the occupied territories and Gaza. Indeed, the First Intifada against the occupying forces of Israel would begin as early as 1987.

From the intifada of 1987 several hard truths contributed to the widening of the political scene. A new political actor, Hamas (the movement of Islamic Resistance), arrived on the regional and Palestinian scene identifying as a Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. King Hussein’s decision in August 1988 to break administrative ties with the West Bank, doubled into a complex reality which at first sight seemed paradoxical. Without a doubt, an organic link was maintained between the Jordanian Brotherhood and the Hamas movement that owns offices in Amman, yet only media activity is authorised. Nonetheless, the break in administrative ties between the two banks implied territorial separation and thus induced divergent de facto political aims. The presence of Hamas offices in the Kingdom of Jordan was particularly interesting to observe. On the one hand it allowed Jordanian services to better supervise and control the centres of communication between the national wing and the Palestinian wing of the Brotherhood. On the other hand, it allowed the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood greater visibility on the regional scale.

It is in this context that in 1989, following the riots of April in Maan, martial law was lifted in the Kingdom. The Jordanian political arena opened with the creation of a national pact with legislative elections planned and the authorisation of political organisation. In 1992, a law (number 22) regulated the formation of political parties. The Muslim Brotherhood, whose mandate had until then been limited to the status of an association, thus was able to endow itself with a political wing; namely, the Islamic Action Front.

2 – From 1989 to 2011: The Muslim Brotherhood, a central player on the Jordanian political scene

Very quickly, the Islamic Action Front (IAF) made sweeping electoral victories in the legislative elections of 1989. Out of 80 deputies that were elected, 22 were Islamist with a participation rate of 53.1%. This marked the arrival of the IAF as a major player on the Jordanian political scene. This observation is in keeping with the regional context where political Islamists, since the Iranian revolution of 1979, rapidly emerged in such countries as Palestine, Afghanistan and Algeria. However, in the Jordanian kingdom, two contextual matters need to be taken into consideration to understand the IAF’s gains.

The first point relates to the Impact of the first Intifada of 1987 which triggered important internal debates at the heart of Jordanian society on the one hand, and at the core of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood on the other. Due to the fact that the entirety of the credit for the Intifada was given to the Palestinian Hamas movement and removed of its spontaneous popular dimension, the uprising of the “little rock throwers” was used as an argument to discredit the power of so-called collaborationist power structures. Indeed, to place the blame on such regimes and embrace a quasi-liberation theology against a “Jewish and Zionist” enemy constituted the main elements of the Jordanian Bortherhood’s political discourse. Indeed, the mythical sense of belonging to the despoiled land of Palestine was a recurring theme in the Brotherhood’s rhetoric. Questions that were inherently of national concern were not a main feature of the Brotherhood’s daily agenda.

The second contextual matter relates to the break of administrative ties with the West Bank in 1988. In hindsight, one might identify this episode as a preamble to a succession of events. These were the Madrid accords of 1992, followed by the Gaza-Jericho Agreement that was signed on the 13th of September 1993 and the Israel-Jordan peace treaty of Wadi Araba on the 26th of October 1994. However, from a more isolated standpoint, this last episode in the history of the Jordanian kingdom should have sparked the anger of the Jordanian people under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. In hindsight, these protests, though forceful, were moderate due to the lack of rigidity of the political system. It has to be said that in the meantime on the country’s border, the crisis in Iraq was going at full tilt and the consequences of the embargo on Iraq were being felt at their fullest.

2.1 – “One man, one vote”: a law to curb the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood

Conscious of both the regional upheaval going on and of the risks of seeing Islamist deputies occupying a majority of seats in the lower chamber, King Hussein introduced a “one man, one vote” law at the dawn of the elections of 1993. Such results were not without significance. Out of the 80 seats that made up the Parliament, 60 were occupied by independent candidates and 17 by deputies of IAF. In other words, the IAF was the only political bloc capable of weighing on parliamentary debates. All the following electoral rounds, until those of September 2016, were thus dominated by Islamist discourse decrying the unjust character and non-representative nature of the “one man, one vote” system. This translated into calls to boycott elections, the contesting of irregularities in the running of said elections and demands for reform of mechanisms allowing for political participation.

