In Wake of Arab Spring, Deadlock in Peace Process, Jordan Thaws Relations with Hamas
by L. Barkan
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From the report:
"Contacts between Jordan and Hamas in the recent months are expected to lead to a renewal of the official relations between them, which were severed 12 years ago. In 1999, less than one year after the death of King Hussein and the crowning of his son Abdallah II, the Jordanian regime decided to end some eight years of Hamas activity in Jordan and expelled the Hamas officials, headed by Khaled Mash'al, from the country. The officials first moved to Qatar and later settled in Damascus, from which they direct the movement's political activity today.
"The Hamas-Jordan rapprochement is the result of the upheavals in the Middle East: Hamas is seeking an alternative to Syria, where its political bureau is currently located, due to the unrest in that country; in addition, it hopes that relations with Jordan will strengthen it in the regional and inter-Palestinian arenas. Jordan, for its part, hopes to quell the wave of protests that is threatening its stability by appeasing the Islamic opposition in the country and by cooperating with the Islamic movement that is gaining strength throughout the region. At the same time, it too is seeking to improve its regional standing, through involvement in the Palestinian issue.
"The thaw between Jordan and Hamas is expected to have far-reaching ramifications for the Palestinian, Jordanian and regional arenas. In the Palestinian arena, it could strengthen the Islamic movement, including among Israeli Arabs, at the expense of the secular forces; so too in Jordan. In the regional arena, this development could create a strategic territorial continuum of regimes sympathetic to the Islamic movement in general and to the Muslim Brotherhood in particular: from Turkey though Syria (where the regime is gradually buckling), to Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza and also Israel, and finally to Egypt.
"This report will review the background of the Hamas-Jordan contacts and their development, the forces mediating between the sides, and Jordan's and Hamas' respective expectations from the thaw in relations."
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