Showing posts for "Jordan"
Saudi Arabia has reacted to the Arab Spring by pledging $4 billion in aid to Egypt, and it is expected to help Tunisia as well. Has it become enamored of youthful protests for democracy? The fact that Saudi troops remain in Bahrain, helping crush the movement for greater democracy there, suggests something else is going on. And the invitation from the Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC to Morocco and Jordan to join the group points in the same direction.
My theory is this: for the Saudis, it’s fine if citizens of a fake republic like Tunisia or Egypt demand a real republic with real elections and democracy. But they draw the line at monarchies: kings have to stay in charge. So they lecture the kings of Morocco and Jordan to be careful about too many reforms (if the rumors are correct), and invite them to join the Club of Kings that is the GCC. Presumably financial benefits will follow, so long as the kings don’t play around with any experiments that might give Saudi subjects ideas of their own. And in Bahrain, they put down a revolt that might have brought constitutional monarchy—though admittedly that situation appears far more complex in the eyes of Saudi royals, as the Bahrainis who would be empowered are Shia whose success might give Saudi Shia unacceptable ideas about their own fate.
Brezhnev explained himself in 1968 as follows in answering claims that after the “Prague Spring,” Czechoslovakia should be allowed to determine its own fate: “the implementation of such ‘self-determination,’ in other words Czechoslovakia’s detachment from the socialist community, would have come into conflict with its own vital interests and would have been detrimental to the other socialist states.”
The Middle East has for decades seemed to be in permanent stasis, with little political change despite the statistics showing very young and frustrated populations. It was a commonplace that no regime had been overthrown in decades except by force of American arms and aging rulers could expect to die safely in bed.
Those years are over. Some thoughts about aspects of the current situation follow. Read more »
APN News: “Rioters in the southern Jordanian city of Maan set fire to government buildings, police cars and businesses on Tuesday to protest the murder of two men earlier this week prompting the government to send security forces to restore order. Witnesses say more than 500 rioters were protesting the lack of arrests after Monday’s killings. Demonstrations filled streets in the desert town about 250 kilometers south of the capital, Amman. Security officials said on Tuesday that they used tear gas to disperse protesters who had attacked government property and damaged private shops. … Residents say the unrest followed the funeral of two workers from prominent Maan tribes who had been killed in a labor dispute by Bedouins from the powerful Hwaitat tribe. They said Hwaitat members were angered that rival tribes from Maan were employed in their hometown to build a multi-million dollar water project.”
Jerusalem Post: “Jordanian King Abdullah on Wednesday warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that “the deadlocked peace process threatens the entire region,” AFP reported. Abdullah’s comments to Netanyahu came in a telephone conversation between the two described in a statement released by Jordan. “Efforts for having serious and effective peace talks should continue, based on a two-state solution, which is the only way to achieve regional stability and security,” Abdullah reportedly told the prime minister.”
Pressure Points tracks developments in the Middle East and democratization and human rights issues globally.