King Abdullah of Jordan has sacked his entire government after thousands of people took to the streets to protest against a rise in fuel and food prices. The Muslim Brotherhood has been busy… Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, and now Jordan. CIA Middle East expert Robert Baer implicated the Muslim Brotherhood in the '83 Beirut Marine barracks bombing in his book "See No Evil". Good read by the way.


Tuesday February 01, 2011

Lisa Holland- foreign affairs correspondent

Inspired by the action taken in Tunisia and Egypt, protesters gathered to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rafai.

The demonstrations came despite Mr Rifai promising to compensate for high prices with wage increases for civil servants and the military.

The Jordanian ruler attempted to diffuse the situation by enlisting ex-army general and former prime minister Marouf al-Bakhit to form a new Cabinet.

A palace statement said Mr Bakhit had been instructed to “undertake quick and tangible steps for real political reforms”.

It’s the same virus that afflicted Tunisia, Egypt and is afflicting all Arab states. The difference between one country and another is the (level of) immunity.

Former Royal Court chief Adnan Abu Obeh

The real power in the country rests with King Abdullah – hence his ability to be able to just sack the government.

Crucially King Abdullah – a career soldier who once led Jordan’s special forces – enjoys the support of the military.

For now there’s a sense that Jordanians want change – but are prepared to accept it under the rule of King Abdullah.

Their central demand has been for the sacking of the Prime Minister.

If the King genuinely delivers multi-party politics it is likely he will survive when other leaders of the Arab world don’t.

Protesters in Jordan, calling for the Prime Minister to resignDemonstrators took to the street to demand the prime minister’s resignation

Former Royal Court chief Adnan Abu Obeh called King Abdullah’s pre-emptive actions “a very positive step” as it was a “response to the demands of the people”.

“It’s the same virus that afflicted Tunisia, Egypt and is afflicting all Arab states. The difference between one country and another is the (level of) immunity,” he said.

However, protester Laith Shubeilat, said King Abdullah’s actions would not necessarily stop the demonstrations.

“If it does, it means we are a stupid people,” he said.

Protests have spread across Jordan in the last few weeks, as disaffected people blame corruption for the great divide between rich and poor.

Many Jordanians are also angry at the country’s prolonged recession and the rising public debt, which has hit $15bn this year.

Rosemary Hollis, professor of Middle East policy studies at City University, London, said Mr Bakhit would be seen as “a safe pair of hands”.

However, she was reluctant to suggest his appointment would mean any great change.

“With his previous premiership, he talked the talk of reform but little actually happened,” she said.


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