Despite decades of relative stability, a Pentagon advisor and
military strategist says Jordan is beginning to feel the effects
the so-called "Arab Spring" has had on its neighbors.
Jordanian military prosecutors recently charged 11 men with
suspected links to al-Qaeda for terrorism conspiracy in planning
attacks on shopping malls and Western diplomatic missions. The
suspects, all Jordanians in their 20s and 30s, have confessed to
plotting attacks and illegally possessing weapons and explosives.
If convicted, they face the death penalty.
Jordanian officials have said some of the men are affiliated
with the banned Salafi movement, which promotes an extreme brand of
Islam. The country has for the most part been the most stable of
the Arab states and has a peace treaty with Israel, but this
incident -- plus the turmoil in other predominantly Muslim
Middle Eastern countries -- has raised concerns that the
Muslim Brotherhood might eventually swallow up Jordan as well.
Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis
(USA-Ret.), now senior fellow for national security at the Family Research
Council, says that threat is very real.
"The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood is fairly active," he notes.
"And, of course, with all the activity to their southwest in Egypt
and to their north in Syria, you have a very active Muslim
Brotherhood up there that is aligned with Salafists, who, of
course, are the most radical."
That said, Maginnis does not think there will be a change in the
"Right now I think it's not going to happen near-term," he
predicts. "But long-term, if the instability around them continues,
I think it can't help but infect them as well."