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Why aren't we up in arms about Jordan's nuclear 'threat'?

Jordan, Israel’s neighbor, has a nuclear program. And, unlike Iran, Jordan and Israel actually have a history of military confrontation.  So why isn’t Israel barking?

Yes, Israel has a peace treaty with Jordan, but if the Israeli and American hawks set their sights on Jordan’s nuclear ambitions, they would shriek that a peace treaty is not enough to secure Israel’s future. They would demand Jordan halt its uranium enrichment and dismantle its facilities.

If Jordan refused, and insisted that its nuclear program was for civilian purposes – as Iran has – Israeli leaders would threaten that Israel will do what she “has to do” to protect herself and the future of the Jewish people (more than half of which, mind you, do not live in Israel). I can just hear Netanyahu saying something like “Israel won’t hang its fate on a piece of paper.”

Then there are the Palestinians, a group that constitutes more than half of Jordan’s population. If the Palestinians and Palestinian refugees are really as fearsome and bloodthirsty as Israel makes them out to be – if the Palestinians are indeed terrorists bent on Israel’s destruction – wouldn’t a nuclear program in a country where they constitute more than half the population be of concern to Israel?

So why isn’t Israel barking about Jordan’s nuclear program? Because Jordan is a U.S. ally; because Jordan is open to Western influence.

Some would argue it’s also because Jordan’s program is for civilian purposes. But, the same could be said of Iran. In fact, American intelligence agencies believe that Iran stopped working towards a nuclear weapon in 2003.

As for Iran’s so-called intent to wipe Israel off the map, Jordan and Israel have actually had military confrontations, during the 1948 War and the Six Day War in 1967. If you had to pick who is a bigger threat, would you pick the kid you exchanged words with or the one who you actually had a fist fight with?

Regarding anti-Semitism, Iran has the largest Jewish community in the Middle East, outside of Israel. Ever heard of Jordanian Jews?

That’s not to say that Jordanians are anti-Semitic but, yes, like most places in the world, there is anti-Semitism in Jordan. When I was in Jordan recently on a reporting trip, I attended a pro-reform protest in Amman. At one point the crowd chanted “Jews are pigs” and many an interviewee told me that they want to see a Palestine free of Jews. Still, Israel and the United States aren’t up in arms about Jordan’s nuclear program.

One last point: according to a 2010 study, Jordan is the fifth most militarized country in the world, with Israel, Singapore, Syria, and Russia taking the top four spots, in that order.

According to the same research, Iran came in as the 32nd most militarized country in the world, lagging far behind Israel’s neighbors Jordan and Syria.

By Israeli political standards, it sounds like a real formula for disaster, right? Israel’s neighbor – a highly militarized country with a history of armed conflict with Israel, a country full of Palestinian refugees, a country in which the largest political opposition party is the Islamic Action Front, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood – has a nuclear program. Yet Israel and the United States are mum, suggesting that the Palestinians, Islamists, and nuclear programs aren’t the existential threat Israel pretends them to be.

Sort of makes you wonder what all the fuss about Iran is really about, doesn’t it?

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    1. Jack

      Israel have already done this. Which proves Israel is against ANY state from becoming a potential nuclear power. They want to maintain their nuclear weapons hegemony and occupation of Palestine.

      Israel ‘blocks’ Jordan nuclear bid, King Abdullah says

      Reply to Comment
    2. mya guarnieri

      hi jack, thanks for the link and for making this great point. still, this doesn’t come anywhere close to israel’s hysteria about iran’s nuclear program. best, mya

      Reply to Comment
    3. Matt

      “Yes, Israel has a peace treaty with Jordan, but if the Israeli and American hawks set their sights on Jordan’s nuclear ambitions, they would shriek that a peace treaty is not enough to secure Israel’s future. They would demand Jordan halt its uranium enrichment and dismantle its facilities.”

      I didn’t realize 972mag was in the business of reporting what would happen rather than what is or has happened.

      Reply to Comment
    4. mya guarnieri

      matt: it’s not filed under news because i’m not reporting. it’s analysis. hence, on the home page, that word “analysis” that appears next to the title… 😉

      Reply to Comment
    5. Matt

      Ah, in that case, I didn’t realize 972mag was in the business of analyzing what would happen rather than what is or has happened. Does your crystal ball also do lottery numbers?

      I look forward to your next op ed about what the Israeli and American hawks would do if aliens landed in Jerusalem and said that the Mormons got it all right.

      Reply to Comment
    6. JG

      Mya: Sorry to pile on here that your analysis is ill-constructed. The question of whether Iran intends to weaponize its nuclear production for the purpose of threatening Israel (and whether Israel can make any moves to defuse its diplomatic standstill with its neighbors) is, obviously, debatable.

      But to suggest that Iran is no more a threat than Jordan is just naive. It is also crude to suggest that pro-Israel hawks have limitless paranoia. Did you not consider reaching out to any of the hawks and check in what they thought regarding this possible Jordanian threat?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      Was this article serious or tongue-in-cheek? If it was meant seriously, well, the relevant differences between Jordan and Iran are kind of obvious, too obvious even to bother spelling out. But if the article was meant as a joke, then my apologies, my irony detector must be on the blink.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Leen

      Interestingly, North Korea is testing long range missiles and nuclear weapons, yet where is everyone’s attention? IRAN IRAN IRAN!!!!

      Reply to Comment
    9. Jack

      If Jordan had proceed as staunchly as Iran, we would soon hear about the “jordanian threat” and disinformation from Israel. However since Jordan doesnt do this and since Jordan is what Mubarak/Egypt was (a western puppet), Jordan will never reach this status.

      Reply to Comment
    10. NC

      Just to save all of you the trouble of commenting and reading this, Jordan’s Nuclear Program is MONITORED and SUPERVISED by Germany and the USA. Jordan literally almost has nothing to do with it. Germany and the US insure that no information gets leaked to Jordan to keep it a power reactor and not develop into military. In any case, even if Jordan had the know-how, Jordan has no money, neither the resource nor the human capital to embark on such a large scale project.

      So please don’t waste your time and read this article.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Christopher

      Jordan’s nuclear program is under totally western-Israeli supervision. I wonder why Israel & US would up in arms about Jordan’s nuclear threat?
      I think also it’s Israeli interest to relocate Dimona nuclear facility into Jordan.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Iman

      Although the nuclear “threat” from Iran is more myth than fact, Iran and Jordan aren’t comparable.

      As far as I know, Jordan doesn’t have a ballistic missile program like Iran does, and Jordan’s economy is less than one twenty-fifth the size of Iran’s economy.

      Reply to Comment
    13. mary

      Jordan program is based on deception and ignorance rather than scientific facts … the huge uranium reserves, which Toukan claimed the country had, proved to be all lies … so it seems there is nothing to worry about

      Reply to Comment
    14. aristeides

      In short, because Iran is a free state, not under the control of the imperialist combine, so it must be destroyed.

      Reply to Comment