Just a quick update to add to this old post in case anyone was considering a Jordan birding trip and might be deterred by some of the experiences mentioned here. I have just returned from a 10 day trip to Jordan (part birding, part archaeology) and had no problems with the authorities with regards to binoculars. Airport security did hand search my (and others) cabin bags containing binoculars on the way out of Amman airport as they had shown up on the x-ray machine but there was no problem or delay and we were allowed through. Bottles of water, unlike UK airports, were allowed through without question which seemed to me a far more sensible security procedure than we are used to in Europe.
The birding in Jordan was excellent but the raptor migration along the Jordan valley and at Aqaba was not as impressive in late Sept as I had hoped but still lots to see. As long as birders take some sensible steps such as not birding across military bases and the like, it is a great place to go.
I had heard of this problem before with Tunisia, but not Jordan. I ended up backing out of a planned trip to Tunisia a few years ago because I couldn't get a straight answer on whether bins, scopes, DSLRs with telephoto lenses, laptops etc were alllowed in. I tried the Tunisian Tourism Authority offices in London and Tunis, and the British Consulate in Tunis as well. The consulate seems to think that getting your stuff confiscated couldn't possibly happen, but couldn't advise on a surefire means of ensuring things would be OK. The Tunisian tourism authorities in London told me everything would be fine on the phone but when I asked for that in writing refused. Their Tunis-based counterparts told me that I would need to hire an official guide for my trip in order to be able to bring optics in ... but then I guess tourism authorities do exist to maximise the amount of money tourism brings in to their country, so they were only doing their job...
Tom, you could try the equivalent organisations in respect of Jordan. You never know, you might have better luck.
I know that an organized group of Italian birders and photographers, more or less friends of mine, have been in Jordan in April 2019. I know they did not have any trouble, despite of using bino's, scopes and of course various cameras. Important fact is, I think, that they usually were accompanied by local guides. Once, being at the Israeli border, they also had a military authorization and escort.
For Morocco, the case happened recently was just one of those very rare incidents, no more. There is no new law or something similar. For more details please read this blog-post: Are birding optics banned from entry in Morocco?. Google it here or see this thread (scroll down to post #12) where I already linked to it.
We have just returned from a standard tour but having heard about trouble getting in with scope and large SLR we took just our compact binoculars and a small zoom camera for incidental birding.
We had no trouble getting into Aqaba but had three lots of security checks with camera and small bins being examined and swabbed three times and us held up for about an hour when getting out.
Not sure if it is due to heightened security - American peace plan being announced and possible unrest forecast had anything to do with the change from getting in v out.
Really glad we did what we did although my photos Rosefinch and Wheatear are pretty rubbish on the little Lumix.
One guy with only 300mm lens and SLR took even more time to get through security on the way out but again didn't get stopped on arrival.