King Abdullah Assassinated - History

King Abdullah Assassinated - History

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King Abdullah of Jordan (formerly Transjordan) was assassinated while praying at the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem. Abdullah had been engaging in secret negotiations with Israel and was killed by a Palestinian extremist. Abdullah was succeeded by his son Emir Talal who was later declared mentally ill. His son, Crown Prince Hussein, took over and has ruled Jordan ever since.

Profile: King Abdullah I of Jordan

Abdullah was a moderate leader who dreamed of a greater Arab state.

King Abdullah I was assassinated on the steps of the
al-Aqsa Mosque by a Palestinian gunman in 1951

Born to the Hashemite as-Sayyid Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif Hussein of Mecca and close ally to the British, as-Sayyid Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, king of Tansjordan, ruled as a moderate with a pro-Western outlook, which many say was the cause of his assassination.

Abdullah became ruler of the Transjordan territory in 1921 after a British mandate was set, and in 1946, Transjordan received independence and Abdullah became King Abdullah I of Jordan.

Before acquiring rulership of the Transjordan territory from the British, Abdullah and his forces planed to liberate Syria and dislodge the French from Damascus.

Rise to power

When Abdullah was notified of the French forces capturing Damascus at the battle of Maysloun and that his brother Faysal, who was crowned king in 1918, had been expelled, Abdullah moved his forces from Hejaz into Syria.

When Winston Churchill heard of Abdullah’s plans, he invited him to the infamous “tea party” and asked Abdullah not to attack the French, who were Britain’s allies.

Abdullah was convinced to back down, and was rewarded when the British created a protectorate for him, which later became a state, Transjordan.

Moderate ruler

While Abdullah was considered a moderate leader, he and his beliefs were seen as a threat among other Arab leaders in the area.

Abdullah dreamed of a Greater Syria comprising the borders of what was then Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and the British mandate for Palestine under a Hashemite dynasty with “a throne in Damascus”.

Because of this dream, he was the only Arab leader to accept the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.

Many Arab countries distrusted Abdullah and saw this wish as a threat to the independence of their own countries. They also believed him to be friendly with the idea of the creation of a Jewish state.

With these accusations, Abdullah in return distrusted his fellow Arab leaders.

Abdullah was a moderate in the eyes of the West, even standing for peace with Israel, and would have signed a peace agreement with the Jewish state, were it not for the Arab League’s opposition.

While Abdullah was against military action, he was pressured by neighbouring Arab states in 1948 to join the all-Arab military offensive against the newly created State of Israel, ending with the conclusion of the 1949 Armistice Agreements.

The assassination

Did you Know?

Abdulla was a member of the Hashemite dynasty, a descendant of the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad.

Abdullah had five children: Prince Talal, Prince Nayef, Princess Haya, Princess Munera and Princess Maqbouleh

Abdullah was assassinated at the foot of the stairs of the al-Aqsa Mosque, near the tomb of his father, Sharif Hussein.

Abdullah’s belief in creating substantial peace followed him to his death, a crucial mark in Jordan’s history.

Robert B. Satloff, the executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, stated in his book, From Abdullah to Hussein: Jordan in Transition, that: “In one sense, Abdullah’s death clearly marked the end of an era in Jordanian history. After a quarter-century as amir and then another five years as king, Abdullah’s reign was synonymous, not merely coterminous, with Transjordan’s consolidation, autonomy, independence, and ultimately, expansion.

“With great intensity of purpose, Abdullah focused his efforts on the twin objectives of nation and state building, and his significant progress toward them was in the end, his greatest achievement. Transjordan bore his indelible mark, not that of either the Sharifian elite he brought with him north from the Hijaz or the Syrians, Palestinians, and Circassians he enlisted over the years to administer the affairs of state.”

On July 20, 1951, Abdullah was assassinated on the steps of one of the holiest shrines of Islam, the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, during Friday prayers, by a Palestinian opposed to Jordan’s tolerance of Israel.

