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Jordan Cozies Up to Hamas

A senior Hamas delegation headed by politburo chief Khaled Mashaal has been welcomed by Amman for the second time in six months.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 6/27/2012, 7:49 PM

Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal
Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal
Reuters

A senior delegation from the Hamas terror organization, led by politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, will make an official visit to the Jordanian capital of Amman.

Mashaal will be accompanied by deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk, and politburo members Mohammed Nasser and Izzet al-Rishq.

Over the past year, Jordan has incrementally improved relations with Hamas. In late January with King Abdullah welcomed Mashaal at his palace in Amman, ten years after he was expelled from the kingdom.

Rapprochement with Hamas is a part of the Hashemite Kingdom's diplomatic shift in response to the so-called 'Arab Spring' that has rocked the Middle East and toppled several Arab governments.

Of particuliar concern for Amman is the growing political power of the Muslim Brotherhood – the Hamas' parent movement – which has seen a surge in influence through elections in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco.

Jordan faces growing pressure from the Arab world – and its own local Islamist factions – to cancel its treaty with Israel, as well as accelerated reforms that would reduce the power of the monarchy.

In the January meeting with King Abdullah, Mashaal moved to assauge the royal family's concerns, most notably those pertaining to the local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and ruling ethnic demographic that comprises only 30% of the population.

At a press conference at the end of the meeting, Mashaal stressed the importance of maintaining security and stability of Jordan.