Jordan's ruler distances himself from Saddam

THE MEETINGS King Hussein of Jordan held with Iraqi opposition figures in London last week indicate a distancing from Iraq's President, Saddam Hussein.

The most extraordinary meeting was with Ahmed Chalabi, a member of the Iraqi National Congress. For Mr Chalabi was convicted in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years jail for absconding with the funds of the Petra bank. The bank had earlier collapsed in both Lebanon and Switzerland. On a domestic level, King Hussein's reconciliation with Mr Chalabi stems from his traditional largesse as a monarch seeking to let bygones be bygones - albeit Mr Chalabi is not a Jordanian citizen.

On a regional level, the meetings are part of a pattern of King Hussein's, distancing himself from the policies of President Saddam. The King has always denied he supported the Iraqis. But his failure to condemn unreservedly the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait caused a rift with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs, and severe strains with Western powers such as the United States and Britain.

Signs of some slight warming with the Saudis came during King Hussein's hospitalisation in the US for the removal of his kidney. King Fahd sent a message of goodwill, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, visited him in hospital. An improvement of relations with Saudi Arabia could lead to a resumption of the oil supplies and economic assistance on which Jordan, for so many years, relied.

In London, King Hussein visited the foundation of the Iraqi Shia spiritual leader, the late Grand Ayatollah Abulqassem al-Khoei. When the Ayatollah died in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf in August, King Hussein was prevented by President Saddam from sending an envoy to offer his condolences.

Other signs of the King's more critical attitude towards President Saddam emerged in the US. King Hussein made remarks about his failure to understand why some leaders clung to power despite the suffering this caused to their people.

However, parliament, the press, and public opinion in Jordan remain greatly supportive of Iraq and President Saddam's leadership. Furthermore, any change in economic relations between Jordan and Iraq is due more to Iraqi practices than Jordanian policies. Indeed, Jordan's decline as an important entrepot for goods going to Iraq has less to do with Jordanian compliance with UN sanctions than with Iraq's execution of 42 merchants accused of profiteering. This has thrown the entire trading system into confusion, with Iraqi importers no longer sure of the rules of the game.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Client Relationship Assistant / Business Support

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you willing to give fantastic Custom...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum