Jordan's King Abdullah II this week accused Israel of obstructing his nation's efforts to obtain nuclear technology in a bid to maintain economic dominance in the region.
Abdullah told the Wall Street Journal that Jordan's nuclear plans are peaceful and geared toward producing nuclear energy for export, which would provide the resource-strapped kingdom with a significant economic boost. The king claims Israel is afraid of Jordan becoming an economic powerhouse, and so has pressured South Korea and France to cancel the sale of technology needed by Jordan to set up its first nuclear reactor.
Israel denied Abdullah's claim, but has expressed concerns over Jordan's plan to build its first reactor in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba, which sits on a major fault line. A sizable earthquake in the area could crack such a reactor and cause enormous damage to the region.
There are also muted concerns that a full-blown nuclear program in Jordan could eventually be used by more unsavory elements to produce nuclear weapons. Yasser Arafat's PLO terrorist organization tried to take over Jordan in the past, and other violent Islamic groups still exercise much influence in the kingdom.
Not to mention, the majority of Jordanian lawmakers and much of its citizenry oppose Jordan's peace treaty with Israel, and would likely jump at the opportunity to field nuclear weapons to counter those Israel is believed to possess.