Jordan’s King Abdullah is about the most knowledgeable world leader I can think of, especially on the subject of the Middle East. We in the west are fortunate to have someone of this caliber who can explain the concerns of the Middle East on a cultural level we can understand.
Yesterday in an interview, King Abdullah cautioned against an immediate American troop withdrawal, saying, ” …Iraqis themselves are divided between those supporting US-led coalition forces in their country, those rejecting and resisting them as occupation, and those that seek to disrupt the political process and national reconciliation efforts.” He urged national reconciliation and preservation of the territorial integrity of Iraq. The King continued, “Withdrawal from Iraq without setting a timetable and without preparing the necessary conditions that would ensure a strong central government able to run the affairs of the state and an Iraqi force able to ensure security and stability, may only worsen the problem and contribute to increasing violence and conflict among Iraqis.”
On the subject of seeking nuclear energy, the King said, “Jordan has for years sought alternative energy sources that will alleviate the increasing burden of importing energy amid rising fuel prices. In order to address these challenges, we in Jordan feel, as do other countries, the need to secure the transfer and establishment of nuclear energy technology as an alternative to importing oil for generating electricity and water desalination.”
I haven’t heard about the desalination thing for a long time. It usually comes up in context of cooperating with Israel in a Red Sea-Dead Sea hydroelectric and water replacement scheme.
It looks like Iraq may be on its way to becoming a Shiite nation controlled by Iran through Moqtada al-Sadr, who has considerable influence over the Iraqi government. Historically Sunni Jordan’s ties with Sunni Iraq have been strong. Jordan certainly would not relish a Shiite Iraq on its border, or even the Shiite fragment of the former Iraq. Could this apparition of an Iranian puppet on his doorstep have anything to do with the King’s sudden yearning for nuclear technology?
Perhaps the Iraqi Sunnis are also reconsidering their support of the insurgency.
Prosperity, stability, a crucial model for other countries: Text of King Abdullah II remarks at opening of Dead Sea G-11 Economic Summit 5-19-07
Transcript of Interview, Jordan’s King Abdullah 4-10-07
The Amman Message: how Jordan understands Islam–text of remarks by King Abdullah II, November 2004
Transcript of interview with Jordan’s King Abdullah May 9, 2007 with Egyptian Al Ahram daily
Remarks by King Abdullah 5-21-07 to Nik Gowing, BBC World, at the side of G11 Economic Forum