According to this BBC report, His Majesty was unhappy with the now defunct cabinet for a number of reasons, prompting him to send them packing. Although historically cabinets are usually short-lived in the kingdom, this sudden change seems somehow more serious.
The analysis lists one of the king’s reasons for dissatisfaction with the cabinet as its handling of the diplomatic row with Iraq that followed the al-Hilla bombing. Ah, al-Ghad, the controversy just keeps snowballing! Amazing!
One small piece of inflammatory journalism led to the dismissal of Jordan’s cabinet. I will make sure to tell this story to my journalism students if I ever one day become a media professor (which I highly doubt).
However, let’s stay hopeful here. Maybe a new cabinet is just what the doctor ordered these days, particularly following the recent plethora of media-fueled attacks against Jordan. Let’s hope a new cabinet can bring about major reform and assist Jordan on its path towards democracy. To the skeptical, I would say your opinion won’t affect me. I love my country and will always hope for better days.
Update: The new cabinet list was released today [Thursday March 7] and is up on the newswire for anyone that is interested.
linda, actually i can somewhat agree here but u have to factor in the following:
a) in the arab world, specifically jordan, the king is damned if does and damned if he dont
and b) most of those complaining are those who were used to the power trip of the years before and dont like the new way of doing things, regardless if its democratic, it strips them of their power. i.e. union leaders for example have put up the most fuss. on the “other hand” the muslim brotherhood is basking in a newfound political party participation, particularly female members.
Hey Nas, I totally agree with you. The King has an agenda, but he needs to go about it in a differnt way, because like I said, those against his agenda will point to the king’s ways, and those ways are so undemocratic.
Nas, I am laughing in agreement over the electing the family name. Good description, may it be on the way out soon!
I’m for vision, the path Jordan is on and a pretty big rah-rah of the nation myself (for an ajnebiyya). Including a greater degree of democratization. UNTIL I get in my car, and I think “If these people voted the way they drive, we’d be on a plane.” So when people learn to use the roundabouts properly, Jordan will be ready for elections.
linda, as i explained on my blog…the king has a set agenda. it is the national agenda…all these governments that come and go are merely there to make sure that agenda is going as planned, if they loose focus they get sacked, hence the main reason for their short shelf-life. that agenda ironically is to make jordan a constitutional monarchy through massive democratic reform.
now u suggested elections. this is what the king wants to get to, this is the agenda. however in order to do that in Jordan you must take into consideration our biggest obstacle…the people. yes, the people are in the way of democracy. ironic isnt it? there is the educated and independent elite such as (not to sound selfish) the people you’ve met in the blogging world from Jordan. But the majority are people from towns and cities all over the country. In those regions (including amman) people’s alliegence is to their family name. we do not vote with a particular party or it’s political platform…no…we vote for family names. if there are 3 canidates from my clan then we vote for the one who offers us the most…and most of it are sand castle promises anyways. but we vote for them because its family, and BECAUSE theyre family that implies they will do us the most good on a personal level, i.e. we can get them to employ other relatives.
So how can elections be set when the person bound to be elected is from the family with the most numbers? You could very well have an illiterate as the Prime Minister. We’d probably be at war with Israel within 24 hours.
So what’s to be done? Enter the national agenda for reform, reforming not only democracy but society. Something thats never been done in the arab world. What happens now is that u will see the king push for political parties, he will empower them, he will force (if necessary) society to merge with these parties. When this happens people will follow. When I am a keraki about to vote the only thing that matters is that I can go to my member of parliament and say “give my son a job”. With political parties that will be automatically abolished, families will have to enter the parties and people (again looking for their interests) will vote with parties instead.
God willing, we will get to a stage where people will cast a ballot for a party member instead of a family member. At that point the government can fully function by itself, choose its own ministers and handle its own running of domestic affairs, while the king serves as the go-between with other nations…the diplomatic foreign affairs role. That is the vision. That is the path we’re on.
sorry for the long post
Yes jeff, democracey is a learned process so there must be programs, campaigns and projects on the part of the king to go out and make sure its learned, because those who are against him will automatically point to how he kicks out who ever he wants and use that as a “hey, you guys the king does not want democracey.”
i totally support the king in wanting to reform, but i think he is going about it the wrong way. im looking at it more as a public relations dilema and thats where we differ. but it will take time and hopefull good things will happen.
