Skip to main content

Why calm has still not taken hold in Jordan?

Weeks ago, I wrote an introduction on what was happening in Jordan. Apparently, I still have further things to elaborate on...

Widespread protests keep taking place despite the Police's promise to crackdown on any incitement to violence. Demonstrations first broke out as a result of an announcement that has been considered the last straw: a future spike in prices of fuel and gasoline, staples that have been subsidized over the years in order to ease the burden on the population and to thus guarantee an artificial stability (as several Arab countries do). This decision has been justified citing an imposition of the IMF and the need to forestall a fiscal crisis, even though some pundits believe it won't really represent huge savings for the Treasury, and will actually worsen an already difficult economic situation the current rulers seem to disregard and that won't be solved merely handing out cash payments to ease the pain.

It seems King Abdullah II is facing a new sprout of the "Arab Spring": people see no chance whatsoever of engaging in a comprehensive dialogue, the regime has been unable to provide with meaningful reforms (the succession of puppet Parliaments without time to reach an agreement hasn't helped) and, above all, the economic situation is becoming direr by the day. However, it's unlikely the immediate results will be the same as in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Egypt: even at their height, the demonstrations usually draw only a few thousand people, far from the massive uprisings that toppled governments in neighbouring countries.

Protests, notably in Amman, escalated after a young man was killed and dozens injured last week during an attack against a Police Station, particularly after last Friday prayers. And this time they present unprecedented characteristics: people chant slogans for freedom ("freedom for a ballot you like it or not", for Revolution and, breaking a long-held taboo (and defying the Kingdom's laws) for the King to be toppled. Pictures of the latter have even been burned. But don't be fooled: many Jordanians still profess sincere loyalty to their King: some out of genuine love and respect, some because they worry about a spillover of the Syrian conflict (thousands of refugees are already posing problems in the North of the country) and demand stability, and some consider he is the only figure who is able to guarantee the rights of all minorities (specially, the Bedouin one). Moreover, widespread violence has shocked many ordinary Jordanians, who despite supporting the call for political reform, admit they are not ready for an actual revolution.

Even though the protests have been peaceful up to this point (barring the torching of cars and police stations), the situation can easily degenerate and spiral out of control, especially if the Government (backed by the Royal Family) decides to intensify the crackdown. Some see the Parliamentary Elections which are scheduled to be held in January as the real final test for the regime. And some consider the country's main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, is playing with marked cards, as it recently decided to distance itself from demands to end the monarchy. 

Changing tack from previous occasions, Gulf countries have not come to the help of their fellow Jordanian King, neither with a bail-out, nor providing the state with cheaper natural resources. Where is the Arab solidarity the Arab League is based upon. Or does that mean these countries are really respecting the will of the people and are really mirroring the change of tide experienced by the international organisation since the Arab Spring erupted (as they did with Libya and Syria but not with Bahrain)?


Popular posts from this blog

12 things you wanted to know about IS/ISIS

Tracking the events in Iraq - in the whole region, actually - might be a colossal task. Particularly so during the Summer, when it is sometimes even difficult to grasp a single headline. We all are aware about something called ISIS - or IS, as of lately - that seems to be messing around from Lebanon to Iran. A group of bearded man that scares everybody, the only ones able to force Obama to reconsider his mantra of non-intervention and to make Assad look like a harmless puppy. We've read about them, we've seen tons of maps showing their advance, we've heard rumours and conjectures. In case you've missed half of it, there go a few basic things you need to know about them. And yes, they are creepy!


Aunque el título pueda referirse a uns de las varias mudanzas a los que me conocéis personalmente estáis acostumbrados, se refiere simplemente a este humilde blog, que tantas alegrias me ha dado. A partir de ahora podréis encontrar todos mis artículos en la página Although the title could well refer to one of the rushed and unpredictable decisions those amongst you who know me are by now you used to, 'migrating' refers here to the new site this humble blog - which has given me so much joy - is moving to. From now on you can find all of my articles on the page

Libros, películas, series y una canción para entender Israel

From Beirut to Jerusalem , Thomas Friedman (2002) Este es un libro de referencia a la hora de conocer Israel para muchas de las personas que he conocido cuando he estado en y/o hablado de Oriente Medio. Aunque teniendo en cuenta  en lo que Thomas Friedman se ha convertido , quizás recomendar uno de sus obras no parezca una introducción prometedora. En él, el periodista/comentarista cuenta en primera persona su paso como corresponsal por dos de las ciudades más simbólicas de la región en una época turbulenta como fueron los 80, desgranando en el caso del Líbano las aristas del conflicto que asolaba por aquel entonces el país, y en el caso de Israel las características y divisiones de la sociedad israelí, no únicamente desde el punto de vista ideológico en relación con el conflicto con Palestina, sino teniendo también en cuenta otros condicionantes clave, como puede ser el origen, la práctica religiosa, o las condiciones socioeconómicas.   Un grupo de israelíes celebran con band