Thursday, June 09, 2005

# Posted 1:37 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

A WHITE HAT FOR ABDULLAH: David Ignatius is convinced that the King of Jordan is one of the good guys. Ignatius says that Abdullah's reformist impulse has only been held back by his conservative intelligence chief, Gen. Saad Kheir. Thus, we should expect good things in the months to come since Abdullah has just demoted Kheir to a less influential post.

However, Jim Hoagland had much less positive things to say about Adbullah back in March:
As Arafat did, Abdullah works against U.S. interests in Iraq and elsewhere while pretending otherwise...

The king has exacerbated tensions with his aggressive championing of his co-religionists, Iraq's Sunni minority, who provided the base of past Baathist power and of the present insurgency.

Abdullah publicly warned against the coming to power of Iraq's Shiite majority as he sought to get Bush to postpone the Jan. 30 elections. He has portrayed Iraq on the edge of a religious war. He has channeled support to CIA favorites among Iraqi factions...

Former Baathist lieutenants who are now key operatives in the Iraqi insurgency still move themselves and money around Jordan without interference. In an incident that Bush should probe, U.S. officials a few months ago identified two such Iraqis and asked that they be questioned.

But the king waved the Americans off, saying that the two were minor figures who did not have blood on their hands. "We came to know that wasn't true, as he no doubt knew back then," one U.S. official told me.
I may not understand the byzantine intricacies of Jordanian court politics, but there seems to be more than enough reason to be far more skeptical of Adbullah than Mr. Ignatius wants to be.
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