Such rhetoric was not merely for the benefit of the media. Debates are constantly going on at the heart of the movement and translate in different opinions. Dissension often leads to the exclusion of certain members of the movement. Internally, a split emerged which borrowed its name from the Israeli leadership, notably that of “hawks” and “doves.” This cleavage revolved around the degree of intransigence of individuals in wanting to build relationships with Israel, the King or lastly, within the Egyptian ideological framework (see below).

This split, which is often wrongly labelled as representing a division between the Jordanian and Palestinian parts of the Brotherhood (see above, section 1), requires further analysis. Without neglecting such a dichotomy nor downplaying its importance, this cleavage does not operate as is often described. In other words, the “hawks” are not necessarily of Palestinian origin, nor are the “doves” necessarily of Jordanian origin. In any case, due in part to boycotts or calls to boycott throughout succeeding parliamentary elections, this cleavage has led to a decreasing representation of Islamists in parliament. This has played in favour of “independent” candidates or of parties lacking efficient means on the ground. An under-representation that is at odds with the danger with which they are increasingly associated.

2.2 – The accession of Abdullah II, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas

1999 proved to be an eventful year and introduced the end of an era. Most notably, King Hussein died in February and was succeeded by his son Abdullah II. In contrast to his father who was known for his political shrewdness, the new King of Jordan granted little importance to interpersonal skills. On the other hand, he directed hard, ultraliberal policies which increased inequalities and after a few years led to an unrestrained business culture. Abdullah II wanted to eliminate the southern tribes as much as the Muslim Brotherhood, judging both groups as obsolete and jarring with his vision of modernity.See also: the interview with Kind Abdallah of Jordan, The Atlantic, 3 avril 2013 “The Modern King in the Arab Spring”, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/04/monarch-in-the-middle/309270/ Moreover, the break with the old regime was not only about a question of style, but followed a profound disagreement relating to the Palestinian question. In September 1997, the Mossad attempted to assassinate the head of Hamas’ political bureau in Amman, Khaled Echaal. King Hussain’s anger was such that the Israeli government had to officially apologise to Jordan. The same cannot be said about King Abdullah II. Despite appearances (encouraging the peace process, calls for the freezing of settlement building), the policies of the new monarch align themselves with Israeli interests rather than any desire to preserve influence over developments in Palestine. It should be said that in Palestine, as in Jordan, 1999 was an eventful year. Relations between the Palestinian authority and Hamas were poor. The arrival of Ehud Barak in government revived negotiations with the PLO on the basis of the Wye river memorandum (signed in October 1989). Moreover, the conclusion of the agreements of Sharm El Sheikh on September 7th, 1999, in which security questions were central, enshrined the neutralisation of Hamas.

Shortly after the agreements of Sharm El Sheikh, whilst Khaled Mechaal and other leaders were visiting Iran, the Jordanian authorities decided to close the Hamas’ Jordanian offices. Whilst Yasser Arafat stated that their closure came at the demand of the Palestinian Authority,http://www.albayan.ae/one-world/1999-09-12-1.1078605 Prime Minister Abdel Raouf Rawabdeh claimed that it was the result of a sovereign Jordanian decision. According to the latter, the leaders of Hamas broke an oral agreement which forbade them to engage in political activities from Jordan or to direct military operations. According this same Prime Minister, this breach of trust remained “individual,” and the decision to close the offices of Hamas in Amman was done in a bid to maintain friendly relations between the Jordanian authorities and the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.http://www.alarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-world/2016/07/14/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%A7% D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D9%87%D8%B0%D9%87-%D8%A3%D8%B3%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%A5%D8%BA%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%82-%D9%85%D9%83%D8%AA%D8%A8-%D8%AD%D9% 85%D8%A7%D8%B3-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%91%D8%A7%D9%86-.html Qatari mediation unblocked the situation and the leaders of Hamas were provisionally welcomed in Doha before settling in Damascus. This interlude goes some way towards highlighting the tensions that were growing between the Brotherhood and the new monarch.

