Intelligence: Jordan Has An Arrangement With Hamas


January 26, 2009: King Abdullah of Jordan fired his head of intelligence, Mohammed Dahabi, for getting too cozy with Hamas. Dahabi had been ordered to maintain a dialog with Hamas, but the king believed Dahabi had forgotten who he worked for. Dahabi was replaced by his deputy, who has a reputation for professionalism, and staying out of politics.

The kings attitudes are influenced by the fact that most of the population considers itself Palestinian (or at least descended from Palestinian refugees). Despite that, Jordan has suffered very few al Qaeda attacks. This is mostly due to the efficient police force, who are dominated by the Bedouin minority that runs the kingdom. One aspect of that control is to allow people to say, and believe, what they want.

While the Palestinian majority may not like the monarchy, they know that the Bedouins would respond violently to any uprising. That has happened often enough in the past half century to convince most Jordanians that, while you can shout nasty things at the king, don't take a shot at him. That said, the current king of Jordan, and his late father, went out of their way to be nice to their Palestinian citizens, as long as there was no violence against the government. The occasional violation of this understanding is met with a swift, and sometimes violent, response. Nevertheless, Jordan has long had to be careful with how it deals with the Palestinians. In 1970, the government expelled Palestinian militants who sought to overthrow the monarchy ("Black September"). Thousands of the militants were killed, or driven out of the country, along with their families. In 2001, the Hamas leadership was ordered to leave, for security reasons. 

Jordan is not a police state, but it is very well policed.


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