Jordanian King Abdullah II launched a broadside against regional leaders in an interview published on Tuesday in a US magazine, saying Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has “no depth” in reading the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sees democracy as a “bus ride.”
In remarks to the Atlantic that the Jordanian palace said were “taken out of context,” the king also said “wolves in sheep’s clothing” ran the Muslim Brotherhood, criticizing some Western allies for failing to understand that.
He reserved some harsh words for Morsi:
“I was trying to explain to him how to deal with Hamas, how to get the peace process moving, and he was like: ‘The Israelis will not move.” I said: ‘Listen, whether the Israelis move or don’t move, it’s how we get Fatah and Hamas [the rival Palestinian factions] together,” the king told Jeffrey Goldberg. “There’s no depth to the guy.”
Abdullah said that Erdogan “once said that democracy for him is a bus ride. ‘Once I get to my stop, I’m getting off.’”
“Instead of the Turkish model, taking six or seven years — being an Erdogan — Morsi wanted to do it overnight,” king added.
Asked if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was “a bit of a provincial,” the king replied: “There was a dinner with me and him and the king of Morocco, at the king’s residence in Cairo. And so Bashar at dinner turns to us and says: ‘Can you guys explain to me what jet lag is?’ He never heard of jet lag.”
King Abdullah, whose country is a key US ally, believes his Western allies are naive about the Brotherhood, saying he was told that “the only way you can have democracy is through the Muslim Brotherhood,” the report said.
“I see a Muslim Brotherhood crescent developing in Egypt and Turkey,” he said.
“The Arab Spring highlighted a new crescent in the process of development,” he added, insisting that “our major fight” is to prevent that.
The palace in Amman issued a statement saying the report “contained many errors and the king’s remarks were taken out of context.”