2.3 – Stigmas of terrorism despite refocusing on the nation-state

The change in rule came about whilst the fate of the “Arab Afghans,” Jordanian jihadists who had gone to fight in Afghanistan, emerged as a significant factor in the media and before Jordanian tribunals. This was by no means limited to Jordanians with Jihadists of numerous countries undertaking similar actions. This brought the terrorist question to the very heart of Jordanian society. Furthermore, the international context fuelled such heated discussions since in 1998 both the American embassies of Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi would be the target of jihadist attacks. The attacks on the 11th September 2001 in New York would lead to a shift in the fight against Islamist terrorism as an international priority. King Abdullah II undoubtedly took this under his own auspices, throwing suspicion on all and any religious figures.

In such a tense international context governed by the emergence of terrorism that espoused radical Islam and a domestic context defined by a complicated power transition, the Second Palestinian Intifada began in September 2000. The events of the intifada confirmed the refocusing of the Muslim Brotherhood on Jordanian issues. The violence perpetrated by the Israeli forces against the populations of Gaza (the emblematic photo remains the live murder of a child, Mohammad al-Durra, snuggled against his father in a street in Gaza), as well as the massacres perpetuated in Jenin, translated into palpable tension in the streets of Jordan, particularly in areas surrounding refugee camps. Protests took place in front of the Israeli embassy while calls were made for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the repeal of the Jordanian-Israeli peace accord. Professional unions, some of which had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, were mobilised. Nonetheless, the Islamic Action Front was careful not to defy the hierarchy in the spring of 2002 and cancelled at the last moment its participation in the “march of the return” which had been forbidden by the Jordanian authorities and which would have led crowds of protesters as near as possible to the border with Israel.

Caught in a struggle for power, the IAF was able to appreciate the diverse processes, constraints and limitations to its political action. The early years of the 21st century was characterised by internal debates between the more aggressive “hawks” and the “doves”. During these years, the movement attempted to reinvent its history with a confused past that had brought some of its members in close contact with the Al-Qaeda organisation. This was a period characterised by an official narrative, made public in an 80-page publication published in 2005 called The Vision of the Islamist Movement on Reform (in Arabic). In this publication, the priorities are explicitly national, proposing a framework programme on questions of society and political representation. The mother of all questions, that of Palestine, comes in at the 16th of 17 chapters along with that of Iraq (the title of the chapter being “16. The great causes: Palestine, Iraq.”)

3 – The Muslim Brotherhood and the legacy of the Arab Spring

The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood movement came out weakened by the wave that uprooted the Arab world in 2011, despite the Jordanian Kingdom hardly experiencing the Arab Spring itself. However, the movement has shown itself to be capable of prudence if not maturity in its relation to power on the one hand, and other opposing currents on the other. How can one explain such a phenomenon?

To say that Jordan and with it the Muslim Brotherhood stayed apart from the Arab uprisings would be an unfair shortcut as to the nature of mobilisations which did not wait until 2011 to express themselves. Moreover, it would also be a poor understanding of the geopolitical context in which Jordan played a historical role in being affected by the events and their demographic and economic consequences in neighbouring countries.

3.1 – The Muslim Brotherhood, actors or leaders of the opposition in Jordan?

