Jordanian deputies led by powerful Islamists on Thursday demanded the government support a US withdrawal from Iraq and even voice support for resistance fighters waging a campaign to expel occupation troops.
The sentiment, an acute embarrassment for the United States ally, was echoed in heated debates in the one-month-old parliament ahead of a comfortable vote of confidence won by Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb's government.
"We demand the government supports the Iraqi resistance that is a national and legitimate resistance," said Sheikh Hamza Mansour, the head of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the country's largest political party.
Even pro-government MPs (Members of Parliament) saluted the Iraqi resistance and the surrounding Sunni Muslim areas, where former Iraqi President Saddam Hussain drew much of his support.
"I salute the Iraqi hero Saddam Hussain who sacrificed his palaces and pleasures to wage a jihad against the occupiers," said Hussein Atiyah, alone among the deputies to single out the former Iraqi president for praise.
In defiance of the government, Atiyah spoke with admiration about the "heroism of the Iraqi resistance" fighters who engage in constant ambushes and grenade attacks on US troops across Iraq.
Many Jordanians are angry with the government for not taking a tougher stance to oppose the US occupation of Iraq.
Jordan offered discreet cooperation to the US during the invasion. Washington in turn rewarded the kingdom with substantial aid and assured officials and businessmen they would benefit from the reconstruction of Iraq.
"I salute the Iraqi hero Saddam Hussain who sacrificed his palaces and pleasures to wage a jihad against the occupiers."
--Jordanian MP Hussein Atiyah
Some deputies believe King Abdullah's government could not alienate its US paymaster by signalling any public shift but will make pronouncements that move closer to the national mood.
"They will be more cautious in expressing pro-US sentiment from now," said Abdul Rahim Malhas, a liberal deputy.
The IAF, which won 17 seats in the 110-member lower house that was elected in June, bounced back in parliament for the first time in six years. They want the assembly as a platform to criticise the US and Israel and make officials more accountable to popular wishes.
Incidentally, Jordan's embassy in Baghdad was the target of an attack. On 7 August, a truck bomb exploded outside the Jordanian embassy, killing at least 17 people. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack and investigators have not found the perpetrators.