Permanent Transients

Iraqi Women Refugees in Jordan

by Isis Nusair
published in MER266

“We do not know our destiny. The Jordanian government might ask us to leave at any moment,” said Hana, a widow in her fifties. “There is no rest for a guest.”

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The Jordanian State Buys Itself Time

by Nicholas Seeley | published February 12, 2013

For months prior to Jordan’s parliamentary elections, concluded on January 23, both the state apparatus and the opposition had been building up the contests as a moment of truth. The state presented the polls as a critical juncture in the execution of its strategy of gradual political reform; the opposition, riding the momentum of two years of concerted street protests, staged a boycott it hoped would delegitimize the whole endeavor.

Report from Amman

by Lamis Andoni
published in MER156

When King Hussein announced last July that Jordan was severing its political ties with the West Bank, he implicitly acknowledged that his strategy of 20 years, to broaden and deepen his political base there, had been overtaken by the Palestinian uprising. The Palestinian revolt has asserted an independent political identity with such clarity and force as to make it impossible for Jordan to continue to claim to represent the Occupied Territories politically.

The communiqués issued by the Unified National Leadership did not conceal the accumulating enmity towards the regime. They apparently had a personal effect on the king himself, who was deeply disappointed by the “hostile” attitude they expressed.

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Jordan's Election

A New Era?

by Philip Robins
published in MER164

The pundits got it wrong. They had predicted that the Jordanian general election of November 8 would result in the overwhelming return of traditional candidates with only a smattering of opposition deputies, enough to provide a vigorous, vocal check on government, but marginal in terms of setting a political agenda and molding policy.

This prevailing view among the liberal, educated, middle classes, Palestinian and Jordanian alike, who comprise the kingdom’s commentators and analysts, was also the view of the royal palace. Inevitably it became the view of the foreign embassies, and the view of foreign journalists who rely so heavily on diplomatic briefings.

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The Emergence of a New Labor Movement in Jordan

by Fida Adely
published in MER264

Although Jordan may appear little affected by the Arab uprisings, as early as January 2011 Jordanians were in the streets for the same reasons Tunisians and Egyptians were: protesting against economic conditions and privatization of state resources, demanding the resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet, and calling for political reform and an end to elite corruption. The protests persist, with marches nearly every week, and include traditional opposition groups like the Muslim Brothers and leftists, as well as self-proclaimed “popular reform movements” that are forming throughout the country. At least two umbrella organizations have emerged to bring these movements together.

Letter from Jordan

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER167

“Can you help me get a job in the United States?” “We like Saddam because he is a man of his word: He stood up to the Kuwaiti cheaters and now he is standing up to foreign domination and US intervention in the Arab world.”

I heard these two statements repeatedly -- often from the same person -- during my stay in Jordan this summer. From college professors, whom I knew from two months’ research at Yarmouk University, to shopkeepers and taxi drivers, these sentiments were sincerely held, fearlessly expressed and, to my surprise, apparently unanimous. It became a challenge for me, a US citizen, to comprehend the simultaneous attraction/repulsion ordinary Jordanians have for the United States and to explain the universality of their feelings.

Democracy Dilemmas in Jordan

by Abla Amawi
published in MER174

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Contested Space

Urban Settlement Around Amman

by Omar Razzaz
published in MER181

Dispossession, displacement, migration and precarious living conditions are intimately connected phenomena. Lines of causality run in every direction. Those enduring such conditions, in their determination to establish some roots and some sense of community, somewhere, often find themselves in violation of the “laws of the land.” They are in overcrowded quarters violating some rule about density in substandard housing violating some housing code, on agricultural land violating land use regulations, or on land legally claimed by others.


Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Ariel Sharon and the Jordan Option

by Gary Sussman | published March 2005

An avid enthusiast of Ariel Sharon and his unilateral disengagement plan recently opined that the plan “has one inborn defect: it has no vision, has no diplomatic horizon and is devoid of any ideological dimension.” [1] This view of the Israeli prime minister -- tactically brilliant but lacking as a strategic thinker -- is common but mistaken. Sharon clearly belongs in the pantheon of master tacticians in modern politics, but he does indeed have a long-term strategy -- and disengagement fits right in.

Palestinian Land Documents

by Michael R. Fischbach
published in MER186

Far from the glare of the media attention, on dusty shelves lining the basement of the Jordanian Department of Lands and Survey in Amman, lies a key to the political and economic viability of the Palestinian entity which may emerge out of the Oslo accords. Scores of folders documenting the details of land ownership in the West Bank, including titles to land and water rights and the location of state land, lie waiting for the PLO’s call.

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