It should be duly noted that contestations focusing on trade union rights, the fight against corruption and a greater amount of political participation did not wait for the Tunisian spark to manifest themselves. The ‘Constitutional Monarchy’ initiative, led in 2008 by a well respected member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ryhayyel Gharaibeh, was the product of careful consideration in which personalities participated from many different backgrounds.Hana Jaber, Mouvements contestataires en Jordanie dans le contexte des soulèvements arabes: les impasses de la réforme et l’impossible révolution, study not published, DAS, October 2013.

This is representative of the political malaise in Jordan and the importance of enacting reform supported by actors from across the political spectrum. At the beginning of 2011 when claims began to manifest themselves throughout the kingdom in the form of strikes, protests and sit-ins, the Muslim Brotherhood found themselves in the midst of an equation with several checks and balances. First of all, there was the complexity of the relationship to Hashemite power as well as the hope which was triggered by the arrival to power of Islamists in Tunisia and Egypt. The situation in Syria rapidly brought about a profound and divisive cleavage in Jordanian society whilst the state of mind of Jordanian society observed the burgeoning regional upheaval with a certain amount of apprehension.

Conscious of their capacity to mobilise, the Muslim Brotherhood participated with a certain amount of restraint to the growth of dissent within the Kingdom. This dissent came to a head in Amman in November 2012, where a protest of several tens of thousands of Jordanians in which the Brotherhood had decided to massively mobilise forced the government to engage in constitutional reforms. Nonetheless, these reforms remained at best negligible. At this time in the Arab Spring, no political actor found himself in a position to decidedly influence the balance of forces. Yet, the situation changed from the summer of 2013 when a chemical attack in the Ghouta of Damas remained unpunished. In Cairo, Mohammed Morsi was deposed by General Sisi who proceeded to undertake a systematic purge of the Muslim Brotherhood. These two events had quasi-immediate consequences for the regime in Jordan which went beyond the announcements of King Abdullah. The regime’s urgency had moved away from reform.

3.2 – A multitude of schisms

As early as October 2011, some months after the beginning of the Arab Spring, a new director, Faisal al-Shawbaki, who had emerged from the ranks of the army was named as the new head of Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate. He firmly believed that the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood should be treated as an enemy despite being the only coherent force capable of defying monarchical power. Nevertheless, brutal Egyptian methodology has never played a role in the political culture of the monarchy. Thus, focus was placed on making the movement implode, with a special emphasis on the heated debates that were going on within the Brotherhood between the adherents of orthodoxy and reform. In this context, the Zamzam operation of May 2012 which appeared at first glance to be progressive and embodying renewal, should be read as the first division at the heart of the movement.One should note that this tactic finds precedent in 2001, resulting in a fracture within the Muslim Brotherhood and the departure of several of its members as well as an impact on the constitution of the Center Party. Indeed, as many as 500 Jordanian personalities following the call of some fifty members of the Brotherhood gathered together to sign an open letter. With Rhayyel Gharibeh, Nabil Kofahi and Jamil Dheissat at their head, the charter called for reform and advances in political participation to be granted. Yet, when Islamist members of the initiative decided to leave and found a new political party which was officially recognized in August 2016 (Moubadara al-Wataniyya – Zamzam), a second fracture was created.

On the 5th of March 2015 the break with the government was officialised as the Jordanian security services informed the Muslim Brotherhood that its statute was no longer consistent with the Jordanian laws on associations. Thus the Muslim Brotherhood was required to place itself within the confines of the law at the risk of being dissolved. In other words, the Brotherhood needed to place itself under the jurisdiction of the ministry of Social Affairs and explicitly renege all ties to the Egyptian branch of the same name. As harmless as this injunction may have seemed, it proved to have serious consequences. Heated debates arose on the timing and motivation of the government’s action when this had not been a cause of debate since 1945 and the creation of the Brotherhood (see the above section 1). Without awaiting a consensual decision, two eminent members, Abdel-Majid Thneibat followed by Rhayyel Gharaybeh immediately put down a statute for a second movement to be founded, called the Muslim Brotherhood Society (Jam’iyyat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin). Shortly afterwards, the Brotherhood proper finally aligned itself with the demands of the authorities, but this situation was as new as it was complex, both in the political sphere as well as on judicial and financial matters. Indeed, the Brotherhood proper possesses significant investments in Jordan estimated at several billion dinars through the intermediary of the Islamic Center which it controls. Nonetheless, the shift of members towards the new Muslim Brotherhood society, operated neither massively nor automatically. The Controller General of the Muslim Brotherhood called on King Abdullah to mediate the situation and a status quo which still persists established itself. This static situation will remain until a decision can be made by the judiciary concerning the legitimate property of the contested goods, offices and funds.