A few days earlier, Riad Bey al-Solh, a former prime minister of Lebanon, had been assassinated in Amman, Jordan, where rumours were circulating that Lebanon and Jordan were discussing peace with Israel.

Abdullah was in Jerusalem to give a eulogy at the funeral of the former Lebanese prime minister and was shot while attending Friday prayers at the steps of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

The gunman fired three deadly bullets into Abdullah’s head and chest. The king’s grandson, Hussein bin Talal (King of Jordan from 1953 to 1999) was at his side.

It is rumoured that a medal that had been pinned to Hussein’s chest at his grandfather’s persistence deflected the bullet and saved his life.

The late Abdullah was succeeded by his son Talal, however, since Talal was mentally ill, Talal’s son – Hussein – became the effective ruler as King Hussein at the age of 17.

Assassination of King Abdullah

King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated at the entrance to the El Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. His assailant, who was shot dead by the bodyguard, was an Arab who had been a member of a military force associated with the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem.

Assassin a follower of the ex-Mufti

King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated by an Arab yesterday at the entrance to the El Aqsa Mosque, in the Old City of Jerusalem. The assassin, who had hidden behind the main gate of the mosque, shot at close range and was himself immediately shot dead by the King's bodyguard.

The King, who was 69, died instantly. His elder son, the Emir Talal, is undergoing medical treatment abroad, and in his absence the younger son, Prince Naif, took the oath of allegiance as Regent at a meeting of the Council of Ministers. The King's body was flown to the capital, Amman, and will be buried in the Royal Cemetery on Monday. A state of emergency has been proclaimed throughout the country.

The assassin is reported to have been identified as Mustafa Shukri Ashshu, a 21-year-old tailor in the Old City. During the Arab-Jewish war he was a member of the "dynamite squad" attached to the Arab irregular forces which were associated with the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem and became bitter enemies of Abdullah. Information was received at the Jordan Legation in London last night that several men were concerned in the crime.

Search for accomplices

Jordan guards stopped all traffic between the Jordan and Israel sectors of Jerusalem and closed the frontier at noon, fifteen minutes after the assassination. A search was made in the Old City for accomplices. The Aqsa Mosque, where the King was murdered as he was about to attend noon prayers, is within half a mile of the Israeli border.

Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, said in Alexandria yesterday that he was going to Amman immediately to express the regret of the Arab world. "King Abdullah served the Arab States all his life and the assassination is a crime condemned by every religion." The Regent of Iraq and the Jordan Minister in London will fly to Amman to-day.

Messages of condolence have been sent from the Middle Eastern capitals to the Jordan Royal Family. At the United Nations headquarters in New York, Dr. Ralph Bunche, the former Acting Mediator in Palestine, said: "King Abdullah was a unique personality in the modern world. He was a philosopher and poet, but he was also a realist and politically very astute. He was one of the most c harming men I have ever known. In all my dealings with him in connection with the Palestine dispute, I found him always friendly and reasonable and one whose word could be fully trusted."

General William Riley, Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Commission in Palestine, said: "I regret exceedingly the loss of a very fine individual with whom I have been associated with both personally and officially, on matters pertaining the Palestine problems over the past three years. I have lost a good friend."

A French Foreign Office spokesman said the assassination was seen as an alarming sign of increasing tension and instability in the Middle East. This was more especially so as it followed the killing of Riad Bey es Sohl, the former Premier of the Lebanon, who was assassinated at Amman four days ago.

King Abdullah is the fourth Moslem leader to be assassinated in four months. General Razmara, the Persian Prime Minister, like King Abdullah, was shot while entering a mosque by a member of the Fidiyan Islam sect on March 7. Twelve days later his close friend Dr Abdul Hamid Zanganeh, a Minister of Education, was shot on the steps of Tehran University, also by a member of Fidiyan Islam.

