Storm brewing as King Abdullah denies attacking the neighbours

Jordan's monarch hits out at US journalist as comments about several Arab leaders cause a stir

Beirut

The King of Jordan has fired a broadside against a veteran US journalist for penning a magazine article in which the monarch was quoted berating other Middle Eastern leaders and describing his country’s tribal elders as “dinosaurs”.

Abdullah II’s court released a statement calling Jeffrey Goldberg’s 10,000-word piece for The Atlantic “inaccurate and dishonest” after its contents caused a stir in regional media. Of particular contention were what seemed to be  derisory references to the leaders of Turkey and Egypt, and tribal chieftains in Jordan’s impoverished south.

The article, which paints a portrait of a weary monarch with a deep mistrust of the Muslim Brotherhood, comes at a delicate time for the pro-Western King. Abdullah managed to cling to power even as his country was buffeted by Arab Spring protests, but he has since faced increasing criticism from the country’s tribes – a traditional backbone of support.

Mr Goldberg’s article noted that on a trip to Karak to meet tribal elders, the King looked forward to flying his helicopter (he pilots Black Hawks) more than the day’s events. “I’m sitting with the old dinosaurs today,” he was quoted as saying.

The palace statement suggested that the journalist had mixed his own opinions with the King’s, and incorrectly interpreted some of his remarks. Mr Goldberg responded on Twitter, saying the royal court was not questioning the accuracy of his quotes but the analysis of his piece in local and international media reports.

Describing a “Muslim Brotherhood crescent developing in Egypt and Turkey” some of the king’s most derogatory comments were reserved for the Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi. “There’s no depth to the guy,” he was quoted as saying. He chided western leaders for being taken in by the “Masonic cult” that is run by “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

Abdullah said that when he invited Jordan’s own Muslim Brotherhood for consultations at the started of the Arab Spring and the party pledged loyalty, he replied by saying: “That is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard.”

Of the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the King said Mr Erdogan’s party was simply promoting a softer-edged version of Islamism, and that the premier had once said that “democracy for him is a bus ride. ‘Once I get to my stop, I’m getting off’.”

Even his own family did not escape unscathed. “Look at some of my brothers. They believe that they’re princes, but my cousins are more princes than my brothers, and their in-laws are like – oh my God,” he said.

A royal court statement asserted that King Abdullah is “proud of all Jordanians and all state mechanisms and institutions.”

In his own words: King’s world view

Before a meeting with Jordan’s  tribal leaders

“I’m sitting with the old dinosaurs today.”

 On Mohammad Morsi, the President of Egypt

“There’s no depth to the guy… I was trying to explain to him how to deal with Hamas, how to get the peace process moving, and he was like, ‘The Israelis will not move.’ I said, ‘Listen, whether the Israelis move or don’t move, it’s how we get Fatah and Hamas together’.”

On Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad

“There was a dinner with me and him and the King of Morocco, at the King’s residence in Cairo. And so Bashar, right, at dinner turns to us and says, ‘Can you guys explain to me what jet lag is?’ The king arched an eyebrow at me [saying], “He never heard of jet lag.”

On the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Ergogan

“Erdogan once said that democracy for him is a bus ride. Once I get to my stop, I’m getting off.”

 On regional politics

“I see a Muslim Brotherhood crescent developing  in Egypt and Turkey. The Arab Spring highlighted  a new crescent in  the process of development.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
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: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

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...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
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