Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jordan Bubbling Under

For a lot of analysts, Jordan has been the country that looks like it should have had a major uprising since Tunisia, but somehow hasn't.  David Fox reports on smaller ongoing protests despite a government crackdown on dissent:
"September has witnessed a massive—and potentially irreversible—shift in strategy among segments of Jordan’s opposition movement: a number of political activists are now openly and repeatedly calling for a limitation of the monarchy's powers—with a small (though extremely vocal) minority even explicitly calling for the abdication of King Abdullah II. In a strikingly blunt statement by the organizers of the 8 September protest in East Amman's Haya al-Tafileh neighborhood—who gathered in response to arrest of a number of fellow activists a day prior and later reorganized on September 11 and 13 at Amman’s Interior Ministry Circle and Second Circle—accusations struck at the king's carefully curated international image as a modern, democracy-building reformer. Their Facebook statement reads, in part: "You are disguised in the costume of freedom and democracy, while hiding inside of you is absolute fascism and control over the destiny of this country and the livelihood of its people. We can no longer be patient with this repression of our arrested sons, with no guilt other than demanding freedom and social justice for all Jordanians, and fighting corruption that is royally sponsored."
"What remains to be seen is whether the traditional opposition bloc of the Islamic Action Front (IAF)—Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated political party—will join the criticism of the monarchy and pledge its organizational might to this new vocal contingent. The IAF has the ability to rally thousands of protesters in the streets, but the organization owes its existence to political expediency and strong survival instincts. If the IAF feels that ramping up rhetoric against the monarchy could lead to its destruction via a government crackdown, it will likely stay on the sideline. While the IAF has shown a willingness to negotiate with the monarchy in the past, it has maintained a call for boycott against the parliamentary elections well before September’s arrests. A statement from IAF head Hamza Mansour has made it clear that it will not cave to pressure from the regime, despite the king’s remarks that such a boycott will render the party irrelevant."



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