The third murder was that of Riad es Sohl, in Jordan. He had visited King Abdullah and was on his way to the airport to return to Beirut. His murderers were said to be members of the Syrian Nationalist party.

The Crown Prince Talal, who is 40, is now undergoing medical treatment following a "general health deterioration which has produced nerve weakness." Prince Naif, the new Regent, went to Sandhurst after spending some time in the desert with a nomad tribe. Prince Talal's son, the 14-year-old Prince Hussein, is now studying at Victoria College, Alexandria.

The young King Feisal of Iraq, who is now at school in Britain, is Abdullah's great-nephew. Abdullah's father, King Hussein, was deposed as ruler of the Hejaz by King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, beginning a feud between the two families which ended after 25 years when Abdullah paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia in 1948.

Abdullah's part in stabilising Middle East

The news of the assassination of King Abdullah of Jordan has been received with profound distress and horror in London. A message of sympathy has been sent by the King to the family of King Abdullah.

The kingdom of Jordan was one of the stabilising elements in the Middle East. For this Abdullah was himself primarily responsible. He leaves behind him, however, a strong Government headed by an energetic and competent Prime Minister. It may be hoped, therefore, that the immediate effects on law and order in Jordan may not prove as disastrous as they would probably be in other Arab countries.

The assassin is stated to be an Arab tailor, formerly a member of forces associated with the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem. This might give some indication of the purpose which lay behind the act. The ex-Mufti, who spent part of the war in Berlin giving such assistance as he could to the Germans, has long been a bitter political enemy of King Abdullah. After Britain surrendered the mandate over Palestine the ex-Mufti put himself at the head of a movement to create an Arab State in Palestine.

In 1950, after the fighting between the Arab States and Israel had been brought to an end, King Abdullah formally incorporated within his kingdom that part of Palestine which bordered on Jordan and which was still occupied by his troops. This step was subsequently recognised by the British and American Governments. It naturally provoked the bitter enmity of the ex-Mufti, whose movement for an Arab Palestine State has steadily been losing support ever since. No information has, however, yet reached London connecting the assassination of King Abdullah directly with the ex-Mufti's movement. The ex-Mufti is believed to be in Syria at present.

Mr Churchill said to-day, after learning of the assassination: "I deeply regret the murder of this wise and faithful Arab ruler, who never deserted the cause of Britain and held out the hand of reconciliation to Israel." The Israeli Minister in London commented: "The assassination of King Abdullah has not only deprived the people of Jordan of their monarch but constitutes a serious blow to peace and stability in the Middle East. King Abdullah was a man who worked hard for understanding and peace between Israel and Jordan and whose efforts, if successful, would have contributed much to the welfare and progress of the entire area."

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Reform and protests

2009 November - King dissolves parliament half-way through its four-year term

2009 December - King Abdullah appoints new premier to push through economic reform.

2010 May - New electoral law introduced. Pro-reform campaigners say it does little to make system more representational.

2010 October - Leader of Islamist militant group jailed for plotting attacks on the army.

2010 November - Parliamentary elections, boycotted by the opposition Islamic Action Front. Riots break out after it is announced that pro-government candidates have won a sweeping victory.

2011 January - Tunisian street protests which unseat the president encourage similar demonstrations in other countries, including Jordan.

2011 February - Against a background of large-scale street protests, King Abdullah appoints a new prime minister, former army general Marouf Bakhit, and charges him with carrying out political reforms.

2011 October - Protests continue through the summer, albeit on a smaller scale, prompting King Abdullah to replace Prime Minister Bakhit with Awn al-Khasawneh, a judge at the International Court of Justice.

2012 April - Prime Minister Awn al-Khasawneh resigns abruptly, have been unable to satisfy either demands for reform or establishment fears of empowering the Islamist opposition. King Abdullah appoints former prime minister Fayez al-Tarawneh to succeed him.

