Friday, July 27, 2012

Do Jordanians want reform or revolution?

The Clown King Could Be in Trouble; Let's Hope So.

The tiny, impoverished country is led by an unelected absolute monarch and is plagued by corruption and ethnic tensions.

By Mehdi Hasan

"It has a population of less than seven million, few natural resources of its own, and tends to rely on aid from its rich neighbours and its friends in the West in order to survive.

But a combination of geography and history has resulted in the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan playing a critical role in the politics of the Middle East and, especially, the Israel-Palestine conflict....

I travelled to Jordan to try to find out what the future holds for a country led by an unelected and absolute monarch, plagued by corruption and economic stagnation, and divided between ethnic Jordanians - the "East Bankers" - and the marginalised Palestinians - the "West Bankers" - who now make up a majority of the population.....

Lest we forget, however, tiny, impoverished Jordan is a key strategic ally of the US and one of only two Arab nations (the other being Egypt) to have signed a peace treaty with the state of Israel. If the Arab Spring were to spread to the Hashemite kingdom and the ruling family fell, after almost a century in power, it would have a massive, almost unquantifiable impact on the wider region and on the Muslim world as a whole.

The key question is: Do Jordanians want reform or revolution?"

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