HM King Abdullah On The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to see HM King Abdullah going on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I had heard this interview was scheduled to take place a few days ago but didn’t think it would actually happen. Both clips, the actual interview and the extended un-aired version, are worth watching. The Daily Show is a whole other (unaccustomed) audience, but this reminded me of the time Jordanian politicians roamed American college campuses during the early 90’s to shill for the then-proposed peace treaty. Things have not changed so much nearly two decades later. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to revise the talking points highlighted by the King in this interview: the Israeli-Arab conflict being the crux of the entire region, the potential fast-approaching wars, and the question of Iran. Admittedly, I am not a fan of the kind of language emerging from the Jordanian state when it comes to Iran; painting the country’s leadership as the bogeyman of the Middle East, when in reality, it is just another player that must play to its constituency – no different than any current or past Arab regime.

And as for time frames the King seems to be setting out – I’m not entirely sure that things will be any different post September 30th. The strategy seems to be an attempt to lay pressure at Israel’s door to freeze settlements or else the entire region will suffer a breakdown. This doesn’t seem to make to much sense given the history of Israel’s occupation. It has continued, illegally, for years, with no immediate consequence to the region other than increased wars and conflict, which is nothing entirely new. I am perhaps a bit more pessimistic about things but my perspective of the future is derived solely from the past and present realities. Israel does not seem to mind a third of the world not recognizing it as a state, as long as that third remains powerless and as long as the other two thirds either rush to its defense or are toothless when it comes to exerting any form of pressure on it to respect human life. In any case, neither a strategy of using Iran as a stick nor forecasting an inevitable war is something I see as working towards achieving anything positive.

This is one of the reasons no one in Jordan is actively talking about this issue. While people in Jordan are in favor of peace, they are more in favor of justice. The pursuit of the latter is the only way to achieve and sustain the former – and this is something that has been articulated by the King numerous times in the past. Will we see justice materializing in any peace negotiations?

I doubt it.

Jordan will continue to linger between “Iraq and a hard place” for quite a while. And when it comes to these peace negotiations, Jordan has fallen from the ranks of having any political leverage despite having serious skin in the game. That kind of position means (at least from my perspective) that Jordan’s only role here, and specifically the King when it comes to negotiations, is to ensure that in the process, Jordan isn’t handed a raw deal. We are reluctant passengers with no power to control the direction of the runaway so-called peace train. The best we can hope for is to come out of the journey as unscathed as possible.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
King Abdullah II of Jordan
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – King Abdullah II of Jordan Extended Interview
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party


  • A friend pointed to the use of air quotes when talking about injustice in Palestine.

    On a side note: The Moderates Vs. Extremists categorization puts the majority in the latter. I am not sure that the majority are for peace as evidenced by the sympathy and emotional support for groups like Hamas,Hizballah, and to a lesser extent al-qaeda. Furthermore, the definition of peace that leaders have is different from the “no war” scenario.

    That’s it 😉

  • I thought the king oversimplified the whole conflict.. Perhaps dumbed down for a Western audience, but I feel it didn’t do any justice to the Palestinians. It was important to paint a real picture of the kind of suffering that the Palestinians are experiencing today. I didn’t understand why he was talking about a pending war.. The people of Palestine are at war and have been for the past 50 years. To no articulate that clearly and reiterate the importance of relieving people of their suffering was a missed opportunity. These peace talks are yet another charade as were the previous ones, and to make it sound like the whole world’s stability is riding on their outcome is quite misleading.

  • I don’t know who briefs him or advise him but I can assure with confidence, he has been way off on this matter and many other matters , The US/ Israel have no appetite for wars or “strikes” , the US can not even deal with so called “ragtag” Taliban who has control of over 80% of Afghanistan let alone the Iraqi resistance.
    Attacking Iran will certanlly open the gates of hell for the Obama’s administration and their so called “moderate Arab” camp.

  • I don’t agree with any of the categorizations either.

    As said by Muhannad, Peace and Justice are not synonyms when it comes to Palestine.. As long as full justice is not served, nothing changes.

  • I will differ with part of your view and the opinions posted. Although an unconventional forum, the Jon Stewart show reaches a very wide American and international audience as it is part of the very serious news network CNN. Anyone looking at communications in the world today and how to get the message across, will undoubtedly see the value of such shows. It takes a lot of skill and focus to be able to explain a point and fully deliver a message in the sound bites that are allotted in today’s super fast media. I think HM did just that. He managed to keep the conversation focused and stuck to the message that he was out to send to a disinterested American public. He sounded the alarm and explained how the Palestinian issue is at the centre of everything in the middle east and how it has, and will continue to be, hijacked by different sides for their own purposes. He also explained why peace in the middle east is in the interest of the US. He used the language and approach that resonates with the audience he was speaking to. I saw it as a job well done.

  • I am from Jordan and I live in America. I am a student at West Virginia University. I would like to say that I love His Majesty King Abdullah, he is our father, our protector, our teacher and our king. I love Him and I am proud of Him. I talked about Him and about Her Majesty Queen Rania where ever I go. I tell people about our beloved country and about our King and Queen.

