Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jordan Has A King Like Syria?

Here is a major story not covered by Western MSM....

A Jordanian member of parliament has pulled a gun on one of his critics during a heated debate on live television. Mohammed Shawabka was discussing Jordan's policies toward Syria on a television show on Friday with political activist Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad, the Times of Israel reports. When the discussion became heated, both men began hurling insults, including working for the Israeli Mossad Intelligence Agency. "You're a Mossad agent," one of the men said. "You're a big crook," said the other. The show's host Mohammed Habashneh, who was seated between the two men, desperately told them to "calm down". But the MP pulled off his shoe and aimed it at his critic, who ducked underneath the desk and knocked it over. Mr Shawabka then pulled out a silver gun before pointing it at the critic who was walking towards him. The host tried to break up the fight by stepping between the two men, but the brawl reportedly continued for some time before the show's producer started to roll the credits. But I can assure you that the coming of the Arab Spring to Jordan has the full attention of Israel, and the Palestineans in the West Bank and Gaza. And here we have the British view... Government change fails to calm Jordan's political crisis AMMAN, Jordan — A decision just over a week ago by Jordanian King Abdullah II to dismiss the government has done little to calm growing public discontent at home that threatens to deepen a political crisis.Abdullah has appointed five governments since the eruption of the Arab Spring uprisings, which have forced him to make democratic reforms.The new prime minister, Abdullah Ensour, is a reformist politician and opposition lawmaker who voted to withhold confidence from the previous four governments."This selection aimed to send a message to the public and the opposition that decision-makers are listening to their demands and dissatisfaction," said Hussein Rawashdeh, Jordanian political observer.Despite enjoying relative popularity, analysts say a lack of authority is likely to undermine Ensour's attempts to revive the country's lagging reform process.His first task is to salvage an upcoming parliamentary election by convincing Islamist-led opposition to reverse its decision to boycott the vote.The opposition says a new electoral system favors regime loyalists, who hail mainly from Bedouin tribes. Loyalists fear that democratic reforms would undermine their influence in the country where the majority of the population of 7 million is of Palestinian origin."If the decision on the elections law is not in his hands, how can the prime minister even dream of encouraging the opposition to take part?" said columnist and political analyst Maher Abu Tayer.Despite good relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, analysts say an atmosphere of distrust will prevent Ensour from diffusing growing tensions between the state and Jordan's largest political force."After each of the last four governments failed to live up to their reform promises, the Brotherhood has given up on listening to the government," said Rawashdeh. "They know that the prime minister is not the decision-maker."Islamist leaders reportedly walked out of their first meeting with Ensour, held less than 24 hours after his appointment, saying that their former political ally was unable to carry out democratic reforms."The question is not whether the prime minister is for democratic reforms, the question is whether he has the power to implement them," said Zaki Bani Rshied, deputy head of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood."If the government does not have full control over the state, how can it negotiate in the name of the state?" said Bani Rshied remarked.Ensour's appointment has also done little to calm pro-democracy protests."No matter who the King selects, we do not support a government that is not chosen by the people, for the people," said Muath Btoush of the Karak Popular Youth Movement, one of hundreds of protest groups that have sprouted across the country since early 2011.The government is also under pressure to trim over $2.8 billion in fuel and electricity subsidies."Although it would be politically wise to delay any lifting of subsidies until after the elections, financially the country just can't afford it," said Musa Shteiwi, director of the University of Jordan Centre for Strategic Studies.Jordan also faces a record $5 billion budget deficit. It has received less than half the $460 million in budgetary assistance promised by donor states. Experts say this means Jordan has no choice but to press ahead with unpopular austerity measures."It doesn't matter who is prime minister, these decisions are going to hurt a lot of Jordanian citizens and they won't stay quiet," said Jordanian columnist and political observer Bassem Shakhija.Abu Tayer said: "Before the Arab Spring, a change in government was enough to silence the Jordanian street. Now it is only encouraging it to speak louder." Read more here:

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