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Politics Jordan's King Abdullah II ousts prime minister, cabinet in wake of mass protests

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Archived_Member16, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    Jan 7, 2005
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    Jordan's King Abdullah II ousts prime minister, cabinet
    in wake of mass protests

    By Joel Greenberg
    Tuesday, February 1, 2011; 9:10 AM


    AMMAN, JORDAN - Jordan's King Abdullah II on Tuesday dismissed Prime Minister Samir Rifai and his cabinet after widespread protests by crowds of people inspired by demonstrations in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere.

    The monarch asked Marouf Bakhit - a well-regarded ex-general who is not tainted by allegations of corruption that plagued the former government - to form a new cabinet.

    Abdullah, a key U.S. ally, has come under pressure in recent weeks from protests by a coalition of Islamists, secular opposition groups and a group of retired army generals who have called for sweeping political and economic reforms.

    The weekly demonstrations, which have drawn momentum from the unrest in the region and were joined Friday by thousands across Jordan, reflect growing discontent stoked by the most serious domestic economic crisis in years and accusations of rampant government corruption.

    Demonstrators protested rising prices and demanded the dismissal of Rifai and his government. But they have not directly challenged the king, criticism of whom is banned in Jordan. The demonstrators have been peaceful and have not been confronted by the police.

    It was not immediately clear whether the opposition would be satisfied with Tuesday's ouster of Rifai and members of his cabinet, who had been lightning rods for criticism. Opposition critics say they personally profited from the sale of state companies as part of the king's policy of privatization and free-market reforms to attract foreign capital.

    "It's a club of businessmen serving their financial interests," said Nahedh Hattar, a veteran opposition activist. "The king is a member of the club."
    In an attempt to defuse tensions, Rifai earlier announced a package of new subsidies for fuel and basic goods, as well as pay raises for civil servants, an increase in pensions and a job-creation initiative.

    The king met with members of parliament and the appointed Senate, urging reforms. Officials say he has talked to representatives of various groups, including unionists and Islamists, to hear their grievances, and even visited poor areas of the country to get a firsthand look at people's needs.

    In his meeting with parliament members last week, Abdullah said that more should be done to address the concerns of ordinary Jordanians, and that "openness, frankness and dialogue on all issues is the way to strengthen trust between citizens and their national institutions," according to a palace statement.

    But leaders of the protests said Sunday that the king had failed, so far, to take substantial steps to address mounting public resentment. They warned that unless genuine changes were made, the unrest could worsen.

    Zaki Bani Irsheid, head of the political department of the Islamic Action Front, an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan's largest opposition group, said its main demands were dismissal of the government by the king, the dissolution of parliament - elected in November in a vote widely criticized as fraudulent - and new elections.

    The opposition also is demanding that the prime minister, who currently is appointed by the king, instead be elected. And protesters want to amend of the election law, which critics say is designed to underrepresent opposition elements in the legislature.

    Abdullah's response so far has been "just a public relations campaign that doesn't solve the crisis," Bani Irsheid said in an interview Sunday, two days before Rifai's dismissal. "The regime wants a solution without paying the price, and it is offering cosmetic changes. We told them that what was acceptable yesterday is not acceptable today, and what could resolve the problem today may not be a solution tomorrow. Delaying and hesitation will only complicate matters."

    Critics such as Hattar say the king's policies, and accompanying corruption, have only widened the gap between rich and poor and exacerbated Jordan's economic ills, which include a rising national debt and high levels of unemployment and poverty.

    Ali Habashnah, one of the retired generals advocating reforms, said that public resentment has spread to rural areas dominated by Bedouin tribes that have been the traditional backbone of the monarchy and its security forces. It was the first time, he said, that members of that segment of Jordanian society had joined with other groups in demands for change.

    But the generals, who published a manifesto with other retired officers last year outlining their positions, have asserted their loyalty to King Abdullah and say they are seeking reforms under the monarchy. The ruling Hashemite family, Habashnah said, is the only force able to unite a nation made up of disparate tribes and other groups.

    "The Hashemites are the symbol of the unity of the state," he said Sunday, before adding words of caution. "If things go on like this," he said, "there's no telling what can happen."

    Ordinary Jordanians, too, seem loyal to the king. Tarek alMasri, a Jordanian lawyer who studied in Egypt, said he has followed the upheaval there with mixed emotions: happy that the Egyptians finally have risen up against an oppressive ruler but worried about a power vacuum in the streets.

    But regarding protests in his own country, where the authority of the monarchy is an article of faith, there is one line that he will not cross.
    "I'm upset by the social problems, the economic problems, the political problems, and the parliament doesn't represent the people," Masri said. At the same time, he added, "I cannot imagine the country without the royal family. They strike a balance between the people and the government. I trust them."

    Greenberg is a special correspondent.

    source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/31/AR2011013103692.html?hpid=topnews
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  3. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Dec 21, 2010
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    All these middle east headlines are incredibly mis-guided. Let us review Headline here,

    Jordan's King Abdullah II ousts prime minister

    A better interpretation for all of Egypt and Jordan can be summarized alike,

    • Ruling class in Egypt and Jordan,
      • Provide early retirement packages to loyal and puppet Prime Ministers and Ministers
      • New promotions announced and public positions announced for previously behind the scene operatives for the ruling class
      • Ruling class scared by religious zealots
        • Religious extremists waiting in the wings to avoid public backlash
          • When the crowds grow they will show their face
          • Opportunist strategies being developed by religious extreme street level and their masters
          • Religious extremists holding fire to avoid being targeted by the crowds
    • Practical notes
      • An 82 year old ruling class figure head decides to retire but is portrayed as though listening to people and bowing to their wishes
      • Given ruling class hold irrespective of elections or new leaders showing up they will be all bought out
      • A ruling class in a ruling position say in Egypt for 58 years ain't going anywhere with a million people peaceful demonstration (not 1 person but thousands, hundreds of thousands and extended into millions)
        • This is everywhere,
          • The Gandhi dynasty and Congress ruling class in India
          • The Kings and Princes in the Islamic world and their supporters
          • The bureaucracies in established democracies
          • The ruling parties in China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, etc.
    • Solutions
      • What is the quick answer
        • NONE, sorry
      • The world will evolve slowly
        • Countries and systems evolution
          • Communism to democracy experiments
          • Autocratic to another exploit model and not Democracy in one step
            • Potential devastating stages like Iran
              • Shah to Ayatollah
              • Ayatollahs to slight democracy
              • Uprising against Ayatollahs to possible greater democratic principles
      • or self destruct
        • World War III, sorry
    A little negative post but I don't want to see through rosy glasses for these situations and one has to see beyond media manipulations. japposatnamwaheguru:
    Sat Sri Akal.

    • Like Like x 1

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