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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Valerie Trierweiler’s book paints Hollande as a cold-hearted hypocrite
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
filmsMockingjay Part 1 taking hit franchise to new levels
Life and Style
techSweet Peach says scent 'shows more important things are working'
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
i100
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

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Ashdown Group: Junior Reports Developer / Application Support Engineer

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Recruitment Genius: Client Support Officer

£10 - £11 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The candidate must be committed, engag...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible