So after expelling Hamas leaders some years back for "collaborating on Jordanian soil with foreign sides that do not like Jordan or its well-being,"Jordan has changed its position on the organization and is now accepting the status quo following the sweeping victory of the armed group during the recent Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Jordan said Wednesday it would welcome a visit by the leaders of the militant Palestinian Hamas group, a departure from Amman’s position that it would not deal with the exiled chiefs. "We welcome the visit of a delegation of our brothers the leaders of Hamas in their capacity as leaders of a Palestinian faction which we respect and value," Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit told a parliamentary session.
Al-Bakhit’s remarks show a change in the firm position that the government would not deal with the Hamas leaders who live outside the Palestinian territories because of what they refer to as "standing legal obstacles."
Source: [The Jerusalem Post]
Now, what does this mean? Is Jordan between a rock and a hard place? Will accepting the democratically-elected group affect Jordan’s amicable relationship with the US, which, along with Europe, regards the group as a terrorist organization? And how will this change in political dynamics impact the peace process with Israel? Jordanian blogger Khalaf provides some scenarios:
If Hamas opts to continue with the peace process, then Jordan and Egypt will try to work with them to create circumstances to make that happen. On the other hand, if it opts to join the Iran-Syria axis, th[e]n one would expect this axis to develop a joint negotiating strategy. What is the strategy of Syria and Iran? Well, basically to create trouble in Iraq and in Lebanon as a way to project influence and hold leverage.
How would Hamas fit in to this? The scary answer is that its role would be to create trouble in Jordan. This is not a far-fetched scenario and we should be aware that it is a possibility.
The links between the Moslem Brotherhood and Hamas are well known, and some even believe that they are fundamentally the same organization. Given the reach of the MB into Jordanian politics and society, this should be a question of extreme concern.
I will not add much to what Khalaf says here, except to say that we do live in interesting times.