2012 October - King Abdullah calls early parliamentary elections for January. The Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, the Islamic Action Front, decides to continue to boycott them in protest at unequal constituency sizes and lack of real parliamentary power. The King appoints Abdullah Ensour, a former minister and vocal advocate of democratic reform, as prime minister.

2012 November - Clashes between protesters and supporters of the king follow mass demonstrations in Amman against the lifting of fuel subsidies, at which calls for the end of the monarchy are heard. Three people are killed.

2013 January - Pro-government candidates victorious in parliamentary elections which are boycotted by the main opposition Islamic Action Front.

2013 March - New government sworn in, with incumbent Abdullah Ensour reinstalled as prime minister following unprecedented consultation between the king and parliament.

2014 June - Radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada, deported from the UK after a long legal battle, is found not guilty of terrorism offences by a court in Jordan over an alleged plot in 1998.

Fighting Islamic State

2014 September - Jordan is one of four Arab states to take part, together with the US, in air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria.

2014 November - Jordanian authorities arrest the deputy head of the country's Muslim Brotherhood organisation, in the first arrest of a major opposition figure in Jordan for several years.

2015 February - Islamic State publishes a video purporting to show captured Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh being burned alive. Jordan responds by stepping up its anti-Islamic-State air campaign and executing prisoners.

European Union says it is providing 100 million euros ($113 million) in loans to Jordan to help it deal with the fallout from crises in Syria and Iraq.

2015 March - Jordan takes part in Saudi-led air strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen.

2016 September - First parliamentary elections under proportional representation since 1989.

2016 December - Ten people, including a tourist, are killed in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group at a Crusader castle in the town of Karak.

2017 August - Jordan and Iraq reopen their main border crossing for the first time in two years after Islamic State militants were driven from the main highway to Baghdad.

2018 June - Street protests against tax hikes and other measures being introduced as part of an austerity programme lead to the fall of Prime Minister Hani Mulki and his replacement with the education minister and economist, Omar al-Razzaz.

Assassination of Abdullah I, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (1951)

On July 20, 1951, King Abdullah I was shot and killed while attending prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Jordan. He was succeeded by his eldest son, King Talal.

King Abdullah I of Jordan. source: Wikipedia

King Abdullah I

King Abdullah was the first King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He was born in February 1882 to the Emir of Mecca and his first wife. Following the Great Arab Revolt in 1916, Abdullah was named King of Iraq but he refused the throne. The Iraqi throne went instead to his brother Faisal. In 1921, Abdullah was recognized by the United Kingdom as Emir of Transjordan, a British protectorate. In 1946, Transjordan ceased to be a British protectorate and became the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan (later renamed Jordan in 1949), with Abdullah as its first King. He had three wives and five children, including his successor, King Talal. The only Arab ruler to accept the UN’s plan for Palestine, Abdullah later took part in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, annexing the territories of the West Bank captured by Jordanian troops in Palestine. He later entered into secret peace negotiations with Israel, which likely led to his assassination.

The Assassin – Mustafa Shukri Ashu

Mustafa Shukri Ashu was a 21-year old tailor’s apprentice, who was described as a “former terrorist” and had been recruited to kill the King. While he was the one who pulled the trigger, ten men were tried for the part in the assassination, including Colonel Abdullah at-Tell who had been the Governor of Jerusalem and Musa Ahmad al-Ayubbi, a vegetable merchant. At-Tell and al-Ayubbi were found guilty and sentenced to death, despite having fled the country.

The Assassination

Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. photo: By Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0,

On July 16, 1951, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Riad Bey Al Solh, was assassinated in Amman. Four days later, on July 20, King Abdullah – accompanied by his grandson, the future King Hussein – traveled to Jerusalem to attend Al Solh’s funeral at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. While waiting for Friday prayers to begin, the king was approached by a Palestinian activist, Mustafa Shukri Ashu, who fired three shots, hitting the king in the chest and head and killing him instantly. The young Hussein was also caught in the gunfire – miraculously escaping harm when a bullet ricocheted off a medal he was wearing at his grandfather’s insistence.