A third break is also at play, perhaps deeper and more significant than the first two which touched the upper executives (such as Salem Flahat) and some 200 to 250 militants of lesser visibility who recently resigned. The leadership of the movement has not yet pronounced itself on this collective resignation, representative of a division which will be officialised in the near future. Nonetheless, the statutes to create a new party had already been registered by the end of 2016 by the hard core of defectors (Al-Sharaka wal-Inqaz).

3.3 – Break-up and/or reorganisation?

Nonetheless, can one conclude that the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood has totally broken up? According to sources close to the internal debates inside the Brotherhood proper, the organisation would have lost some 20% of its workforce. A reorganisation is currently ongoing and a new General Controller is about to be designated. At the public authority level, a new director was named at the head of the General Intelligence Directorate in March 2017, colonel Adnan al-Jundi. It seems that he would be in favour of renewing dialogue with the movement which is a sign of appeasement. However, the leaders at the heart of the Brotherhood claim never to have broken communication and are claiming to be victims of a witch-hunt from the authorities. Furthermore, they claim that huge leaps forward have been made by the Brotherhood and that critiques of the so-called defectors were received with satisfaction with a view to bringing about profound reforms. They highlight as proof of their efforts two main factors. First, the modifications that were introduced at the heart of the expression of the Islamic Action Front’s mandate. Second, the advancement of women’s rights and the constructive exchanges made with other political actors for the construction of a national consensus of values and beliefs.

The highly anticipated legislative elections of September 2016 confirmed such efforts at least partially. The Islamic Action Front accommodated itself of the new electoral law which imposed, amongst other technical constraints, the constitution of coalitions. The Reform Coalition, initiated by the IAF, managed to encapsulate a broad range of candidates with similar political sensitivities (independents or Ba’athists), as well as confessional differences (Christians). This same coalition is presided by a woman Dima Tahboub, who is herself a member of the Brotherhood. In parliament, this collation won a little over fifteen seats out of 130 whereas Zamzam only took three.

Thus, certain individuals who are close to the movement prefer labeling this rift as clarification and an opportunity for political regeneration. The assertion according to which the fractures at the heart of the Brotherhood are based along national community lines (Transjordanian / Palestinian) is obsolete, or at the very least requires an approach which goes beyond such simplification. The same can be said about the degree of intransigence relating to national or regional questions as a dividing factor. A more astute observation of the emerging rifts prompts a deeper question, one of the relationship at the very heart of the Muslim Brotherhood, between proselytizing action and political action.

The preceding pages show the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Jordanian political scenery and the way it found its place as a political player of vital importance to the regime as well as to other opposition movements. To better understand the levels of integration it is necessary to study a blend of political sociology, political science and international relations. Indeed, without focusing on the regional context it is impossible to understand the complex dynamics of Jordanian politics which in turn provide ample guidance and information on the measurement of regional transformations. On the one hand, it is important to note that the ruthlessness with which the Jordanian secret service is fighting against the Muslim Brotherhood is producing a split in the movement itself. On the other hand, this very division prevents the regime from engaging with the sole coherent political voice at the heart of Jordanian society. Moreover, this movement represents the critical capital necessary to contain the economic, social and political crises which one can expect to be explosive.

Download (PDF)