Who do you trust these days?
The tug-of-war between the government and the IAF in Jordan is a traditional centerpiece of Jordanian politics. It’s a back and forth effort and it has just gotten to a point where one cannot trust either and it merely becomes a question of who can be trusted less.
There are moments when the IAF say or do something that is completely absurd yet at the same time, we don’t need to go through any cabinet’s history with a fine tooth comb to find similar moves.
But once something does happen the IAF will always move into a defensive mode and point the government’s seemingly anti-IAF stance as the reason for the party’s misfortunes. The IAF will say that the government is spreading rumors in order to marginalize it. This is followed by a week of the government insisting it has nothing against the IAF.
Then there are those other times: the ones where the IAF seems to be building some positive momentum in the background and the government suddenly makes a timely announcement such as the capture of Islamic militants in the country (including IAF members). The government will claim that the IAF has its interests and concerns vested outside the Kingdom, which is a not so subtle way of saying they’re anti-Jordan. This is followed by weeks of the party insisting that it loves Jordan.
It’s a rinse and repeat process that has been going on for some time now, especially these past few years. In fact, this very process has been playing out in the past few weeks, with only one addition: the IAF claimed the government has been trying to marginalize it ahead of the upcoming elections. It was a meeting between the beards and the non-beards of Jordanian politics.
Neither camp can be trusted in my opinion. There are times when the IAF must take full responsibility and be held fully accountable for its absurd actions, such as the decision by some of its MPs to call Zarqawi a martyr while taking a jab at the victims who died in the Amman bombing; in such instances (which are plenty) there is no scapegoat. Yet, there are other times when one cannot help but look at government announcements, actions, tone and language to be suspiciously anti-IAF.
Each camp uses the other as a scapegoat. Each group has different objectives with regards to the others. But erosion of power seems to top the list.
Playing devil’s advocate for a minute:
If the government is truly aiming to erode the popularity of the Islamists in the country its attempts have been futile thusfar. Governments that do not have the people’s confidence in the first place are in no social standing to go out and destroy the confidence in another political entity. It’s like casting stones from behind a glass house. The IAF will inevitably be playing the ‘government is anti-Islam(ists)’ card forcing a lot of people who were not for the party in the first place to edge slightly towards it. When elections come around the IAF simply repeats the ‘government is corrupt’ mantra to sweep up some popularity. In other words, when the government does target the party, it only ends up strengthening them.
I am personally not a fan of either political entity, but their frequent scuffles leave much to be desired in the area of trust.
In truth, the IAF is one of those parties that does not need help in screwing up.
But then again, the same can be said of any Jordanian government these days.
Though it is just a tad fun watching both the government and the IAF scuffle in the mud, dragging each other down time and time again until they are both tainted with the same dirt.