I agree with you, in part, Linda. But I have to say there is this one thing that’s a sort of stumbling block. When people haven’t been raised in a democracy, the “let them all vote” and it’ll fix things business doesn’t generally work out all that well, at least in the beginning. That’s sort of the mystery of Iraq right now.
When The Jordan Times was covering the parliamentary elections, we sent our reporters out all over the kingdom to get man(woman)-on-the-street commentary. Well, many of those comments were surprises. Some people were told by the IAF to vote for the brotherhood or they’d go to hell, for instance. Others were voting what for who their husband told them or tribally, etc.
Some of these are long held traditions that take time to evolve. I’m not 100% sure that just saying “hey everybody, let’s vote,” works initially. Democracy is a learned process. Most that don’t have it just represent it with three tenets: free speech, freedom to assemble and voting. As you well know, there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s complicated and at times very ugly (see “Bush”).
Iraq will be an interesting test case in the “voting fixes things” theorem. I think there are a few key individuals that are working very hard — Iraqis — to make it work out. It’s a tough road and they may actually have it easier because of the previous total lack of democracy than does Jordan, where democracy keeps coming on in stages.
In the case of this cabinet shift, I wondered how they’d handle some of the foibles of the FM, Mulki. He was far too visible to be the kingdom’s top diplomat. A good example of “how to be” was Muasher (wonder if we’ll see him again). When the king says, “this guy [Mulki] messed up the presentation,” (regarding Israel peace deal at Arab summit) you know there’s going to be some trouble. I think there must have been three or four others that were not fitting the standard and that was seen as “enough” for a cabinet reshuffle.
And that’s likely what it’ll be. Some old will come back, some most recent will get new portfolios and others will stay right where they are. It’s really a curious thing when you think about it.
I do agree with Luai that the kingdom weathers a lot of storms, sits right between the rock and hard place, lacks a great deal of resources but still manages to shine brightly on quite a few occasions. That can only be attributed to the Jordanian people, the kingdom’s finest resource. And that is reason enough to be hopeful.
Glad you like the site changes. The wife hasn’t seen them yet, so shhh 🙂 I’m hoping she’ll like them too. I’ve been revamping the newswire over the last few weeks but I’ve had a number of design things going on to this site that’ll show up in a few weeks. I’m trying to get finished with all the back end of the site, but we do have a new surprise coming: One will be “the kitchen,” where she’ll have guest posters and put up all sorts of recipes and goodies 🙂 mostly pertaining to Jordan and the ME.
Luai, Have fun. Eat lots of Knafeh for me=)
As for the King changing the pm and cab. i think if he wants reform and is hoping for some for of democracey, then why not hold ELECTIONS. Why just kick out people? By just kicking out people, well that sounds very monarchish. Let the PEOPLE decide. BUt thats the other thing. If you let the PEOPLE decided, your leader becomes a Texan who cant speak a word of ENGLISH =)
And on a side note Natasha, I like the new background. What made you decided to change it?
Let us hope and pray that the winds of change blowing in Jordan leads to better lives and opportunities for it’s people.
I’m with ya, Natasha…I really am proud to be a Jordanian…but I think you got me beat by a little bit as “Jordan’s #1 Fan” 🙂 I am the type of a person who looks at the “citizens on the street / ordinary folks” of a country and as long as a country is striving on improving their lives then that is what makes the leadership great. Although there are so many people who have so little in Jordan, I think that the country has strived to makes lives better for it’s people. And being a country with a lack of natural resources in a neighborhood of oil wealth, it has always been about it’s wonderful people. And I get to experience the wonders of Jordan again in 19 short days…yipeeeee!!!!!!!!!!