Jordan's King Abdullah has aged quite a bit since his non-speaking roll on the television
show "Star Trek: Voyager" when he was Prince. He loved Star Trek so much in 2011 he planned a Star Trek themed amusement part in Jordan. He's been the Monarch in the Middle as the Atlantic calls him. King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein has lived a balancing act in a region where peace and balance don't exist.
In a recent interview he speaks his mind, warning US President Barack Obama about trusting the Muslim Brotherhood, and much more.
It is a small miracle, of course, that he is still in power at all. He has survived the first wave of the Arab Spring revolutions, which have so far claimed the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, and will almost inevitably claim the Syrian president as well. But he has been roughed up in the process.
Geography has cursed Jordan. To Abdullah’s north is the charnel house of Syria, a failed state in the making. To his east is Iraq’s bloody Anbar province. Saudi Arabia, ruled by the superannuated princes of the House of Saud, the ancient rivals of the Hashemites, sits to his southeast. To his west are the obstreperous Israelis, as well as the disputatious Palestinians. Al‑Qaeda wants to kill him. The Iranian regime doesn’t like him very much either, especially since he denounced, in 2004, what he saw as a rising, Iranian-led “Shia crescent” looming over the Middle East. His country is broke, dependent on the United States, the International Monetary Fund, and haughty gulf Arabs to cover its budget. (The IMF recently forced fuel-price hikes that have intensified the domestic resentment directed at the throne.) [snip]
Abdullah kept repeating that he wanted to devolve power to an elected parliament, so I finally asked him whether he wanted a purely ceremonial role: “You don’t want to be Queen Elizabeth, do you?”
“Well, where are monarchies in 50 years?” he said. (read it all at The Atlantic)
Here are a few quotes from Abdullah:
You know, the king said, when I reached my 10-year anniversary, I remember sitting down with members of my family and my close friends and saying, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’
In our culture, if you don’t agree with me, you start shooting each other, or at least throwing our shoes at each other.
You see that black mark on the forehead—to show off that you pray five times a day? he asked. Why do that? That’s complete nonsense. I feel like having a black magic marker just to annoy people, to put a mark on my head.
In Jeffrey Goldberg's interview with Abdullah, he talks about 'sitting with the old
dinosaurs who have no plan, no program for economic or social reform. He talks about the negatives of his country, the secret police, etc. He seems very open.