OSLO, Norway – A secret U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks indicates that in 2009 the U.S. ambassador to Jordan had little faith in King Abdullah II's promises to initiate reforms in his country.
The Norwegian daily Aftenposten on Thursday published a cable by U.S. Ambassador R. Stephen Beecroft, who wrote that Abdullah "as a progressive reformer often fails to match up with his actions on the ground."
Beecroft said the government at the time had not lived up to expectations of reforms and that Jordan's politicians were "looking intently to the King for direction, eagerly (and in some cases nervously) anticipating a royal ruling on the future of reform" in Jordan.
"They have received almost nothing," he was quoted as saying in the cable, dated Oct. 8, 2009.
"The King has been largely absent from the political scene as of late and sphinxlike in his increasingly rare public appearances," the cable said.
When he came to the throne in 1999, Abdullah II vowed to press ahead with political reforms initiated by his late father, King Hussein. But little has been done.
Last month, thousands of Jordanian opposition supporters took to the streets in the country's capital of Amman, demanding government reforms and venting their anger at rising prices, inflation and unemployment.
On Tuesday, Abdullah bowed to public pressure and fired his government but the country's powerful Muslim opposition said the changes didn't go far enough.
In 2009, Beecroft was cited in the cable as saying "it will ultimately be up to the King to initiate any process of change in Jordan's political system."
Aftenposten announced in December that it had obtained the entire trove of 250,000 uncensored U.S. diplomatic documents that WikiLeaks has been distributing and said it will publish articles about those it finds relevant.