The growing pressure on President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is likely to affect the sister Islamist movement in Jordan, but the group’s popularity or demise will be determined more by the kingdom’s internal conditions, according to experts.
Mohammed Abu Rumman, a political analyst, stressed the “organic unity” of Islamist movements in the Arab world, saying in remarks to Al Arabiya English on Tuesday that “the success or failure of an Islamic state model in an Arab country will have its positive or negative effect on the other Islamic movements seeking power in other Arab states.”
“Certainly, the growing anger in Egypt against Mursi’ recent decisions and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will affect the popularity of Jordan’s Islamist Movement,” Abu Rumman said.
But this impact, he added, will not be crucial to decay of the Jordan’s Brotherhood movement.
Despite their “organic unity” within the International Brotherhood Organization and their common quest to establish an Islamic state, Muslim Brotherhood movements differ from one country to another and in each country they use different tactics, Abu Rumman said.
“Jordan’s Islamist Movement has long been in harmony and mutuality with the regime but this relationship has changed dramatically during the past ten years to be marked with crisis and tension,” he added.
The kingdom’s decades-long Islamist Movement long embraced the country’s political system. Several of its members previously held government and parliamentary posts but the group’s political arm, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), boycotted the 2010 parliamentary elections and has decided to boycott the upcoming January polls, in protest against an election law.
In the early months of the Arab Spring, Jordan’s Brotherhood movement took part in protests demanding a change to the election law, but those demands were raised later to the calling for a constitutional amendment that would limit the powers of the king.
“In Jordan, the unrivaled presence of the Islamist movement in the street is being gradually replaced by another popular force whose influence is gaining grounds and will soon have the upper hand in shaping the country’s political scene,” Abu Rumman said.
He pointed out to the spontaneous nationwide demonstrations against corruption and for better living conditions.
“The Islamist movement’s attempts to be the only player in the political scene and its make-up, mostly from Jordanians of Palestrina origins, has given rise to another political powers from east Jordan,” Abu Rumman said. “The competing force will replace the Islamists soon.”
What is contributing to the Islamists losing their glamor and influence in Jordan, according to Abu Rumman, is their “inability to maintain their allies.”
“The leftist parties disserted the Islamists and started to be more moderate,” he said.
The Islamist movement was part of the National Front for Reform, an independent coalition of pro-reform parties, headed by former premier Ahmad Obeidat. The group then formed a pro-reform front of its own.
What is also weakening the Muslim Brotherhood movements in Jordan and in other countries is the increasing divisions, Abu Rumman said, adding that some members oppose the idea of pursuing power, which they see as a pragmatic move, and they prefer sticking to preaching politicized action.
“Definitely, the glamor of the Islamists will fade gradually once they rule. People admired them being freedom fighters who spend most of their time in prisons for the sake of their people,” Abu Rumman said.
Hamzah Mansour, IAF secretary general, was quoted by the Arabic daily al-Ghad as saying, “Jordan’s Constitution stipulates that Islam is the religion of the country. Islam will solve all problems and can achieve the welfare of humanity.”
“Most political parties in Jordan are unsustainable and unstable as they are linked to their founders,” Mansour added.