What happened to King Abdullah?

The mausoleum of King Abdullah I (center)

The King died instantly from his wounds. His body was returned quickly to Amman, where his funeral and burial took place. As his son and successor, Talal, was in a hospital in Switzerland being treated for mental illness, Abdullah’s second son, Naif, was appointed as Regent until Talal could return to Jordan. Naif, along with the Regent of Iraq, presided over the funeral services, afterwhich Abdullah’s body was interred in a mausoleum at the Royal cemetery near Raghadan Palace.

Abdullah’s grandson, King Hussein, c1953. source: Wikipedia

Just a year later, Talal was forced to abdicate due to his mental illness and was succeeded by his eldest son, King Hussein, who was just 16 years old at the time.

King Abdullah Assassinated - History

King Abdullah, the founder of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, will always be held in the pages of history as a unique and monumental figure during the newly emerging era of the contemporary Arab World. Mentor to his grandson, the late King Hussein I of Jordan, Abdullah’s character constituted a blend of the traditionalist and the modern. His public career was predominately forward-looking and modern. This is exemplified by him being one of the first Arab leaders to adopt a system of constitutional monarchy during the early years following the formation of his country, and the need he felt - from his experience - for the participation and representation of his people.

Under the Hashemite banner and his father’s inspiration, Abdullah led the Arab forces of the Great Arab Revolt, with his brothers Ali, Feisal and Zeid against the Ottoman occupational forces. By the end of the First World War, they had liberated Damascus, modern Jordan and most of the Arabian peninsula. Following this conquest, Emirs Abdullah and Feisal assumed the thrones of Transjordan and Iraq respectively. Transjordan was formed on April 21, 1921 when King Abdullah established the first centralized governmental system out of a mostly tribal and nomadic society. Over the next thirty years, he focused on nation-building thus developing the institutional foundations of modern Jordan. With great purpose and vision, he sought autonomy and independence establishing democratic legitimacy by promulgating Jordan’s first constitution in 1928 and holding elections for its first parliament in 1929. Also during these three decades, the King presided over a series of Anglo-Transjordanian treaties culminating in the March 22, 1946 Anglo-Transjordanian Treaty, ending the British mandate, gaining full independence and changing the name of the country to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, King Abdullah’s Jordanian Arab Legion was instrumental in the defense of Jerusalem and parts of Palestine. The Jordanian army displayed courage and heroism, and was widely acknowledged for its high level of professionalism, tenacity and bravery against a force superior in number and armament. The Arab Legion successfully routed the fortified Jewish forces from the Old City and secured East Jerusalem despite the subsequent determined but ineffectual Israeli offensives to remove the Jordanian Arab Legion. The war came to an end in mid-July, as a series of armistice agreements were signed between Arab parties and Israel at the Rhodes Conference. Jordan did not participate at Rhodes, but concluded its armistice with Israel directly on the ground.

On July 20, 1951 King Abdullah traveled to Jerusalem for his regular Friday prayers with his young grandson, Hussein. The King was assassinated by a lone gunman on the steps of one of the holiest shrines of Islam, and the jewel of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque. Miraculously, the bullet meant for Hussein deflected off a medal he was wearing, thereby saving his life. King Abdullah rests in the Royal Tombs in the Royal Court in Amman.

The murder of King Hussein’s grandfather had a profound influence on his life in terms of understanding the importance and inevitability of death, as well as a sense of the importance of his duty and responsibility in the years to come. In his autobiography, Uneasy Lies the Head, King Hussein recalls how three days before that fateful day in Jerusalem, his grandfather turned to him and said, "I hope you realize, my son, that one day you will have to assume responsibility. I look to you to do your very best to see that my work is not lost. I look to you to continue it in the service of our people." The young Prince promised solemnly that he would, to his best ability, carry out his duty. However, the King and the Prince could not have known how short was the time ahead.