  • Two things raised my eyebrows while they were open secrets I never expected to hear them discussed in such an interview. One is the fact that the region is on the brink of war, and while people in jordan are busy with the elections others in syria, lebanon and israel are playing hot potato with the issue and know that its eminent. one main piece for the puzzle is still the hariri trial and who’s going to end up with the hot potato…

    the second thing is how emotional the media in the arab world is, and how we run after things such as justice and honor with an absolute detachment from the realities making us a group of people who are still barking at the moon.
    On a separate note i found it very amusing how in al ghad and other news paper’s the headlines for the interview were not about war, or any topic but about the kings push to establish some interfaith organization… -_-‘

  • @Juman Al Bukhari hahahaha LMAO … seriously that’s your take on the whole subject !!!
    lets all join hands for dabkeh and start a Hashmiii Hashmiii blog !!!

    @Nas dude am happy that some1 finally said how trivial jordans’ position in the region has become ! seriously we’re a bunch of ignorant population who loves to repeat what they read in the newspaper ” al dawr al mif9aliii lil ordon fil mintakaa ” ! ” kitaa3 al si7aa fii al mamlaka althiii yo3aad min afdaal al kita3aat fil mantikaa”,, ” 7aith yo3tabar 5ereejee al jami3aat al ordonieh min akthaar al tolaab kafa2ataan ”


  • @ bam bam:
    I am not sure I get your point in relation to the Jordanian elections and the pending war. So how different the situation would be if this was not an election season in Jordan?

    I don’t think that terms of justice and honor coin each other. There is nothing wrong in demanding justice, it is what people expect and should pursue actively. The realist status quo and its balances are subject of continued popular criticism, and it makes sense that people criticize it all together with its results.

  • @ahmad
    What i meant by the election season in jordan, i’m only attributing it to that just because i don’t want to describe the jordanian public as unplugged. but just out of my personal outlook and contact to people in lebanon, syria, israel, and palestine they all are just bracing themselves for a war in the very close future and they are talking about what would actually spark it and a lot of them are banking on the troop withdrawals from iraq playing a central part in it all …
    as for the justice and honor its just my view on things, those terms are loaded with unnecessary emotions … how about practical, economical, living standard, future? anything that can be measured rather than felt

  • Practical is going with the international consensus that favors ending the conflict in favor of a fascist Israel. It means ending the conflict that lived for decades without resolving the root problems causing it in the first place. Rejection to end the conflict because rights 1, 2, 3,… are still unrealized rights. These just rights play the key role in economic, living standard, and future measurable concepts. How journalists are using it is one thing, but how it can formulate a policy agenda is another.

  • Observer says “the Jon Stewart show reaches a very wide American and international audience as it is part of the very serious news network CNN”
    I am in agreement with the above, which follows that yes although we are moderates and we do not want the western world blown to pieces but we still want justice to Palestine and the Palestinian people. I think when someone has a powerful voice and has the opportunity to make his voice heard on a show reaches a very wide American and international audience, he then has an obligation to let his voice (the voice of his people) be heard. After all they (the wide American and International audience) already know we (Jordanians) are moderates and not extremist but they (the wide American and International audience) also should know that what is happening in Palestine (settlements, poverty and ill living conditions in Gaza) in an injustice.
    Our voices should be heard through the voice of our Great King.
    If we are crippled to act and are a mute who cant voice our thought what are we?

    I think the whole thing was very vague, very “grey” like Jon told him to add some color to the picture that the King (God Bless Him) have painted.

  • @Observer @Serena @BamBam

    Before I begin, just to clear up a point, the Jon Stewart show is not a part of CNN. The Jon Stewart show is a satirical news show a part of the ‘Comedy Central’ channel. And I agree that Jon Stewart has been instrumental and influential in providing an alternative viewpoint on many domestic and international issues.

    This interview by the King is, unfortunately, irrelevant and does not necessarily help the cause of achieving justice for the Palestinian people. Jordan is trying to scare the West (politicians and citizens) by stating another war is inevitable if settlements don’t stop. While this is not necessarily untrue, the only reason Jordan is doing such a thing is because it completely lacks any political leverage in the Middle East today. Jordan has no say on any policy that America or Israel sets forth in the region. Action speaks louder than words. Unfortunately, Jordan’s actions don’t really amount to much. Furthermore, peace cannot be achieved without justice. Thinking about this unemotionally, it does not LOGICALLY make sense to negotiate with Israel while they ACTIVELY occupy your land, kill your people, demolish your homes etc. with the help of America. Until Israel stops, then how can peace ever come about? That is being realistic.

  • Israel is always few steps ahead of the rest of the world! they know how to turn any situation into their favor and are always running the show! With the US, Briton and most European countries behind them and their control over most of media ,there is not much any one can do to divert the Israeli’s plans. Peace can be negotiated between equal parties but I can only see it dectated on the weaker side , thus it will never hold and disastors will occur finally in the Middle east .

Your Two Piasters: