With Amendments and Muslim Brotherhood Curbs, Jordan Follows Saudi Lead

With Amendments and Muslim Brotherhood Curbs, Jordan Follows Saudi Lead
Jordan's King Abdullah and Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman at the Northern Thunder military drill, Hafr al-Batin, Saudi Arabia, March 11, 2016 (Balkis Press photo via AP).

Earlier this month, Jordanian authorities shuttered the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman, capping several months of troubles for the Islamist group in the country. Its political arm, the Islamic Action Front, is Jordan’s main opposition party. The Brotherhood’s legal standing has been up in the air since last year, when it lost its official registration for failing to comply with new government regulations. But the group has also been split internally—both among its members in Jordan and over its affiliations with the embattled Egypt-based Brotherhood.

With the Islamist group banned outright in other Arab countries, Jordan’s closure of the Brotherhood headquarters looked in line with regional trends. As The New York Times reported, “government critics and members of the group saw the closing as a sign that the Jordanian government felt confident that it could join Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in cracking down on the Brotherhood, which has long operated legally in Jordan.”

Oraib al-Rantawi, director of the Al Quds Center for Political Studies, told the Times that domestic factors were more at play. “Jordan joins other regional players,” he said, “but mostly the decision is an internal one with parliamentary elections approaching and the government feeling more like the group is not playing by the rules and registering legally.”

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