Foreign policy

In his new role, Abdullah continued to follow many of his father’s policies. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Abdullah supported the United States’ efforts to combat terrorism, and, after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, U.S. forces were permitted to maintain bases in Jordan. Support for an Arab-Israeli peace agreement also was a high priority for Abdullah, and he continued to demonstrate his commitment to the peace process by participating in negotiations for a two-state solution, meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and calling international attention to the issue. Growing tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the late 2010s soured Jordan’s relations with Israel, however, and Abdullah faced mounting pressure from Jordanians to reevaluate the countries’ relationship. In 2019 he declined to renew a lease of Jordanian land long cultivated by Israeli farmers, and the land was returned to Jordan in 2020.

During his reign Abdullah oversaw the upgrading and modernization of Jordan’s armed forces to confront a variety of external security threats, the most serious of which emanated from the insurgency in Iraq and the Syrian Civil War. Apart from a series of deadly bombings in Amman in 2005 that were orchestrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq, Jordan was largely successful in avoiding the violence that plagued its neighbours. The country’s close military cooperation with the U.S., however, was generally unpopular with average Jordanians.

Meanwhile, a new and ominous threat emerged in eastern Syria and western Iraq in 2013: the extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]), which included reconstituted elements of Jordan’s enemy al-Qaeda in Iraq. Jordan joined a U.S.-led air campaign against the group in September 2014. Although Jordan initially sought to downplay its participation in the campaign, Abdullah took on a visible leadership role, and Jordan greatly increased the number of air strikes it carried out after ISIL fighters captured and brutally murdered a downed Jordanian pilot in early 2015. The continued instability in Iraq and Syria throughout the late 2010s, along with the outbreak of civil war in Yemen, left Jordan hosting one of the largest refugee populations per capita in the world, forcing Abdullah to seek international assistance in order to support its refugees.

King Abdullah Assassinated - History

It's hard not to be impressed with King Abdullah II of Jordan. His suave, sophisticated, erudite manner is enough
The British Colonial Office required a stable British-trained military and political class in their colony.
to charm anyone within arm's reach, which is what happened when he visited the White House this year. President Barack Obama could barely mask his pleasure at being in the presence of a man who acts, speaks and carries himself like royalty. With his Oxford-English accent, his handsome demeanor, his superior intellect, his extensive knowledge of world affairs, and his equally charming and photogenic queen, King Abdullah personifies everything that a king should be.

Abdullah is, of course, the eldest son of King Hussein, who reigned over Jordan since the age of seventeen, when his grandfather, Abdullah I, was assassinated before the young Hussein's eyes. The present Abdullah, named for his great-grandfather, is also the son of Princess Muna al-Hussien, the former Antoinette Gardiner of Sussex, England. Her father (Abdullah's grandfather) was Colonel Walter Percy Gardiner of the British Army. Following both his Hashemite royal tradition and his British pedigree, Abdullah attended both Oxford and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

Since the time of the British Mandate, the British Colonial Office required a stable British-trained military and political class in their colony, the Emirate of Jordan, which later became their proxy state, Trans-Jordan, and still later, their client state, Jordan. It is a history which the current Arab-British ruler, King Abdullah, knows well.

It was, after all, the British who created the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The 1917 Balfour Declaration had granted the Jews a national homeland on both sides of the Jordan River, including Abdullah's Jordan. But the Arabs protested, rioted, and began an insurgency against the British and the Jewish settlers. So Winston Churchill, then head of the Colonial Office, carved out an Arab state on roughly 75% of the land, which meant all of the area east of the Jordan River. But he needed an established, reliable ally to run the new country. Enter the Hashemite Dynasty, desperately in need of a new kingdom, having lost the power struggle for the Arabian Peninsula to the Saud Dynasty.

The British gave the Arabs more land than they hoped for, the Jews would have their sliver of land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, and above all, a reliable, stable ally was put in charge of the new Arab country, wholly indebted to Britain. Certainly, the Hashemites were foreign interlopers, having no historical ties to the country or any legal claim to rule other than by Churchill's decree. And the Hashemites would be ruling over a foreign people.

