Strategic Myths: Petra's B'doul

by Anna Ohannessian-Charpin
published in MER196

Until 1985, the small B’doul tribe resided among the historic ruins of Petra. They made most of their income from tourism, serving as guides, renting out their caves, and selling food and beverages. They also sold archaeological objects found among the ruins, mostly the shards of pots.

In 1985 the Jordanian government moved them to a new village. This relocation was a consequence of two ongoing projects: one to sedentarize the Bedouin, the other to give Petra the status of a national park and thus improve tourism. The actual move was 20 years in the making.

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Bread Riots in Jordan

by Jillian Schwedler , Lamis Andoni
published in MER201

On August 13, the Jordanian government lifted its subsidies on wheat. When bread prices immediately doubled, residents of the southern town of Karak demonstrated against the move, calling for a reversal of the policy and the resignation of the prime minister. The protests deteriorated into riots that lasted two days and ended only when the army occupied the town and enforced a strict curfew.

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Press Freedom in Jordan

by Joel Campagna
published in MER206

Throughout 1997, mounting restrictions on the press in Jordan reflected the government’s broader agenda of masking the widening divide between the state and its domestic political critics. In May, 1997, six months before the parliamentary elections, the cabinet of Prime Minister ‘Abd al-Salam al-Majali promulgated temporary amendments to the 1993 press and publications law that severely restricted the country’s outspoken independent weekly newspapers. The amendments followed nearly four years of legal action against the weeklies, the primary public outlet for independent views about the October 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, the country’s economic performance under IMF-led reform, government corruption and human rights abuses.

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Protesting Sanctions Against Iraq

A View from Jordan

by Jillian Schwedler
published in MER208

Aida Dabbas is program officer for the Jordanian-American Binational Fulbright Commission in Amman. She has been an active opponent of the sanctions against Iraq and of the US arms buildup in the region. Jillian Schwedler, an editor of this magazine, spoke with her by telephone in June.

You recently visited Iraq for the first time.

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Jordan's Balancing Act

by Nicolas Pelham | published February 22, 2011

When anti-monarchical revolution swept the Middle East in the 1950s, Jordan was one of the few populous Arab states to keep its king. King ‘Abdallah II, son of Hussein, the sole Hashemite royal to ride out the republican wave, has all the credentials to perform a similar balancing act. Aged 49, he has been in charge for a dozen years, unlike his father, who was just 17 and only a few months into his reign when the Egyptian potentate abdicated in 1952. And the son has grown accustomed to weathering storms on the borders, whether the Palestinian intifada to the west or the US invasion of Iraq to the east.
 

How Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Even Egypt Became IMF "Success Stories" in the 1990s

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER210

Just as European missionaries were the spiritual handmaidens of nineteenth-century colonialism, so has the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assumed a modern-day mission in support of world trade, finance and investment. The mission aims to convert the benighted heathen in developing countries to the enlightened religion of the free market, whose invisible hand guides self-interest toward the best possible outcome. Once expected to join world Christendom after their conversion, penitent countries today have structural adjustment programs (SAPs) to guide them to their place in the global economy.

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Guilty Bystanders

by Pete Moore
published in MER257

The Iran-Iraq war was fought entirely within the boundaries of the two combatant nations, but it was nonetheless a regional war. The war machine of Saddam Hussein’s regime was lubricated with billions of dollars in loans from the Arab oil monarchies, which were anxious to see the revolutionary state in Tehran defeated, or at least bloodied. Iraqi warplanes harried ships seeking to load Iranian oil at the Kharg island terminal and points south on the Persian Gulf coast. In 1987, the US Navy intervened to protect tankers and other commercial traffic from Iranian reprisals. These heated entanglements presaged the degree to which the war was to transform the political economies of many countries in the vicinity.

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The Politics of Aid to Iraqi Refugees in Jordan

by Nicholas Seeley
published in MER256

The school in Dahiyat Amir Hasan in East Amman is only half-finished, but even through the rubble and the clouds of concrete dust it is clear that the education there will be very different than in Jordan’s other government-run schools. The classrooms are spacious and positioned around multi-purpose areas that can be used for team teaching or supervised recreation. Downstairs there are science labs equipped with vapor hoods, sinks and Bunsen burners, and set up for students to conduct experiments in groups. There is a gym, an art studio and a music chamber -- none of which facilities are standard in Jordanian public schools. The corresponding subjects, in fact, are often left out of the curriculum.

Jordan's Troubling Detour

by Ian Urbina , Toujan Faisal | published July 6, 2003

When Washington cites examples of the potential for reform and democracy in the Arab world, Jordan is one of the first countries mentioned. For the first time since 1997, Jordanians went to the polls last month to vote for parliament, and by most accounts the elections went smoothly. Voter turnout topped 52 percent and stability was maintained, with a clear majority of the seats going to pro-government candidates. Islamists, though they later questioned the outcome, added credibility to the process by taking part in the elections rather than boycotting them. In the end they captured only 17 out of 110 seats, far fewer than expected. Jordanian women took a step forward, with six parliamentary spots specially set aside for females.