No matter. The British declared them the new rulers of eastern Palestine, and it was done.

The Hashemite Dynasty would rule over a people who became known as Arab Palestinians. And as the British left and eventually faded into irrelevancy, the transplanted rulers would assert their rule, time and time again, over the Palestinians. Often ruthlessly.

The pivotal year was 1970, when the PLO tried to takeover the country from within in order to establish Palestinian sovereignty over Jordan. Abdullah's father, King Hussein, with the complicit approval of Israel, ruthlessly crushed the uprising, killed thousands and exiled the rest. After that, there would be no more attempts by the PLO to change Jordan into Palestine.

The focus from then on would be entirely on trying to takeover Israel - the western part of the British Palestine
The Machiavellian king knows that he rules millions more Palestinian Arabs than Israel ever will.
Mandate - and turn it into an Arab Palestinian state. Abdullah's father applauded this and actively campaigned for a Palestinian state, if only on the West Bank land to which he wisely relinquished any claim after the Six Day War. Cede the Palestinian problem to Israel, he figured. A brilliant ploy, it turned out.

And so it came to pass that the royal descendent of the original Hashemite rulers of eastern Palestine - a country created by Winston Churchill's pen - were in Washington to lecture an infatuated American president and a gullible media on the critical need for an Arab Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. Time is running out, King Abdullah proclaimed, and Israel could find itself at war if it doesn't relent and agree to the new state soon.

Yet, the Machiavellian king knows that he rules millions more Palestinian Arabs than Israel ever will - nearly of 70% of his population and rising - which is why he so adamantly campaigns for a Palestinian state to be carved out of the neighboring Jewish state, lest the mirror turn on his own kingdom. It's a remarkable hoax and so far, the world is buying it. Especially the American president.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated

Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.

In the months before his assassination, Martin Luther King became increasingly concerned with the problem of economic inequality in America. He organized a Poor People’s Campaign to focus on the issue, including a march on Washington, and in March 1968 traveled to Memphis in support of poorly treated African-American sanitation workers. On March 28, a workers’ protest march led by King ended in violence and the death of an African American teenager. King left the city but vowed to return in early April to lead another demonstration.

On April 3, back in Memphis, King gave his last sermon, saying, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

One day after speaking those words, Dr. King was shot and killed by a sniper. As word of the assassination spread, riots broke out in cities all across the United States and National Guard troops were deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. On April 9, King was laid to rest in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute to King’s casket as it passed by in a wooden farm cart drawn by two mules.

The evening of King’s murder, a Remington .30-06 hunting rifle was found on the sidewalk beside a rooming house one block from the Lorraine Motel. During the next several weeks, the rifle, eyewitness reports, and fingerprints on the weapon all implicated a single suspect: escaped convict James Earl Ray. A two-bit criminal, Ray escaped a Missouri prison in April 1967 while serving a sentence for a holdup. In May 1968, a massive manhunt for Ray began. The FBI eventually determined that he had obtained a Canadian passport under a false identity, which at the time was relatively easy.

On June 8, Scotland Yard investigators arrested Ray at a London airport. He was trying to fly to Belgium, with the eventual goal, he later admitted, of reaching Rhodesia. Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe, was at the time ruled by an oppressive and internationally condemned white minority government. Extradited to the United States, Ray stood before a Memphis judge in March 1969 and pleaded guilty to King’s murder in order to avoid the electric chair. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Three days later, he attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was innocent of King’s assassination and had been set up as a patsy in a larger conspiracy. He claimed that in 1967, a mysterious man named “Raoul” had approached him and recruited him into a gunrunning enterprise. On April 4, 1968, he said, he realized that he was to be the fall guy for the King assassination and fled to Canada. Ray’s motion was denied, as were his dozens of other requests for a trial during the next 29 years.